Challenge the status quo: consultant 0
The consulting firm hired by Midland to conduct a management study has promised to challenge the status quo.
In a preliminary presentation last week to council and senior staff, Oscar Poloni of KPMG suggested council faces some difficult economic choices.
"My job is to make sure you don't put the town's financial future in jeopardy," he said.
"To do that, we will challenge the status quo. At the end of the day, though," he added, "council will have to decide what its priorities are."
Some of the topics raised by Poloni dealt with the town's debt load, its low reserves for infrastructure, the tax rate, low incomes, staff levels and staffing costs, contracting work and the adoption of non-resident user fees.
As part of the study, council members have been asked to complete a questionnaire that asks them to rank their tax priorities, identify the service levels they feel are "must-haves" and "nice-to haves" and identify strategies to reduce operating costs.
Midland Mayor Gordon McKay described the preliminary presentation as "a scoping exercise."
"He didn't say your taxes are too high. He said if you do a graph, you can see where you sit. As he said, it comes back to the will of council to decide what's appropriate,"?McKay said.
"He said if your community wants to have Cadillac services, as long as you have Cadillac taxes, life is good,"?the mayor explained.
"Their interest is in bringing us back into balance and having council recognize the underlying factors that are necessary for that,"?McKay said.
"I am very pleased with what they put on the table today. They seem to have gone from A to Z in all the things we should be considering,"?said the mayor.
"Should we be having user fees for those that don't live in the municipality? Should we be looking differently at levels of service? Should we be looking at out-sourcing? These are all very valid questions at this stage,"?McKay said.
"No decisions were made. They just wanted a hardball kind of discussion to make council think,"?McKay said.
"This will be of significant assistance. They should wrap up within two months and our 2013 budget discussions start in September. It fits in very nicely."