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Dec 2019 | November-December Issue

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Tyler Sutton, Editor-in-Chief

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

 

With our final issue of 2019, it seems fitting to reflect on the ideas and best practices shared over the course of the year by the talented contributors to the Public Sector Digest. We began this year with a renewed purpose to capture the effective and innovative frameworks, activities, and policies that public sector practitioners are employing across North America to address three core areas of service delivery: infrastructure asset management, climate change adaptation, and financial planning & budgeting. 
 
Our focused mandate as a publication allowed us to dig deeper into the interrelated challenges that are impacting our governments. The mounting backlog of unfunded infrastructure renewal projects is exacerbated by the gathering storm of climate change impacts, the rising cost of service delivery, and in some cases, the declining tax base for which governments must draw from to address these challenges. As explored through the bi-monthly issues of the Digest, proper asset management practices, aligned with climate change adaptation initiatives and effective long-term financial planning, can result in significant benefit for the governments genuinely engaging in these activities, and the constituents that they serve.      
 
In the January issue, we learned of the Town of Devon’s efforts to build an asset management program from the ground up. This small Alberta municipality made use of limited internal resources, with the help of external experts, to develop a detailed asset lifecycle strategy. Using lifecycle activities, as opposed to end of life replacement for assets, the Town was able to find an annual capital cost avoidance of $100,000. In March, Elizabeth Quayle of the Town of Gibsons BC, wrote about how her municipality’s natural asset management strategy is not only reducing costs for the organization by lowering the cost of built assets, but is strengthening the resilience of the Town’s infrastructure in the face of climate change as well. 
 
PSD interviewed Stephen VanOfwegen, Commissioner of Finance for the Region of Peel, in the May issue of the Digest, where he warned that Ontario municipalities will not be sustainable within the existing framework for revenue generation and as a result, property taxes will not be affordable for Ontarians in the long-term. Despite not being required by Texas regulation, we learned in the July issue that the City of Corinth had adopted an Asset Management Team, Policy and Plan. Bob Hart, Corinth’s City Manager, is a strong advocate of asset management, persuading his team and council of the value that it would bring to the organization. 
 
Finally, in the September issue, the concept of the Flaw of Averages was introduced by Dr. Sam Savage, Adjunct Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University. According to Savage, plans that are based on average assumptions are wrong on average – an important warning for asset managers, climate change coordinators and financial planners that are replacing uncertainties with single number average estimates, rather than simulating many potential outcomes.  
 
Again, our final issue of the year provides a deep dive into the issues and solutions that impact your ability to determine risk, optimize activities, derive cost savings, and plan for your organization’s future. From asset management initiatives in Huron-Kinloss Ontario, Sackville New Brunswick and Colwood British Columbia, to climate change adaptation efforts in Kenora Ontario, there is no shortage of inspiration for the work that lies ahead for your organization. 
 

Tyler Sutton, Editor-in-Chief
Public Sector Digest