Windsor Tax Rise On The Way

Residential garbage and recycling pickup in Windsor has been contracted out and seems to be a done deal except for the union’s vow to carry on the fight. Ya, whatever. Where was CUPE leading up to this point from the time Councilor Dave Brister smugly motioned the research at the first meeting after the 101-day civic strike? Except for sort of agreeing to become an essential service, and thus preventing a work stoppage in the future, Jim Wood and Local 82 has done little to nothing to protect the jobs of dues paying members. A vow from the union, that left $30 million of its member’s money on the table when they royally pooched the bad faith bargaining complaint with the OLB, is nothing more than lip service.

There are a number of questions that remain unanswered from this issue; and few people are asking them.

First off is the fact that mayor Eddie Francis has publically stated that no jobs are going to be lost. That City Council went to great efforts to ensure there were no layoffs and that things could have been much worse. That really sounds like a threat to me. Don’t cross me or I will put you in the bread line next time. But where will the workers be absorbed? Don’t tell me that the city has still more empty but budgeted positions within the corporation. Or are these positions going to be “make work” projects just to score political points with those voters who are less than enchanted with the hardliners on council? And what of summer student jobs that Local 82 ensured after the strike while their brethren in Local 543 declined to allow? It looks to me that finding legitimate positions for an entire branch of outside workers will leave little room for next summer’s crop of job seekers in Canada’s unemployment capital.

Another issue is that much is being made of the savings over the course of the seven year contract with Turtle Island, default winners of the bidding process. Councilor Ron Jones estimates the savings per resident to be in the $84 realm after seven years. I’ll tell you right now not to expect a corresponding decline in your taxes of $12 per year. I bet that in the wink of an eye the monies will be allocated to Edgar’s pet projects like lining the corporate pockets of foreign consultants for “feasibility” studies for pie in the sky legacies. Or to lawyers who live 400-500 km outside of Windsor to fight other levels of government just to given in at the end. Or the money will be spent on a swimming pool to augment the east end skating rink; and to pay for the yearly losses from both those ventures. You can be sure that the money will be frittered away on everything and anything but luring much needed jobs to this area.

But the main question that has been left unanswered is how/why the Turtle Island bid was so low. Ward 1 resident Dave Gillard touched on it ever so briefly during his argument for deferral, but then no one brought up the question of tipping fees again all night. Chris Schnurr at Sound Off does a very good job at describing the tipping fee controversy. Have a read and you’ll be amazed at what is possibly going on. My issue is, if what Chris says is true, is who is going to make up $1.7 million per year in lost revenues to the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority?

Last year’s strike reduced the amount of garbage entering the Essex landfill as the city’s private haulers removed the collected waste to landfills where they did not have to pay $98 per tonne to dump. That shortfall resulted in yet another battle between county municipalities and the City of Windsor over who would make it up. But for one vote from an Amherstburg politician Windsor could have been on the hook, or more accurately, Windsor taxpayers would be.

However Edgar was adamant that any contract winner for the city’s garbage pickup would be forced to use the Essex landfill. So Turtle Island can bid as low as it did (excessively low) on the back of a possible favoured tipping fee at the Solid Waste Authority. I am sure that EWSWA if, or when, they granted the favoured fee to Turtle Island did not intend that fee to be applied to garbage currently entering the landfill, but new garbage that Turtle Island could bring in from elsewhere. There will be yet another shortfall that can be directly attributed to the actions of Edgar and the City of Windsor.

Windsor residents can be assured that their already high taxes will trend upward over the course of the next seven years as the city will need to compensate EWSWA for the shortfall in revenues.

And what will Edgar do? Walk away from it all? Leave the mess for others to deal with? This is just another example of the mayor failing to execute his plan with the intention of benefiting Windsor residents.

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About the Author

Ian Shalapata

Ian writes for and provides imagery to Square Media Group as well as accepting freelance photographic assignments. In addition, he has contributed to media organizations, sporting groups, and individuals across North America including the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Chatham-Kent Sports Network, the Golf Association of Michigan, League 1 Ontario, as well as numerous colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.

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