• piggy_compressed

    Saving The Taxpayers Dollars

    On Aug/13/2014 I released my first post informing the public on ideas I would be bringing forward. Stating at that time my intention on reducing hydro costs by changing the current lighting system for street poles. And interesting enough the City of Thorold placed an ad in Niagara this Week Sept/4/2014 seeking R.I.F.’s for the conversion of existing municipal street lighting to new Light Emitting Diode energy efficient lighting.

    An item that the next council will have to deal with and make recommendations. Being a strong supporter of energy efficiency this was an item I was wanting to address during my term  from 2006-2010. But was never fully addressed by the council at the time. Since that time I have reviewed many energy efficient options available in replacing our existing lighting. I in fact introduced the city to the option of hedging part of the city electricity costs. Buy buying a certain percent of our hydro from the open market. Basically on the stock exchange. For our consumption met the criteria needed to do such. And the city immediately began to save monies. 10’s of thousands per yr.

    Seeing that LED lighting basically has taken everyone by storm over the last few years. Many municipalities are fixated on just the LED style lighting. Unfortunately I’m not on council. For if I was, I would have recommended that the city look at other lighting options. Not just LED.

    My research and looking at what other municipalities have done over the last 4 years. Has led me to believe that LED lighting in  regards to saving the taxpayers dollars may not be the best option over the long term.

    I’ve learned that some municipalities in Ontario have opted for Magnetic Induction Lighting instead of LED. See: Wikipedia Electrodeless Lamp.

    I believe from the information I have been able to obtain and research. That magnetic induction lighting to be the most cost effective technology to replace the existing HPS ( High Pressure Sodium ).

    On completing my analysis I determined that the magnetic induction lighting was a more cost effective alternative to LED technology when consideration was given to capital costs and life expectancy

    Unaware of the amount of street lights in the city I can not give an adequate estimate on savings. But based on the assumption that the city has say 1200 lights to change. By converting the lights to 70 watt magnetic induction style lighting. It could be estimated that the city could save between $30,000 to $40,000. Depending on electricity prices. That would be based on a current budget of between $200,000 to $240,000. A savings of 15 to 20% per year.

    In general, induction lighting is approximately 1/2 the capital cost and has about double the expected life span. Magnetic induction lighting has an expected life span of approximately 100,000 hours which is equivalent to 22.8 yrs.

    When elected to Thorold City council. This will be just one of the many plans I will propose and bring forward. For I believe as stated, it will be the next term of council that will make the choice.

  • fire4

    Final Thoughts On Fire Services, Time To Move On

    Final post in regards to Thorold Fire Services. Time to move on. And present more ideas in regards to reducing the tax burden on the citizens and taxpayers of Thorold.

     

    STATUS OF HALLS

     

    All Stations would remain open. With  improvements at Station 3. New building for fire trucks.

     

    I would not buy a new aerial. Instead sign a mutual aid agreement with  area municipalities.

     

    MUTUAL AID Page 88 of the report

     

    Mutual aid plans allow a participating fire department to request assistance from a neighbouring fire department authorized to participate in a plan approved by the fire-marshal.

     

    RECOMMENDATIONS

     

    • Implement the 18 month plan
    • Turn station 2 into new headquarters housing chief, secretary and all current full-time personnel

    Station 2 has lots of space ( even more now that Niagara ems will be leaving) and is more central location in Thorold. This space would be beneficial for training  full time and part-time personnel. Its also wheelchair accessible. Unlike Station 1. Station 1 could then avoid the need to have money spent on creating more space because it would only house the volunteers. It could remain where it is avoiding the need to build a new station right away and allowing us to defer the cost of building a new station

    • Have only full-time respond to medical calls in all districts to save money.
    • Increase compliment of volunteer (part-time) from 110 to 140
    • Fill all volunteer vacancies every 6 months

     

    My plan will save the taxpayers substantial amounts of monies. And provide the same or better service. Not less.

  • firepost3

    Canada’s New Upper Class

    As stated in my last post I will deal with financial info, layout of shifts, new aerial, new station and status of halls.

    MACLEAN’S APRIL/15/2013

    THE $100,000 CLUB: WHO’S REALLY MAKING BIG MONEY THESE DAYS

    CANADA’S NEW UPPER CLASS: FIREFIGHTERS, POLICE OFFICERS, TEACHERS


    THOROLD PROFFESIONAL FIREFIGHTERS $100,000 CLUB 2012

    GARY COPLEN
    PETER DUFTON
    RICK HONSBERGER
    ROB LEHAN
    LAWERENCE ROBERTSON – Fire Prevention Officer
    PAUL SORRELL – Training Officer

    IF WE INCLUDE THE CHIEF 7 OUT OF 20
    THE HIGHEST AVERAGE IN ONTARIO AND CANADA EVEN WITHOUT FACTORING IN THE CHIEF

    Why? Because of the excessive amount of overtime. I personally feel they are abusing the system.

    That why my solution, has the part-time firefighters (volunteers) manning the hall during off-peak hours as suggested by the consultant.

    As Rick Honsberger stated: Part-time firefighters. Therefore why are we has a city paying $100’s thousands of overtime per year. When we have at the present time 110 part-time firefighters at our disposal and not once were they called in to cover a shift. Is that not the reason why all corporations(such as the City of Thorold) have part-time workers. So they don't have to pay over time.

    My solution will eliminate over-time 100%. Saving the taxpayers substantial amounts of monies. And provide the same if not better protection.

    My time-frame occurs over an 18 month period.

    And yes I realize the city has contract obligations. But all contracts do come to an end.

