I can appreciate the tough job that City Councillor’s have, stewards of taxpayers dollars they have to make tough decision about how to spend the dollars collected from citizens. This was why I was surprised to read today that work had already begun for the new City Hall. Council narrowly voted 6-5 (Mayor casting the tie breaking vote) and although a call for tender is still needed, it seems that another major decision has reached a forgone conclusion.
Faced with that realization I decided to see what may have been given up on in order to build a $43.3 million City Hall.
- According to the CBC reports to grind and repave one block in Windsor it costs approximately $600,000 = 144.3 blocks repaved
- Windsor Water World at full operation levels costed approximately $418,068 annually = 103.5 years of operation
- Almost build a new central library and innovation hub at a cost of $50 million or build many small libraries across the city at that cost of the new Optimist Library at a cost of $2,463,000 = 17.5 libraries
- According to the 2011 Census there were 87,830 residential households in Windsor = a one time tax rebate of $492.99
- Just over 1/5 of the total municipal costs for the new Windsor Regional Hospital being paid for without a levy on taxpayers.
- A one time 20% increase to all department budgets
- City Buses run between $600,000 and $900,000 for their life cycle per bus (depending on the type – see pg 21 of linked report, costs divided by 100 to get a per bus cost) = 48.8 buses fully funded for their life cycle
- Almost meet the low end cost estimate for a Street Car running from University of Windsor to Via Rail Station = $50,000,000
That being said, something will need to be done with the existing City Hall. Repair costs were estimated between $20 million to $35 million which is $8.3 million under the current projected budget. If I were to recalculate many of the above alternatives we get- 13.8 blocks of streets repaved; 3.38 new libraries; $94.50 tax rebate; a 3.8% budget increase to city departments; 9.2 buses fully funded or keep Waterworld open for almost 20 years.
Given the broader needs in our city, any number of these other would in my opinion have a greater positive impact on the day to day lives of Windsorites than a new City Hall.