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Tuesday March 2nd, 2010

Posted at 4:30pm

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A Transit Windsor Hybid Diesel-Electric bus drives down Wyandotte St. East

The City of Windsor’s Operating Budget Committee has released its 2010 recommended budget.

As originally reported on windsoriteDOTca, taxpayers were anticipating a number of service cuts and rollbacks including unsettling recommendations to convert hybrid buses back to diesel, the turning-off of all of Windsor’s fountains and the elimination of a Veteran Appreciation Dinner.

Some of the original points vs their current recommendations:

Eliminating Flagpoles (Recommendation:  Cut flagpole budget by 50% [source]

Parks Operations presently services 160 locations where flagpoles are located throughout the City. Reduction of this budget will require elimination of up to 20 locations that are not high profile and leaving flags flying for longer periods that may have some appear more faded.

The high profile areas that can be easily identified include the following:
– City Hall, including the Cenotaph and Charles Clarke Square
– Riverside Arena Cenotaph
– Dieppe Gardens
– Vietnam War Memorial
– Jackson Park
– Willistead Park
– WFCU Centre

These flagpole locations will not be impacted.

Turning off Fountains (Recommendation:  No Cuts) [source]

Parks Operations is proposing to reduce its operating budget for fountains in the amount of $91,206. This reduction will not allow the opening of Udine, Sandwich, and Rodzk fountains, and the Dieppe Water Pond. No damage to the fountains is anticipated as they are presently winterized for the winter season, and will remain that way all year.

The breakdown of the costs for this reduction is as follows:

Infrastructure Maintenance Materials
$ 7,321

Hydro – Electric
$58,337

Water
$13,189

Vehicle Rental – Internal
$924

Wages & Fringe Benefits
$11,435

These fountains/water ponds are located in high profile areas, and will diminish the appeal of these locations.

Eliminate Graffiti Removal Program (Recommendation:  No Cuts) [source]

Parks & Recreation Services have experienced unprecedented vandalism repairs usually averaging over $100,000 annually worth of repairs. Indications are that we can expect similar costs to continue.

Graffiti removal is a major cost and presently we removed most graffiti from our park buildings and park furnishings on a timely basis. We have found that failure to promptly remove graffiti often results in ‘copy-cat’ incidents. Without this funding, the situation might rapidly get out of hand.

Parks received funding of $115,000 in 2009. We are proposing to eliminate this service. This cut may result in an increase in graffiti vandalism.

The Licensing and Enforcement Department is also proposing a budget reduction of $42,000, eliminating its entire graffiti removal program.

Converting Hybrid Bus Technology Back To Diesel (Reccomendation:  No Cuts) [source]

In 2008, the Transit Windsor Board of Directors approved converting the bus order to hybrid technology. This was endorsed by City Council, as it met their strategic goals. The incremental cost of hybrid technology is $180,000 plus PST per vehicle and, based on the replacement schedule of six buses per year, the total incremental annual cost is $1,166,400. In order to achieve the 10% reduction, consideration can be given to convert the hybrid buses back to diesel.

Discontinue Veterans Appreciation Dinner (Reccomendation:  No Cuts) [source]

An annual dinner is held as part of Remembrance Day commemorations for Veterans and their families. During the 2009 Budget process, $6,000 was provided to fund this initiative. In prior years it was funded through the Budget Stabilization Reserve.

Veterans Appreciation Day is an opportunity for Veterans, their families and friends to meet and share memories and stories and to remember. In the past, each Veteran has been treated to a free dinner, entertainment, prizes and an afternoon of camaraderie. Veterans Appreciation Day is a project of the Veterans Memories Project and the Windsor Historical Society.

Elimination of this service will severely impact the ability to hold the dinner to honour our valiant war heroes.

Clearing Snowfall After 6 inches Only (Recommendation:  No Cuts) [source]

Currently, residential streets are cleared of snow after a snowfall event of 4 inches accumulation. The 4 inch standard was adopted during the 2007 Budget (previously, the standard was 3 inches). This proposed service reduction would mean residential streets would not be cleared until after a snowfall event of 6 inches accumulation.

Elimination of Business Improvement Area Maintenance (Reccomendation:  No Cuts) [source]

If accepted, this would eliminate a level of service to the BIA’s (Downtown, Pillette Village, Olde Riverside, Olde Sandwich Towne, Via Italia, Ottawa Street, Wyandotte Town Centre, Ford City and Walkerville) that already exceeds that provided to other areas of the City. This would mean the elimination of all maintenance of fixtures (planters, benches, etc.).

Sidewalk and pavement repairs would be done in asphalt until such time as the sidewalk or street is scheduled for rehabilitation under the City’s capital program.

This budget issue is required for the former PW Operations department to achieve a 10% reduction.

You can read the entire 2010 Reccommended Budget here.

The Operating Budget goes before Windsor City Council on March 10th.

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