TO WARD 9 CONSTITUENTS AND LONDONERS:
It, seems an appropriate time to officially state that I will not be seeking re-election for City Council this coming October. However, the coming 7 or so months still provides this City Council the opportunity to make many improvements. Upcoming budget deliberations is potentially the largest opportunity to make meaningful improvements that will impact all Londoners.
I have devised 3 strategies that I believe will result in mitigating all, or at least a substantial portion of the pending municipal tax increase that has been proposed for this year’s budget. I have gathered substantiated data, with supporting numbers, that will demonstrate that the following concepts are truly viable: I have three projects that will save between $17 million to $20 Million dollars this next 2014 budget for taxpayer in London and allow us to repair roads, have another $2 Million in affordable housing again this year and allow upwards of $ 50 million over he next 3 years for additional City expenditures without any future tax increases or service cuts!
- Amalgamation of London’s Economic Development Organizations
The City of London currently funds, in large part:
- The London Economic Development Corporation
- Tourism London (Private Company)
- The Tech Alliance
- The Small Business Centre
- Business Improvement Associations
- Downtown Business Association
Our municipal contributions to these organizations total nearly $7million annually. While the focus of these groups is not in question, that is economic sustainability and growth in all aspects of business in London, it is apparent to those of us who are privy to the operations of these organizations that there is an opportunity to both improve efficiency and reduce redundancy. I would propose that these organizations combine forces, under a single commissioning entity, and report directly to a London City Council Committee.
Secondly I propose for the 3000+ hotel and 500 rental rooms in the City the introduction of a municipal room tourist stay tax of $2.00 per night stay like other cities within city limits.
The combination of the amalgamation and $2.00 room levy would conservatively reduce the City’s contribution to these collective organizations $4 million per year without a foreseeable reduction in service to London’s constituents, visitors and businesses.
- City Garbage and Recycling Service
Clearly this is a potentially contentious issue. Particularly since my proposal involves a bi-weekly cycle for municipal garbage and recycling collection. The city currently spends $24million in services and $17million in equipment maintenance and replacement annually for garbage and recycling collection. If we were to migrate to a bi-weekly schedule that would result in each zone having a non-moving pick-up day, while permitting residents to leave as much garbage at roadside as necessary, I am confident that we can save $10 to $12 million annually – conservatively. You would achieve 40% reduction from a 6 week day pick up to one in 10 day week day schedule alone. City workers would have 1st refusal for contracting garbage service out to the public! Equipment would also be leased and maintained in this project because less equipment would be required to complete the City using every second week day instead of every 6 week day schedule.
If we are able to reconcile on a personal level to make every attempt to reduce the amount of waste that we produce and adapt to a bi-weekly schedule, then we will reap the personnel economic benefit and a weekly schedule for downtown restaurants that can also be accomplished.
3 . Police Services:
It’s time we start celebrating our Police services with a City wide party this fall using our one free Day at the Budweiser Gardens and showing our great entertainment because our Police Services are going to lead the country with responsible new initiatives as a sign of the times in public services during these economic depression times for the taxpayers.
- Sell off our surplus Crown Victoria Bulk purchase
years earlier to recover 39 Vehicles @ $27 K = $1,000,000 from budget.
ii. Institute Safety Patrols and Volunteer Safety Training in our Schools , as in years past, for a 1,000,000 reduction in crossing guard and Police Corp. paid services.
- Reduce the Officer intervention with paid Social Workers for many domestic 911 calls that will have a faster and cheaper resolution to family concerns than the present Duty Call. This project will result in $500,000. budget reduction.
- Require the Police Commission to have the Police Chief to have a staff vote to waive the present 3% on average retention pay (as high as 9%) in order to save the jobs of many new Officers and protect the policing duties required for our City. A $2 to 3 million dollar budget saving are possible this year alone.
- We will keep this gesture ever present in the Council’s Mind so that next year when the Federal Governments new Canadian European Trade Agreement (CETA) will allow us to tender the entire $92,881,000. Police Budget to The OPP Forces, RCMP Forces or even the Scotland Yard Forces! Therefore, we will not choose this option!
I trust the zero percentage increase in tax this year will prove we can provide quality services at affordable taxes.
D. G. Henderson P. Eng.
Councillor Ward 9
City of London
City of London