Restructuring costs jobs at Lake Country office

The scope of cuts is becoming more clear at Lake Country’s municipal office.

The scope of cuts is becoming more clear at Lake Country’s municipal office.

As part of an organizational review initiated in November, the district has eliminated nine management and union positions.

“This is the beginning of a process and the process is to provide the best service possible to taxpayers,” said Alberto De Feo, chief administrative officer.

As part of going from seven to five departments, the directors of human resources, corporate services and development services have been laid off.

“We were top heavy at the directors’ level for the number of staff we have,” said Mayor James Baker.

The union positions include a planner, a building inspector, two customer service clerks, an RCMP clerk and one corporate services clerk.

All but two of the unionized staff will be moved into other duties within the district.

De Feo is confident the eliminated positions won’t negatively impact operations.

“When you do something like this, you have to review priorities and what can be done,” he said.

De Feo would not speculate on what other restructuring could ultimately impact staff.

“There are a number of recommendations in the (business systems review) report and council has asked me to review them and come back with more recommendations,” he said.

The district is also looking for efficiencies in terms of contracted services it receives.

“The cost per capita on road maintenance and sewer services is pretty high,” said De Feo.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan provides emergency dispatch and geographical mapping.

Management salaries are also under review and  changes to the land use application process are expected as a way of encouraging development.

“We’ll streamline the process and provide a much better service to applicants,” said De Feo.

If all of the restructuring report’s recommendations are implemented, the municipality could save $700,000, with half of that coming from payroll.

“A one per cent tax increase is equivalent to $80,000. By eliminating staff, we’re saving about four per cent in taxes,” said De Feo.

“We have an issue of how to pay for aging infrastructure. Council had to make a decision on where the money will go?”

A position focused on economic development and pursuing government grants has been created.

“It’s a way of the municipality getting revenue that’s not directly property taxes or fees,” said Baker.