Thunder Bay City Manager Tim Commisso.
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The city manager says he’s disappointed with council’s decision to forgo some cost-saving recommendations.
Tim Commisso had outlined the conservatory and golf as places to cut costs as the city wrestles with an infrastructure gap. The recommendations were part of the city’s core business review process.
But council has decided not to take the advice. Commisso said he understands that councillors are only doing what they think is best for the city but it is frustrating.
“I’m not surprised, but I am disappointed,” he said. “These are difficult decisions I understand but the reality of it is there are more important things in my mind and that is getting our spending up on infrastructure.”
“If we don’t continue to increase spending on infrastructure like we’re doing we will leave a huge legacy of what we refer to as an infrastructure gap for future generations.”
The process would allow more infrastructure spending without reducing services or raising taxes Commisso said. But without reviewing city businesses, it will be hard to do that.
“There’s only so much money you can find in the system without affecting the system, the services,” he said.
The city has been spending more on infrastructure while finding savings through cost containment and the cityLEAN program. But as for reviewing what businesses the city should be in, he wonders whether administration should continue to bother with the exercise.
“What I’m going to do is have a discussion with council and say ‘do you want to carry on with this element,” he said.
Coun. Ken Boshcoff said he was disappointed that council decided to keep Municipal Golf Course open for another year even though a report said it was losing money and players while the city has many other places to golf.
“This was a very logical and probably the easiest cost saving measure we will ever have presented to us,” he said.
“If you can’t cut that kind of obvious expense and redundancy in the system… if we can’t even do that then you gotta wonder what we’re putting the entire city administration through if council’s not going to deliver.”
Administration was tasked with finding cost savings, which it did Boshcoff said. If council doesn’t want to listen, it needs to come up with other ideas for finding money.
“I have faith in the councillors that they will realize you can’t just keep spending that you really have to apply some wisdom in being frugal,” he said.
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