July 21, 2019

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Seven proposals receive approval in hopes of saving the city money

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/9/2015 (1405 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

An ambitious proposal to review the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service operations in hopes of finding $17 million in savings was the only one of eight proposals that left city hall empty-handed Monday.

A civic committee turned down a request from Fire Paramedic Chief John Lane for $250,000 for the operational review -- but it approved seven other projects, for a total of $1 million, that promise to save city hall more money down the road.

Lane said he wasn't disappointed with the decision of the alternate service delivery committee, adding they liked the plan but thought it should be funded through the budget process.

"I'm very encouraged they realized the value in it -- they suggested an alternate source of funding," Lane told reporters following the meeting.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/9/2015 (1405 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

An ambitious proposal to review the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service operations in hopes of finding $17 million in savings was the only one of eight proposals that left city hall empty-handed Monday.

A civic committee turned down a request from Fire Paramedic Chief John Lane for $250,000 for the operational review — but it approved seven other projects, for a total of $1 million, that promise to save city hall more money down the road.

Lane said he wasn't disappointed with the decision of the alternate service delivery committee, adding they liked the plan but thought it should be funded through the budget process.

"I'm very encouraged they realized the value in it — they suggested an alternate source of funding," Lane told reporters following the meeting.

Lane and the other department heads were making a pitch for a share of a $1-million innovation fund, established earlier this year to encourage civic departments to finance projects that would save the city money.

Lane wanted the $250,000 to hire a consultant to conduct a standards of response coverage study, which would form the basis for the rationalization of existing facilities and a replacement schedule.

Lane and his executive team have identified five stations that could be closed and sold — generating $5 million in sales and saving another $12 million in maintenance costs — and using that money to finance the construction of replacement stations and upgrade others.

Lane told the committee the study is needed to examine his executive team's recommendations and to incorporate a review of service calls, which will help determine the best location for new fire halls, based on the type of calls and the areas where they originate.

Committee members Coun. Jeff Browaty and Scott Gillingham told Lane that his proposal would be best funded through the 2016 budget process, which Lane said he would gladly pursue.

Lane said the study is necessary for the WFPS to make its case on shuttering the old halls and re-investing the funds where it's best needed, but added council will make the final decision.

"It's a document we absolutely need to make these decisions but council has a lot of urgent funding requests," Lane said. "I wouldn't want to presume what their decision will be."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Approved Projects

The alternative service delivery committee approved seven projects that department officials said is guaranteed to save city hall money down the road.

The projects will be financed through the $1 million innovation fund, established during the 2015 budget to encourage civic departments to initiate money-saving projects.

City Clerks, $30,000 — Acquire and implement a web-based case management system for the intake, processing and tracking of requests for access to information under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The system will centralize recordkeeping and case management functions, while allowing citizens to track their requests in real time. The city spent $815,000 in 2012 handling FIPPA requests; this system promises to reduce those costs by 10-15 per cent, and improving enhanced public service.

City Clerks, $100,000 — Purchase open-source software to provide for the long-term preservation of City of Winnipeg digital records considered to hold archival value.

Assessment & Taxation, $60,000 — Acquire software that can review aerial imagery (already in the system) of existing buildings and analyze changes in size and shape, avoiding the necessity of physical property inspections. Identified changes can be flagged for inspections and data shared with all civic departments.

Corporate Finance, $350,000 — The design and implementation of an interactive financial reporting system (Dashboard) to track the status of open capital projects. The city has more than $1 billion waiting to be spent on approved projects in various stages of progress. The program will monitor the progress of projects and dollars spent, monitoring surpluses and shortfalls. Information on all projects would be available to the public from the city's website.

Community Services, $54,000 — Video surveillance program to gather evidence of illegal waste dumping. Installation of high-resolution cameras in problematic areas of the city capable of recording vehicle license information in complete darkness. Information gathered will help prosecute those doing the illegal dumping. In 2014, the department carried out 800 investigation of illegal dumping but was only able to proceed to court on seven cases due to inadequate evidence.

Fleet Management Agency, $371,000 — purchase and installation of automatic vehicle location systems in all Winnipeg vehicles, except police and transit. The system can monitor each individual vehicle's idle time, with the goal of reducing green house gas emissions and fuel savings, and can determine exact location of all monitored vehicles at all times, ensuring employees are not using vehicles for personal use.

Board of Revision, $35,000 — The board is responsible for property assessment appeals and the funds will be used to digitizing appeal documentation and making that information available to the public online. There is an expected savings paper and printing costs, reduced time for information searches, less space needed for information storage.

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin

Aldo Santin
Reporter

Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.

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