By Cole Parkinson
The Municipal District of Taber is looking at improving their asset management.
With the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Municipal Asset Management Program (MAMP) providing funding for projects that help Canadian cities and communities enhance their asset management practices, the M.D. is exploring their options.
“It sounds like they want to try to get each municipality in Canada at least some funding to get their asset management programs up and going,” said Bryan Badura, director of corporate services. “A lot of the costs in here would include staffing costs. My time, Craig’s (Pittman, director of infrastructure) time, Bryce’s (Surina, director GIS and IT) time, Derrick’s (Krizsan, CAO) time and things like that. A little bit of collection data time of other staff as well and as part of the requirement for the funding, there is a council resolution required.”
The MAMP is a five-year program with $50 million funded by an infrastructure program.
Funding is for up to eight per cent of total eligible project costs to a maximum of $50,000 and the projects need to be completed within 11 months from funding approval notice.
Funding is open to all municipal governments in Canada.
The M.D. is looking to commit funds towards council and assist management team training for $19,000, policy development and scope assessment for $40,000 and completion of asset inventory and condition assessment for $50,000 in its proposed project submitted to the FCM program.
They also committed $109,000 from their budget toward the cost of the project which would be a yearly cost.
“Initially some of this funding is going to be used, not only in our training and policy but council training as well,” added Badura.
While an expensive addition for the M.D., council saw plenty of benefits the program could offer.
“Moving forward on budgets, if it is something we need to know, if we have infrastructure that’s crumbling, we don’t go build a new road while we have another falling apart,” said former Reeve Brian Brewin.
In order for the M.D. to be eligible for the funding, up to 80 per cent of project costs, they need to complete a variety of required steps.
First, they need to do a self-assessment using the Asset Management Readiness Scale Tool which assesses the current state of the municipality’s asset management practices.
Then they need to identify activities that will help the municipality advance its asset management practices and project the proposed outcomes and benefits of the activities.
Next, they would need to complete the work plan and budget template which would identify between one and three activities in the project and the major tasks and costs associated with completing each one, outlining other sources of funding in the document as well.
The M.D. would also have to secure necessary resolutions and letters, complete the application form with accurate descriptions of the project and provide information on the personnel involved, and explain how the project supports objectives within your province.
One thing staff were excited to bring to council was the ability to get answers from the data they have been collecting.
“We’re planning and collecting data and taking it to the next stage where we actually start analyzing the data, that’s where the software comes in. That brings it all together and allows you to ask the data questions and the data gives you answers,” said Surina.
One of the biggest things the program will be used for at the beginning is nailing down exactly what assets the M.D. currently has.
“It’s a real holistic approach to managing our assets and that’s part of the process, to find what our assets are. This application is about taking what we know about asset management and deciding as a municipality what the needs are. Then signing in our policy a plan, and adopting that long-term approach of dealing with them with a system of this nature,” added Surina.
Council asked Surina what type of costs they could expect from this type of software.
“Because of the scope of this project, and the grant funding we can establish, we wanted to take it as a planning stage so we didn’t include the software but we did do some math on it,” answered Surina, who also stated the software costs could be around the $55,000 mark. “I think we know a lot more now about what it takes to do a really good job of this and this is a really good time. The needs are there as well.”
Council questioned if they would need to adopt a policy for the program to proceed.
“I wouldn’t say it wouldn’t be wise to adopt it at this point, but certainly in the near future we will be able to get something in place to move forward,” said Pittman.
A motion was made to make an application for the grant and was passed unanimously by council.