Windsor Budget 2020: Part 2 – Fees and ABCs

All in a proposed 4.2% increase to operation budgets of the Agencies, Boards and Committees equates to approximately $5.1 million. The bulk of the increase, $3.8 million goes to the Windsor Police Services.

Some of the agencies aren’t asking the City for budgetary increases at all, with the Arts Council, Safety Village, and the Windsor Symphony are not requesting any additional City funding. Artcite, LAF, Handi Transit all have what I would call marginal increase in funding requested. While WECHC is requesting a 2.4% increase to their public housing operating budget; with their 15 year regeneration plan nearing completion it will be a major discussion in 2020. The health unit is requesting a 10% increase in City funding largely driven, from my understanding, of offsetting provincial cuts/downloading. WEEDC budget is not submitted and priorities are not finalized which leaves the question of whether there is going to be a shift given the mayor’s priority for 2020.

No City Committee requested an increase to their budget.

ABC Capital

This year’s capital purchases for ABCs is a relatively small list of 18 projects totaling $10.6M, the second highest amount in the 8 years. Of the 18 items listed this year, only 11 are funded in the 2020 budget. Two items appear to be onetime payments finalizing already approved projects: the Meadowbrook Community Housing at $3.729M and Sandwich Library at $466K. The rest are relatively steady state allocations like $150K for Library Materials Acquisition which continues through 2027.

There is money for Police technology, specialized equipment, communication equipment totaling $1.5M. Police purchases continue every year between now and 2027 and I would assume on a perpetual basis.

The airport will get a $3.28M in asset replacements and refurbishments and upgrades as well as improving drainage and pavement.

Finally handi-transit has $240K for bus acquisition to replace two vehicles.

There were very few fees that really caught my eye. A number of fee related to development shifted this year but the average citizen won’t see or be impacted by that sort of change. Most of the fee increases were 2% or “inflationary increases” resulting in marginal costs increase but it impacts most services that residents engage with.

Vacant Lot Fees

The fee to maintain vacant lots are increasing by an average of 17% to approximately $100 per hour. This is for cost recovery to prevent vacant lots from degrading the surrounding neighbourhood.

Transit fees

Transit is requesting a 2% increase for all of its fares, meaning a bus trip will now cost $3.05, a day pass increases 20 cents to $9.20, an adult monthly pass increases by $1.90. Tunnel bus tickets stay the same at $5 per ticket.

Ironically parking fees at 400 City Hall Square are not increasing this year.

Forestry

Cost of a street tree being planted on a “lot with sidewalk” is increasing $7 to $347 or 2%. The same 2% fee impacts trees being planted on unit or lots with 50ft frontage.

Swimming, Gyms and Community Space

Generally speaking a 3-4% increase in admission fees to the Aquatics Centre and Adventure Bay resulting in a 25-50 cent increase depending on the height of the participant. Gym, room and space rentals all increase by 3% for the most part.

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