Library services remain unchanged in Simcoe County

The working group will continue to study efficiencies within the current library model, with another report to be submitted to County Council in the new year.

At the Simcoe County Council meeting on Tuesday morning, the council voted to maintain the status quo regarding the makeup of library systems in Simcoe County.

However, the regional government review service delivery task force says it will make further recommendations in the new year that could improve library efficiency in Simcoe County.

In October, KPMG Consulting first presented to the task force a draft report on the effectiveness of library services in Simcoe County. The report describes three options for local libraries going forward:

  • Option 1: Maintain a modified status quo
  • Option 2: several union councils in the county
  • Option 3: The County of Simcoe would establish a county library with all lower-level municipal libraries

The consultant recommended Option 3, which he said would result in approximately $ 3 million in service delivery savings each year.

Shortly after the report was released, Simcoe County Libraries, in municipalities such as Penetanguishene, Collingwood and Bradford West Gwillimbury, expressed opposition to Option 3, fearing the move to a county library system ruins the autonomy of individual libraries, as well as concerns about the quality of the report.

For our full article on the opposition and critiques of the report, click here.

After reviewing all options at their November 9 meeting, the task force voted to recommend Option 1 to Simcoe County Council as the way forward.

During Tuesday’s meeting before the vote, Springwater Mayor Don Allen asked task force chairperson Wasaga Beach Mayor Nina Bifolchi why the task force’s recommendation differed from the recommendation of the consultant.

“The (working group) felt that Option 3 was a bit too aggressive and we could look at our current state of how we do things while looking for improvements,” Bifolchi said, noting that ideas for Possible improvements could be presented to the board in January for further consideration.

Managing Director Mark Aitken said some suggestions had been put forward by the consultants under options 2 and 3 that warranted further investigation to generate more savings.

Midland Deputy Mayor Mike Ross has said he supports Option 3.

“I wholeheartedly support option 3. I think it was obvious to me, ”said Ross.

On Tuesday, the board voted overwhelmingly in favor of option 1.

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