Asset Management for Elected Officials

WHAT IS ASSET MANAGEMENT?

Assets provide services that contribute to our quality of life.

Asset management is multidisciplinary; it is the coordinated activity of municipal staff and elected officials to provide sustainable levels of service to the community.

Having clarity on state of local infrastructure can help municipalities make informed decisions to balance investing in new infrastructure with keeping existing assets in a state of good repair.

For a municipality to be successful in asset management, it is critical that both Council and staff are engaged and understand the benefits of asset management.

WHY IS AMO INVOLVED IN MUNICIPAL ASSET MANAGEMENT?

AMO has been driving municipal sector progress in asset management through its several capacity building projects, policy directives, and administration of the federal Gas Tax.

AMO administers the federal Gas Tax Fund for 442 municipalities in Ontario. One of the objectives of the program is that funds are used to address local priority projects.

The federal Gas Tax Agreement requires municipalities to develop an asset management plan that identify local infrastructure investment priorities.

AMO staff continue to review existing 442 asset management plans to inform capacity building initiatives. We found that very few municipalities have identified priority projects in their plans due to lack of:

  • Good data on costs, performance and risk
  • Financial resources to collect and maintain the required data
  • Adequate staff training
  • Credibility of asset management plan’s recommendations
WHY COUNCIL NEED TO BE INVOLVED?

Elected officials are stewards of public infrastructure and set strategic direction on levels of service and allocation of resources that affect the quality and delivery of services provided to their communities. Asset Management is a decision making tool. It can support Council in:

  • Identifying infrastructure investment priorities
  • Managing risks that threaten delivery of service
  • Demonstrating stewardship of assets and financial resources
  • Communicating with public which local infrastructure projects are prioritized and why
WHAT DOES COUNCIL NEED TO KNOW?

Elected officials understand the strategic priorities of their municipality as well as community expectations regarding the services municipality provide. But they also need reliable information on assets performance, risk and costs from staff to deliver services in a fiscally sustainable manner.

  • Performance: What are the current levels of service your assets provide? How long will assets perform as expected under current operating and capital budgets?
  • Risk: What’s the risk of assets failing and how they threaten delivery of service?
  • Cost: What are total costs associated with owning an asset? It includes operating, maintaining and replacing an asset in addition to the initial construction or acquisition cost.

Asset management when implemented properly will help Council demonstrate good governance and leverage operational efficiencies.

HOW MUNICIPALITIES CAN BE SUCCESSFUL AT ASSET MANAGEMENT?

Local governments that are successful in asset management have:

  • Staff and elected officials who understand the need for and benefits of asset management.

  • Clarity on community expectations and strategic priorities

  • Required data on costs, risk and performance to support Council decision making.

  • Culture that encourages teamwork and integration across departments and service areas.

WHAT CAN COUNCIL DO TO ENSURE PROGRESS?

Council has a role to play in fostering asset management culture at their municipality by setting strategic direction for staff based on asset management fundamentals of:

  • Leadership: Leadership and commitment from Council and senior management is required to use asset management as a decision making tool.
  • Alignment: Council must engage senior management to ensure alignment between engineering, finance and operations to collectively provide the required information.
  • Value: Understanding of the value that your assets provide to your community and establishing/monitoring levels of service.
  • Assurance: Provide assurance to public that existing assets and services will meet community needs in a cost-effective manner.
Online Training Course - Cover Your Assets

Are you looking for fundamental information about asset management and how assets support the municipal programs and services offered?

Cover Your Assets is an online, at-your-own-pace course that can help you! Topics covered include:

  • Define and understand why asset management is important
  • Understand how the knowledge will assist with decision-making at Council
  • Understand how asset management will assist in achieving more sustainable communities
  • Understand your role as Councillor in asset management
  • The importance of communicating with the public
  • Course Length: 1 to 1 1/2 hours
  • Course Access: 30 days
  • Enroll today
Council Member’s Toolkit - A practical guide to evaluating municipal asset management

The Ontario Municipal Knowledge Network (OMKN) has published a Council Member’s Toolkit including tips and key questions for Councillors to ask in evaluating municipal asset management capacity:

Starting the asset management conversation in your municipality

Are you trying to formalize the way your municipality manages infrastructure assets? Do you want to raise awareness in your municipal council of the many ways asset management can benefit your city or community?

Download and share FCM's asset management presentation with your fellow elected officials to get the conversation started.

Asset Management Awareness Booklet

Communities are being challenged to make the best possible decisions with scarce resources for both today’s users and future generations. Planning infrastructure renewals, growth, and new demands amidst increasing service expectations, managing risk appropriately, and the financial challenges can put elected officials and community staff in a difficult position. Asset management can help.

This 32-page booklet developed by CNAM has been structured to help you better understand and appreciate the power of asset management. Whether you are new to the practice or have already been involved in asset management in your community, this guide provides a simple and clear understanding of asset management. It covers:

  • What is Asset Management?
  • Why is Asset Management important for your Community?
  • How do I get started?
  • What resources are available to help me?
ASSET MANAGEMENT: A ROADMAP FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMUNITIES

Just like the TransCanada Highway connects our province and our country, a municipal asset management plan is a roadmap to your municipality's future sustainability. 

Join us on a journey across Ontario and visit 14 different municipalities as we learn more about the value of asset management planning.