Due to budgetary pressures, the City commissioned KPMG to evaluate municipal programs and services and compile a list of which could be cut, or cut back. The results of those findings are being released in a series of reports this month. Each day a report is released, All Aboard the Gravy Train will look at what, in our current administration, is considered expendable.
Report for: Licensing and Standards [PDF]
Not Gravy: 100 per cent of services in this area described as “traditional,” that is, ones municipal governments typically provide. Sixteen per cent of these are delivered at “slightly above standard.” Licensing and Standards has a relatively small budget—$49.5 million gross—and measures available for cutting costs here fall into two main categories: reducing animal services, and a small number of cuts in bureaucracy.
- Animal services. The City could, if it chose, cut back in this area, for instance by asking owners to bring pets in to shelters when they are giving them up rather than going to fetch them, and by allowing emergency animal rescue services to respond more slowly to calls—currently, the standards call for response within two hours. The report goes on to note that “Service standard could be reduced, but may result in negative public reactions.” The report also notes that up to 20 per cent may be saved by outsourcing animal care.
- Pet licensing. The municipal government could “consider value of cat and dog licensing and enforcement,” i.e. eliminate the licensing program. The report notes that “With only 30 per cent of owned dogs and 10 per cent of owned cats licensed, the value of the program is not evident.”
- Business Licensing. A red-tape cutting maneuver—and thus one of the proposed cuts that is likely to see widest agreement—KPMG’s report suggests that the City could “consider eliminating license categories that do not clearly serve a public service.”