City councillors narrowly agreed to explore the costs of outsourcing municipal caretaker services after a lengthy debate Monday night.
Just four months after politicians rejected a proposal to contract out caretaking at its facilities, council decided in a 6-5 vote to take another look.
Companies will be allowed to bid on the services over the next few months, giving staff a better idea of whether the city could reach its estimated $1 million in savings.
This latest proposal promises to protect the jobs of full-time employees, which wasn't the case back in November when council first considered outsourcing.
Several CUPE locals slammed the staff report, saying the proposed changes will result in job losses.
CUPE Local 82 president Rob Kolody said staff's proposal will create disruptions throughout the city by displacing workers and will leave the city's part-time workers without jobs.
"I'm never going to be OK with the report," Kolody told council members. "There's going to be layoffs."
Bill Irvine has been a municipal caretaker for the past two years. Like most of the part-time employees, he has always worked 40 hours a week.
"For these councillors and [the] mayor to think these are part-time jobs, it's smoke and mirrors," he said. "We've been doing the same work as full-time workers for the last 13 years."
Several city councillors who supported the proposal, including Mayor Drew Dilkens, said they want to find out if outsourcing the service would be the best use of taxpayer money.
No matter what the outcome of the requested report, council would still have the final say and have to vote on whether to outsource the caretaker work.
"This is about getting information," Dilkens said, suggesting the final report may advise against outsourcing.