Meaford's council received a final report from the members of the Citizens’ Charter Working Group, created earlier this year after a suggestion from Deputy Mayor Harley Greenfield.
The report outlined the more than 50 mandatory and discretionary services provided by the municipality along with their associated costs. Additionally, the working group listed the responsibilities of not just the municipality, but of residents and users of municipal services.
Also included in the report were 10 recommendations, most of which focused on improving communications:
Recommendation 1: That Council support the effective use of a new user-friendly municipal website to communicate in a timely fashion with residents by making good use of service summaries, links to documents, fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and media releases.
Recommendation 2: That Council provide enhanced opportunities for public input by fostering networking, community participation, and public education.
Recommendation 3: That Council take advantage of additional ways to communicate with residents and ratepayers on municipal issues through local media, information tables at events, introduction of notice boards, and consistent use of social media.
Recommendation 4: That Council foster and support increased and respectful community dialogue with a variety of tools; and hold additional Council meetings and information sessions throughout the Municipality.
Recommendation 5: That Council direct staff to design a notification system to allow residents and ratepayers to sign up for alerts and advisories on items and issues of interest to them.
Recommendation 6: That Council direct staff to investigate the feasibility and cost of webcasting Council meetings.
Recommendation 7: That Council ensure residents and ratepayers are provided with enough information to allow a discussion on mandatory services and level of service.
Recommendation 8: That Council direct staff to develop a work plan for a pro-active communication approach with deliverables and measures, within the existing budget.
Recommendation 9: That Council direct staff to continuously evaluate communication efforts, providing opportunities for public feedback and adjustments to practices, processes and policies.
Recommendation 10: That Council formally recognize the importance of roads and infrastructure to the Municipality of Meaford’s economic development and community livability.
Councillors were pleased with the report, and they vowed to make communication improvements a priority.
Council directed staff to review the report and its recommendations, and to report back to council with a work plan at a future meeting.
The full report is available on the municipal website (www.meaford.ca) in the Office of the Clerk section under the Government tab.