With a population of just under 12,000, the Town of Rothesay, New Brunswick, borders Saint John and shares several facilities with neighboring municipalities. The town faces many of the same challenges experienced by small local governments across Canada. Research has shown that smaller municipalities struggle to maintain infrastructure and prepare detailed asset management plans due to reduced capacity or limited financial resources. When PS 3150 introduced a requirement to report Tangible Capital Assets on the Statement of Financial Position, the town recognized a need to upgrade legacy systems and develop a more strategic approach to asset management.
Previously, to manage service requests, the Town of Rothesay was relying on a legacy IT system that was not integrated with the town’s GIS database. Countless hours were spent manually importing and exporting data to view asset information, and only five users had access to asset-related data. This data was stored in several hundred different databases and was often outdated and unreliable. Service requests would be received by the town’s receptionist, logged into the system, and then a call would be placed to field staff to notify them of the request. Field staff would then be required to travel to Town Hall to pick up the service request prior to addressing the issue. This process was creating significant delays in the maintenance and repair of existing infrastructure.
Automating operational processes
The Town of Rothesay selected Cityworks Server 2012 to automate the turnaround of service requests. This GIS-based asset management solution pulls data from a central geodatabase and allows assets to be viewed through an intuitive map interface. When a service request is received, it is now logged in a Cityworks template and an automatically generated email is forwarded to staff members. An email is also sent to the resident to inform them that the service request has been received and to let them know when the issue has been resolved.
The town customized over 40 service request templates to support all areas of operations including water/wastewater, transportation, street maintenance, snowplowing, and parks & grounds. Field managers equipped with ruggedized Dell Latitude tablets can connect with Cityworks in the field to view, update, and complete service requests remotely. Work performed on an asset can be recorded through mobile tablets and immediately reflected in the town’s geodatabase.
To improve its asset inventory and create PS 3150-compliant reports, the town also implemented Esri Canada’s Asset Valuation Toolkit (AVT): a collection of GIS-based tools that help local governments collect, manage, maintain, amortize, and report asset information. Using this tool allows the municipality to valuate its assets, measure depreciation, and build a PSAB-compliant database without relying on an external contractor. The town can also view current and future costs related to capital, repair, and maintenance at-a-glance.
“The ability to communicate service requests to staff in the field saves us hours of time so that asset-related issues can be rapidly resolved,” said Rothesay senior GIS technician, Corinne Bexson. “GIS-based valuation tools also allow us to maintain safe and reliable infrastructure both today and well into the future.”
Ensuring safe, reliable infrastructure
Using Cityworks allows department managers to learn about service requests within minutes, rather than days, of being received. As such, infrastructure-related issues are resolved much more quickly which has allowed the town to improve its level of customer service. The timely turnaround of service requests makes it easier to maintain safe and operational infrastructure while avoiding potential issues such as sanitary back up, dangerous road conditions, and other safety-related concerns. Field crews are no longer required to travel back and forth from Town Hall, saving valuable time and money.
Integrating the AVT has led to further cost savings by eliminating the need for an external contractor. Built-in accounting rules allow staff to determine acquisition costs and expected life for each individual asset in-house. Depreciation and amortization can be automatically calculated leveraging a PSAB-compliant asset inventory.
The ability to account for all tangible capital assets supports strategic planning and budgeting while enabling the town to assess future revenue requirements, the performance and sustainability of existing infrastructure, and the likely cost of proposed activities. In the near future, the Town of Rothesay will extend Cityworks functionality to work orders and inspections, and expand access to over 20 users.