What is the Value of Municipal Services?

Jan 5, 2013

A bottle of water costs around $2.

For that same $2, you can refill a reusable bottle almost 3500 times with municipal water provided by the City of London.

And yet, when municipal water rates go up modestly, residents complain. Why?

We can tell a similar story for most municipal services. Snow plowing. Garbage. Parks and recreation. Child care. Road maintenance. Historically municipalities have struggled to demonstrate the value of their services. Some municipalities cannot clearly articulate what services they provide, let alone the cost of each service and any measure of how effectively the service is provided.

The City of London has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past five years to demonstrate the value of public services to citizens. London was the first municipality in Canada to adopt a ‘service based budget’ - meaning that the budget is presented to show the costs of services that are familiar to citizens, rather than the traditional departmental approach. We’ve also shifted our organizational and governance models to focus on services thus making it easier for citizens to understand and participate in decisions about the services that matter most.

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