Sherbrooke’s service costs among lowest in Quebec

The City of Sherbrooke ranks among the best-managed municipalities in Quebec, according to the Municipal Rankings report from the Montreal Haute Études Commerciales Centre for Productivity and Prosperity. Or maybe it’s just cheaper. According to data compiled by the Centre, Sherbrooke spends an average of 5 per cent less than cities of similar size for the 11 municipal services, identified by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, used in the study. The city ranks third behind Trois-Rivières and Levis but first in terms of total expenditure per capita at $1,381.The Centre compiled financial information that the 1,110 Quebec municipalities transmit annually to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Over 100,000 collected data entries allowed researchers to establish a unique ranking of the cost of municipal services for the year 2011.In general, municipalities with 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants generally provide municipal services at lower costs. “This size city can deliver services at a lower cost than in larger and smaller cities,” says Robert Won, director of the Centre for Productivity and Prosperity. Drummondville appears to be an exception, in that low road maintenance costs reduce its per capita service expenditures to $1,075.“What we have are indicators of costs, not necessarily indicators of performance. Just because a city is less expensive does not mean it is more efficient. But this is not necessarily a sign of poor management. It can be a sign of a choice made knowingly - we decided we want more and we are ready to pay for it,” says Centre Director Robert Gagné. “We wanted to offer all Quebeckers a tool that not only tells them how much the services provided by their municipality cost, but also allows them to compare such spending with that of other similarly-sized municipalities.Read the entire article Tuesday in The Record.