Keating’s Friday Short Blog: Street Sweeping

Keating’s Friday Short Blog: Street Sweeping

Last year, Council wanted to lower the property tax increase, so it asked administrators in all departments to cut costs except the Calgary Police Department.  This reduced the overall budget by about 1 per cent. I believe any organization should be able to look for efficiencies across departments as well as within departments without cutting front line services. 

The Roads department was tasked with reducing expenditures by approximately $1.2 million through efficiencies. In response, it reduced their budget primarily in the area of street cleaning (a 10 percent reduction, or about $700,000 in savings per year).

While I disagree with this specific cut, the City is maintaining their street cleaning service, but feel that cutting the additional expense of overtime, return visits and towing will represent the lowest overall impact to Calgarians. Administration developed these cuts well before the winter weather. Had the winter been mild, administration may have had a surplus to offset these cuts.

In a cost-saving effort, I recently put forward a motion for Council to review aspects of this service and snow removal for potential contracting. I believe private crews may be more efficient due to better management and supervision, and because contract employees are held accountable to maintain their own equipment.

I am interested to know whether you would want to see the same level of service from previous years maintained even if it means not reducing the overall budget by 1 per cent? Or, re-allocating money from one department to another in order to maintain the previous year’s level of service?