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New cost recovery SOP created through LSS Green Belt project

City Council has approved a new Standard Operating Procedure and fee structure for recovering costs associated with damage to municipal property and infrastructure.

Ranging from $1,000 for a four-hour road closure to upwards of $3,000 for a three-metre section of guide rails, the cost to repair damaged municipal property can become substantial.

Jolene Ramsay, Insurance Risk Management Coordinator for the City, decided to look at the cost recovery process through the eyes of a Green Belt project and with her team was able to identify improvements to help with the recovery of costs.

"This Green Belt project was a great opportunity to create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ensure that all incidents of damage to City property or infrastructure are reported through to the Insurance Risk Management Department,” explained Ms. Ramsay. “The Insurance Risk Management Department is then responsible to obtain the police report and relevant information from the authorities to determine if the costs are recoverable from the responsible party and or insurance company.”

Doug Downing, Lloyd Harris, Karey Oliphant, Bonnie Long, Judy Catherwood, Jolene Ramsay

Doug Downing, Lloyd Harris, Karey Oliphant, Bonnie Long, Judy Catherwood, Jolene Ramsay

Through the Green Belt project, the team identified there wasn't a consistent process for reporting damage to City property.

With the new SOP in place Ms. Ramsay said she believes early detection of property damage will help staff to be able to go to the OPP or Kawartha Lakes Police Service in a more timely fashion to identify if a police report has been filed and begin the process for recovering costs through the responsible party or their insurance company.

The project also implemented a new administrative cost recovery component of 2% or a minimum of $50 to the responsible party or their insurance company for staff time to follow up with police, complete paperwork, and administer recoveries and process invoices.

“This new cost recovery component will ensure the individuals responsible pay for repairs, rather than the taxpayer,” said Ms. Ramsay.

An additional change to the policy will be the ability to recover costs associated with City staff assisting with road closures. If staff are called upon to support police in road closures, those costs for staff time and resources will also be recovered through our new SOP.

A meeting of the LSS Green Belt project team.

“By implementing the new cost recovery process we are ensuring that all staff is recording and reporting property and infrastructure damage the same way,” said Ms. Ramsay. “This ensures a more timely and efficient cost recovery process.”

Ms. Ramsay credits the success of the project to both the Green Belt process and the commitment of the whole team.

“The structure of the Green Belt Process kept us focused and on track to complete this project within the target period,” she said. “The success of the project was a true reflection of the commitment of the team.  This was certainly a project that could not be tackled by one person and needed the expertise that each of the team members brought to the table. It was also a great way to strengthen those working relationships.  We had fun along the way all while working to improve process.”

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