The Village of Keremeos released the results of the municipality’s first Core Services Review on February 6.
There was little in the way of startling revelation in the five page, $6,629.2 document, produced by Diehl Management.
The report also included an analysis of salary and wage levels for both union and non-union staff, including options for consideration by council. Some of that information was not included in the version released to the public.
The report noted that Keremeos has one of the oldest demographics in B.C., calling village administration “a unique challenge for the Village in terms of service and taxation demands.”
The report drew from census information, conversations with staff and council members, last year’s citizen survey, as well as from information gleaned through comparison with several other B.C. communities of similar size.
In summary, the report found that Keremeos was “very well managed through a structure that has an appropriate balance between managers and staff. The report’s main points were summarized as follows:
– Employees at all levels are highly dedicated and experienced.
– The Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Accounting Officer are being paid at a rate “significantly below” market value when compared to peer communities, stressing this as a major reason for high turnover in the village’s CAO position (nine candidates in 12 years).
– The village’s relationship with the regional district is strong and beneficial to the community in financial way.
– The workload of the two village clerks who backfill for the vacant receptionist position can be met but as business increases the CAO should hire a new front counter receptionist.
– The Village Foreman has a “huge amount of responsibility and is currently paid below market.
In a comparison against seven other communities, (100 Mile House, Nakusp, Fruitvale, Chase, Lumby, Enderby and Ashcroft) Keremeos had:
– The second smallest taxable area.
– Fourth lowest municipal taxes.
– Lowest user fees.
– Lowest population.
– Second lowest median income.
Amongst recommendations made public, the report advised:
– stabilizing the turnover rate of the CAO position.
– no changes to CUPE wage levels.
– Organizational structure and ratio of managers to staff is appropriate for the size and range of services provided.
– Hire a full time receptionist as village business begins to improve.
– Ensure that supervisory staff have on going supervisory training.
– Continue to team build through quarterly staff and annual strategic meetings.
– Foreman should continue weekly meetings to address staff challenges and communicate weekly work plan.
“It tells me we are pretty much where we thought we would be in terms of staffing levels and our financial situation,” said Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer. “Our relationship with the regional district with shared services works well for us.”
Bauer said in light of the review’s report on salaries, council would be taking a look at management position salaries in hopes of addressing the high turnover rate.
“Any changes made to this year’s budget will not result in further increases,” Bauer promised.
Asked if he thought the Diehl’s report represented good value, Bauer said that he felt the village got their money’s worth.
“It’s the first core review this village has ever done,” he said, “we need a clear picture of the village’s operations.”