Town suspends hanging basket program on Sandwich St. with $15,000 projected in savings

 

Town hallBy Ron Giofu

 

Town council has cut back on hanging baskets by suspending the program along Sandwich St. for 2014.

The move is expected to save the town $15,000 with the bulk of those savings resulting from one fewer student hire and less fuel being used.

“As much as I enjoy the program, I am going to make the motion to suspend this for this year,” said Councillor Bob Pillon.

The ordering deadline for the portion of hanging baskets related to Sandwich St. and McGregor is imminent,” said manager of parks and facilities Annette Zahaluk in her report to council. “In light of efforts to reduce costs within the 2014 budget, administration is recommending that this expense be deferred for the 2014 season. Due to constraint associated with the growing process, this decision cannot be delayed.”

Zahaluk pointed out hanging baskets have occupied Laird Ave., Alma St., Murray St., the King’s Navy Yard Park parkette, Dalhousie St., Walker Road in McGregor (to balance the Town of Essex contribution in that shared community), Sandwich St., North St., the Libro Centre, the north gateway, and the south gateway.

“The parks department is in the process of strategizing about the redeployment of baskets that have already been ordered, however, it is a certainty that Sandwich St. will have no baskets in 2014 under this recommendation,” stated Zahaluk.

Deputy Mayor Ron Sutherland wondered why Laird Ave. was spared, with Zahaluk stating there is a different watering process along that street which sees the plants watered automatically through a drip system.

Town council deferred another report until budget deliberations, one that called for the discontinuation of services at the yard waste depot. The report from manager of engineering and operations Todd Hewitt stated that is one area where the town could realize savings since curbside yard waste is offered to residents as are three depots operated in the region by the Essex Windsor Solid Waste Authority.

Total savings could amount to over $131,000, though Hewitt stated in his report that tonnage from curbside pickups would increase by levels which are currently unknown.

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