Last week, Town Council discussed the results of an Economic Development & Tourism Corporation Governance and Service Delivery Model Review developed by an outside firm called StrategyCorp. The firm was contracted by the Town of Fort Erie in February 2019 to evaluate the economic development services to the Town in order to
- gain a clear understanding of the current context;
- assess the current delivery model against alternative models; and,
- provide recommendations for Council’s consideration.
StrategyCorp’s evaluation of economic development and tourism services in Fort Erie showed few differences when comparing the advantages and disadvantages of three service delivery models:
- municipal service corporation – hybrid
- internal division
- external agency (CURRENT)
The evaluation was based on the assessment of specific criteria such as cost impact, accountability and transparency. Since none of the service delivery models proved to be superior, StrategyCorp noted that it didn’t have any reason to recommend that the Town pursue a different model other than the one they are currently using. However, the report also noted that Fort Erie’s Economic Development and Tourism Corporation (EDTC) has not kept pace with industry standards regarding governance policies, practices and processes or the evolving leading/best practices.
Following a lengthy discussion, Town Council turned down a resolution directing staff to prepare a new MOA with the EDTC based on the consultant’s suggested revisions including a new board of directors. Instead, Town Council directed staff to continue with the termination of the MOA.
In addition, Tom Kuchyt, CAO, was asked to develop a report outlining the steps necessary to change the current economic development and tourism services delivery model to an internal division services delivery model. The report will also include the advisability of appointing an Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee.
Town Council will be provided the CAO’s report and recommendations in August.
The EDTC should have always been in-=house. Giving money to the EDTC without any form of management control should never have been permitted.