EWSWA

EWSWA finally making progress on 2017 and 2018 budgets

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After over a year of going back-and-forth with each other, County of Essex and City of Windsor representatives on the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) are close to having a budget.

The authority met last Tuesday evening and came to terms on not only a 2018 budget, but a 2017 budget as well. The issue dates back to Dec. 2016 when Essex County council refused to accept a proposed 2017 budget at that time. That refusal caused over a year of meetings and negotiations between the county and the city.

The 2017 budget calls for a zero per cent increase while a two per cent increase is recommended for 2018.

Warden Tom Bain said a surplus for 2017 helped out. Additional revenue, according to a subsequent report in the agenda for last Tuesday’s EWSWA meeting, indicated there was as much as $958,950.

“We’re going to be able to hold the line at zero for 2017 and then the request is to look at a two per cent increase for 2018,” said Bain.

Bain called the budget process “very interesting” and admitted it took longer than they thought it would. However, he was pleased that an agreement has finally been reached.

“I’m pleased that (Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins) and myself and both of our CAO’s have been able to sit down at the table and thrash this out,” says Bain.

There could be more increases over the next few years, Bain predicted.

“We can’t continue to tap into our reserves,” he said.

The 2017 and 2018 EWSWA budgets will not become finalized until both have been approved by Essex County council and Windsor city council.

County, city make progress towards 2017 EWSWA budget

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

After a prolonged dispute between the County of Essex and City of Windsor, it appears a 2017 budget has finally been struck for the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA).

The board has been operating without a budget during the past year as the county and city representatives on the board were unable to agree on a budget. County council rejected a 2017 budget at their Dec. 2016 meeting but it was at their second meeting of December of 2017 that elected officials learned progress appears to be at hand.

Responding to a question on the matter from LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya, Warden Tom Bain said that he met with Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins on the matter and that they – along with the chief administrative officers (CAOs) from the two municipalities – have reached a compromise.

“We have come up with a solution to the problem,” Bain reported to Essex County council.

Bain expressed confidence it will be a solution that the EWSWA board will approve of. Should it be approved of at that level, it would have to be also approved by county and city councils.

The warden did not provide much detail as to what the proposed new budget contains, but indicated that the county wants to ensure there are reserves for the landfill “and this (agreement) will do that.”

“We feel we’ve reached a compromise,” Bain told reporters after the meeting, noting it has been a “unique” situation to go for a full calendar year without one.

“We’ve been able to carry on and pay the bills and not run into any problems,” said Bain.

The recommended solution will also assist in drafting a 2018 budget as well as lay the groundwork for the next five to ten years, he believed.

“We’re going to suggest a path to be followed so we don’t encounter these problems again,” said Bain.

The warden added that he, Dilkins and the two CAOs put their “cards on the table” and after some “give and take,” they were finally able to come up with a solution.

The proposal is expected to go before the EWSWA in early January.

Warden, Windsor mayor to join EWSWA budget talks this week

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) is still without a 2017 budget but that could change this week.

Essex County Warden Tom Bain and Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkins will meet this week and try and finalize a new budget. The county rejected a proposed 2017 budget last December, one that called for a zero per cent increase. County officials believed that budget was short-sighted and would simply defer costs down the road as the landfill could not be realistically operated with a rate freeze.

A 4.11 per cent increase had been recommended but by passing it with a zero per cent increase, it meant a dip into the EWSWA’s rate stabilization reserve thus bringing it down from $13.2 million to $12.2 million. A 2018 budget had also been passed, as Windsor had the majority of members on the EWSWA board at the time.

ewswa-logo

Bain said the two CAO’s – Brian Gregg from the County of Essex and Onorio Colucci of Windsor – have been meeting to try and hash out a new budget with the results to be brought to himself and Dilkins this week.

“Should the proposal look appropriate, it will be brought back to the councils,” said Bain.

Bain believed a resolution had been reached, but noted he couldn’t go into details. He said last Wednesday night that he hadn’t seen all of the details at that point but was confident the two CAO’s ironed out a solution.

If the meeting yields a new budget, it will be a relief, the warden added.

“Unfortunately, it’s dragged on a long time,” he said.

EWSWA balks at request to import outside garbage to landfill

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority (EWSWA) is steadfast in its position that outside garbage will not be accepted at the regional landfill but there were some Windsor councillors hoping for reconsideration.

Reconsideration of a previous motion prohibiting the acceptance of outside trash failed by a 6-3 vote last Tuesday afternoon. Voting against reconsidering the motion were Amherstburg Mayor Aldo DiCarlo, LaSalle Mayor Ken Antaya, Essex Mayor Ron McDermott, Lakeshore Mayor and Essex County warden Tom Bain, Leamington Deputy Mayor Hilda MacDonald and Windsor councillor Ed Sleiman.

EWSWA logoWindsor councillors Hilary Payne, Fred Francis and Rino Bortolin voted to reconsider.

EWSWA general manager Ilija Maodus noted he received a phone and e-mail inquiry about such a possibility but noted the previous motion that was passed. He indicated that the EWSWA could collect $700,000 per year over a two-year span should they have agreed to the request. The landfill’s current lifespan is projected to be until 2040 and Maodus, when questioned by Windsor members, said it would reduce the lifespan by one year.

Antaya said the EWSWA would be “shortsighted” if it agreed to the request. He noted the fight to locate the landfill there and that the authority can’t just govern for the present.

“We’re taking away from future generations,” he said. “That landfill space is precious and should remain there for future generations.”

The county is charged with the responsibility of hosting the landfill, Antaya added, and believed this issue was a case of protecting capacity.

“We’re supposed to be governing for future generations, not just for this year or next year or this term,” said Antaya.

Payne noted the EWSWA budgeted a deficit of $700,000 and that is the amount the unknown company would give the authority annually for its space. Maodus added that the budget deficit would increase to $1 million in the next few years.

“My position is a simple one,” said Payne. “Everyone is elected by the taxpayers. I think we have a duty to lessen the burden on the taxpayers. We’re talking about $700,000. That’s a lot of money.”

Payne stated it is not a case of the city trying to create revenue, but “a city/county thing” where all taxpayers could save money. The original projection for the landfill’s capacity was 2022, he added, with the landfill now 18 years beyond that.

Members of Essex County council lauded their county colleague’s position the next night. Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara also pointed out the struggles to locate the landfill, saying it was a ten-year fight to do so.

McNamara believed there are a “number of ways” to create revenue and that selling off landfill space wasn’t one of them.

“You are doing the right thing,” he told his colleagues that are on the EWSWA. “I hope Windsor is listening. It’s not just about zero-based (budgeting).”

McNamara added the landfill is “an asset” and that “we can’t afford to lose any capacity.”