City, County CAOs To Tackle Budget Impasse

Eli Maodus (centre-left), general manager of the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority, attends the regular meeting of the council for the County of Essex on December 7, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

It’s up to top city and county executives to try to sort out the gridlock over the budget for regional landfill and waste services.

The council for the County of Essex roundly and unanimously rejected the proposed 2017 budget which had the city-backed 0% rate increase instead of the 4.1% hike recommended by the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority.

Arbitration is the final answer to the budget crossroads, but County of Essex CAO Brian Gregg doesn’t see it getting that far.

“I think, quite honestly, that will be unlikely,” says Gregg. “Anytime we’ve had disagreements, we’ve always found a way to compromise and reach a solution.”

The same process played out last year after the city and county were at odds over the EWSWA budget.

Gregg says it took four or five meetings to solve the budget impasse then.

“It probably wasn’t our preferred solution, but at the end of the day it was something we could both live with,” says Gregg. “That’s likely the best solution we can get to.”

The discussions will likely start at a high-level according to Gregg, focusing on the different philosophies the city and county have towards budgeting.

“There’s always positioning that goes on, but at the end of the day I think everyone is pragmatic enough to know that we do have a valuable resource and that it needs to be operated,” says Gregg.

The joint city-county meetings will eventually lead to recommendations to the respective councils before arbitration is considered.

The first meeting hasn’t been scheduled yet, but will see Gregg meet with City of Windsor CAO Onorio Colucci as well as EWSWA General Manager Eli Maodus.