It's 2014 budget day at Windsor city council
It's budget day for Windsor city council.
The mayor and councillors began their review of the proposed 2014 budget documents at 3 p.m.
One of the first announcements was from Mayor Eddie Francis. He says a new city hall will be built by 2017. Francis also says council has entered into a lease agreement with Public Services Canada.
Right now the approximately 350 federal employees with Public Services call the Paul Martin building on Ouellette Ave. home. Pending federal approval, those workers would be based at the new city hall.
The city would then take over the Paul Martin building. The Mayor has met with University of Windsor officials about moving the law school there.
For the sixth consecutive year, the recommendation is to hold off on any property tax increase.
Mayor Eddie Francis says the freeze is helping make the city more affordable, compared to other communities across the province.
There are some specific spending items - none of which will raise taxes the mayor said - that have attracted the eye of councillors.
Coun. Fulvio Valentinis is looking forward to "modernizing" the library system.
"The whole revamping of the library system, I think, is going to be a positive one. The whole initiative of changing the lights. That's a significant project but one I think will serve us well moving forward and provide savings in the future."
The mayor estimates that will save the city $36 million over 15 years by converting the existing street lights to more energy efficient LED bulbs.
The library's acting CEO, Chris Woodrow, is excited about the upgrades proposed for the library..
"We've been working for a year or so now on putting together a strategic plan and a facility plan that works, that's sustainable and, at the same time, moves us forward," Woodrow said.
More than 20 delegations are scheduled to speak on different issues relating to the draft budget.
Unless there are unexpected developments, council's plan is to finish its review of the draft budget tonight.