Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Priorities, or lack thereof...

So, us Windsorites get multi-million dollar ice rinks and "improved" roads to drive on, but then we are told to cut back on other things to pay for them - like that extracurricular activity called literacy!

But I'm sure the neighbourhoods of Sandwich, South Walkerville, Remington Park and Forest Glade don't mind sacrificing a little bit of their communities for the common good.

4 Windsor public libraries face budget axe

The Windsor Public Library Board says it may close up to four branches and eliminate Sunday service to reach a 10 per cent budget cut.

The drastic measures were put forward by the library board after a six-hour budget session on Saturday. Each city department is being asked to suggest cuts to their departments to achieve a 10 per cent cut to help keep the city's tax increase at zero. "The feeling is that after increasing water rates by 86 per cent, the ratepayers aren't in the mood for more and that exercise has begun and the city needs to find $15 million in savings," Ward 3 said Coun. Alan Halberstadt, the chair of the library board.

Under the worst-case scenario put forward by the board between two and four library branches could close including Sandwich, South Walkerville, Remington Park and Forest Glade. "The board did pass a resolution that they strongly argued against service reductions, but if required, here is what could be cut," said Halberstadt. "There could also be a reduction in hours across the board. It's a little vague at this point."

The board needs to trim about $800,000 from its budget of just under $8 million.

Halberstadt said the library's largest expense is its staff. "A lot of our costs are staff and a lot of those costs are controlled by collective agreements," said Halberstadt. Halberstadt's council colleague on the board, Dave Brister of Ward 1, said he doesn't want any branches to close. "One of the things we have to look at before we start cutting service levels is to review administrative costs," said Brister. Brister said the removal of Sunday service would also make little sense. "Sunday has the highest use per hour of any day of the week," said Brister. "To even consider closing branches and eliminating Sunday service is a non-starter." Brister said the focus should be on trimming administrative costs. City departments are to provide their preliminary budgets to city administration by the end of the month so they can compile a draft budget for councillors. Any branch closures or service reductions would require the final approval of city council during budget deliberations next year.

1 comment:

Sylvain said...

It's just BS. They don't want to trim their budget so they make this stuff up to get the public all up in arms. Nobody would blink an eye if they just said they have to cut a few jobs and trim a few summer programs. This works better and they get to keep most of their budget.