With the municipal election taking place this year in October, candidates for Council will be discussing their record and residents may want to know more about how well the Town of Innisfil measures up in terms of administration and service delivery compared to other municipalities in Ontario. I will attempt to shed light on this question over the coming weeks by introducing a new feature on this blog: Innisfil by the Numbers. It will consist of a concise table with comparative performance figures for a specific municipal service.
Fortunately we have a handy resource of data in the Municipal Performance Measurement Program (MPMP) managed by the province’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Municipalities are required to report their performance each year on a whole range of measures intended as benchmarks of efficiency and effectiveness. But MPMP has some limitations:
- There is an unfortunate lag in the publication of performance data. The latest figures available are for 2012 in Innisfil and 2011 for provincial aggregate numbers.
- Specific measures are revised or new ones added periodically, so not all measures are available for all years
- Innisfil reports its own performance data but is not required to publish any comparisons to other jurisdictions.
- Ontario reports aggregated MPMP data for upper and lower tiers of government, similar sized municipalities, counties and median data for all of Ontario but makes no comparisons for individual jurisdictions.
Innisfil by the Numbers will try to bridge this gap by bringing the two sets of data together, revealing how Innisfil’s performance compares to similar sized lower-tier communities, and to the median performance of all municipalities in Ontario. Where enough multi-year data is available, it may indicate a trend.
The Ministry cautions against making “snap comparisons” because communities differ in many ways from each other and any combination of factors can affect the outcomes. The figures are a doorway to understanding the dynamics of municipal performance and asking further questions about what we’re doing right, or alternatively, how can things be improved?
The first installment of Innisfil by the Numbers looks at the efficiency of “General Government” and will be posted soon.