Friday, July 30, 2021
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Weekly Independent Local News

Selwyn Township Digitization Project Gets Funding

BY VANESSA STARK

Selwyn Township will soon be offering more convenient and modernized services through their Digitization Project.
     
The township has recently received $113,750 through the second intake of the Municipal Modernization Program offered through the provincial government.
     
This money comes as a second phase which, according to Meaghan Larocque, communications and marketing coordinator for the township, will go towards the township’s Digitization Project. This project is aimed at converting property roll files, building and planning files and road files to be completely digitized. Once completed, Larocque said that the township will then relocate the existing roll files and re-purpose the space in which they are currently being filed in to create usable work stations. The scope of work would include:

• preparation of individuals files (eliminating duplicates, removing staples/clips), ensuring a roll number is assigned to each file as an identifier;

• compiling certain records for third party scanning (i.e. large print documents/plans etc.);

• scanning records;

• uploading records into software applications

• shredding duplicate/redundant records
     
“We are very appreciative of the Provincial Government funding under the Municipal Modernization Program,” Andy Mitchell, mayor of Selwyn Township said. “It is estimated that there are over 12,000 individual paper files housed at the Selwyn Township Municipal Office alone. By digitizing our files, we are able to reduce potential backlog as files become easier to access by multiple staff members at once, reducing customer service response time. This project will help Selwyn Township meet its goal to achieve excellence in governance and service delivery.”
     
The Ontario Government launched the Municipal Modernization Program back in 2019 to help small and rural municipalities modernize service delivery and identify new ways to be more efficient and effective.
     
The first phase of funding the township received was used for:

• website enhancements and a municipal app

• hardware purchases and work station improvements

• new software purchase, implementation and training

• public meeting technology improvements

• customer relationship/service improvements
     
The second phase of funding that the township has just received will mainly go towards leasing a large-scale, high-quality, high-speed scanner dedicated to this project, as well as contracting a staff member who will be solely responsible for preparing and digitizing all files, Larocque said.
     
Without this funding, the township would not have the equipment or resources to efficiently digitize these files internally.
     
The biggest changes Larocque said that residents in the township will see through this project, will include:

• saving time for both staff and the customer as it would be no longer required to physically pull the file from storage or find which staff member has the file in use

• increased customer service by offering real time information as all files would include the most up-to-date information

• allow the township to offer more online-based information in the near future.
     
Township staff are still in the process of gathering the resources needed to complete the project and thus the digitization project has not yet begun.Larocque said that it is estimated that project will take approximately 12 to 15 months to complete. The anticipated end date is September 30, 2022.
     
According to the township, the projects selected for funding under the second intake of the Municipal Modernization Program will further support the municipalities efforts to implement efficiencies, with a focus on digital modernization, service integration, streamlining development approvals and alternative service delivery.