A review of municipal budgets by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Bolstering the Fiscal Resilience of Ontario’s Municipalities, identifies a number of ways municipalities can reduce service delivery costs including partnering with adjacent municipalities. The paper concludes that collaboration and cost-sharing between municipalities could have tremendous benefits in Ontario. There is a formal approach that the Province can enable, known as voluntary co-operation, wherein two communities enter into a contractual agreement to share resources. In such a model, individual municipalities maintain their autonomy and can govern as their constituency demands. This is something that is worthy of investigation if it has not already been considered.
Are all city services being provided in the most cost effective and efficient way? I recall in 60s and 70s Owen Sound had a garbage collection department and residential garbage was collected weekly by city employees. At some point in time the city closed the garbage collection department and outsourced this requirement. In the process part of the cost of garbage collection was downloaded to the homeowner in the form of garbage bag ties and reduced the service to every two weeks. Council should take a serious look at all city services to assess whether or not any of them are suitable for outsourcing.