    Thorold 2012 Fire Budget 3.09 million. As per page 111 of the report 90% were for personnel salaries and related expenses.
    2.79 million went towards wages. With the part-time firefighters accounting for only app. $350,000. divided by 110. equates to $3,181,18 per man.

    The full-time accounting for $2,440,000.00. Divided by 20 equates to $122,000.00

    I would implement a plan as such.

    Using the recommendations as suggested by the consultant. Page 109 of the report. “ the department should investigate the option of a demand-based staffing system that can be based on a combination of 10 or 12 hour shifts ( as required) with the utilization of volunteers during the off hours”

    I in fact wanted to do this in 2009 but council turned down my idea down. As Rick Honsberger has said in one of his recent post. “ Tell the taxpayers how much the city spent on a labour lawyer” When I tried to stop the hiring of 3 full-time. The fact is years later, a consultant hired by the city has basically suggested the same as I did in 2009. And if council at the time would have supported me. The taxpayers would have saved over $2,000,000.


    From day 1 to day 182 we would begin to implement, plan and recruit available part-time firefighters to man Stn: 1

    Starting on Day 183. The full-time fire fighters would man the hall from 7am Mon to 11pm Fri. During the period of peak hours. Working 36-40 hr. shifts.

    Presently to man the hall during these hours with full time cost the taxpayer $12,512.64

    To man the hall with volunteers would cost the taxpayer $2140.80

    A difference of $ 10371.84 x 26 representing 6 months.

    A savings of $269,667.84 with no overtime. 2.6% of the tax base

    Now we would have at least 8 front line firefighters(full-time) on duty during peak hours where now we only have 4. Better protection by %100. during peak hours. And as far as contract obligations 4 or more would have to phone in sick to create overtime. And if so we have 110 part-time at our disposal.

    On day 365. The full-time fire-fighters would man the hall from Mon-Fri 7am-11pm. With the part-time covering 11pm till 7am Mon-Fri.

    Full-time wages $ 232,377.60 representing the 2nd 6 month plan Part-time wages $ 39,624.00

    A savings of $ 192,753.60 with no over time. 1.9% of the tax base

    On day 366. The full-time firefighters would man the hall Mon-Fri 7am-7pm during peak hours.

    Full-time wages representing the 3rd 6 month plan $116,188.80 Part-time wages $19,812.00

    A savings of $ 96,376.80 with no overtime. 1% of the tax base.


    Just the savings in overtime covers all, and would eliminate all but the chief from being on the sunshine list.

    AND THERE WOULD STILL BE AS TODAY 24/7 PROTECTION FOR ALL CITIZENS. IN FACT BETTER

    So over a 18 month period. the taxpayer would see a savings of $558798.24. Which basically represents the amount of overtime wages paid buy the city during an 18-24 month period.

    I would also recommend not replacing any full-time fire fighters who may retire during this period.

    Realizing this post is lengthy. I will post tomorrow comments in regards to aerial, new station and status of halls. I appreciate your patience. For I have done extensive research and it takes time to formulate all stats

  • fireservice2

    Analyzing Thorold’s rising costs in comparison to neighboring municipalities

    Since my last post an article has appeared in Niagara This Week in regards to the fire services review Aug/21/2014. Several issues raised, I was going to address in my post and will. As stated previous I will provide all with stats. In regards to municipalities mentioned.

    In regards to pop. Last census conducted 2011

    Thorold

    Population: 17,931 (2011)
    Fire Operating Budget $ 3.09 mil (2012)
    20 Full-time Staff
    16 career firefighters
    Training Officer
    Fire Prevention Officer
    Fire Chief
    Secretary
    110 volunteers @ 4 stations covering 83 sq. km.

    Pelham

    Pop: 16,598
    Fire Operating Budget $1.14 mil (2012)
    4 full-time staff
    Fire Chief
    Administrative Assistant
    Fire Prevention Officer
    By-law Enforcement/Property Standards Officer
    86 Vol. @ 3 stations covering 126km.

    West Lincoln

    Pop: 13,837
    Fire Operating Budget $871,000
    2 full-time staff
    Fire Chief
    Deputy Fire Chief/Fire Prevention Officer
    47 Vol. @ 2 stations covering 388 sq. km.


    Niagara-on-the-Lake

    Pop: 15,400
    Fire Operating Budget $1.1 mil. (2012)
    5 full-time staff
    Fire Chief
    Deputy Chief Training Officer
    Fire Prevention Officer
    Administrative Assistant
    108 Vol. @ 5 stations covering 133 sq. km.

    Fort Erie

    Pop: 29,960
    Fire Operating Budget 1.65 mil (2012)
    6 full-time staff
    Fire Chief
    Deputy Chief
    Secretary
    2 Fire Prevention Officers
    Public Safety Officer
    137 Vol. @ 6 stations covering 166 sq.km.

    AS MENTIONED THESE ARE THE COMPARIBLES I WILL USE.

    I had mentioned previous that we have 18 front line fire fighters. That is because the training officer and fire prevention officers worked overtime covering for the 16 career firefighters. Both appear on the sunshine list making over $100,000 a year.
    In fact in 2012 and 2013, 33% of our full-time firefighters were on the sunshine list.

    The highest average in Ontario and from the info I have collected from other provinces.
    “THE HIGHEST AVERAGE IN CANADA”.

    There are in fact 464 fire departments in the province. Only 31 have a full -time force. Thorold is among the 433 that either are all volunteer or both. Its begs the question why? And if there are other municipalities that are providing a different service model, perhaps we should look at providing a different service model also.
    LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
    Thorold's fire budget 3.09 mil: For as stated on page 111 :
    In the 2012 budget year, approximately 90 percent of the fire department expenditures were for personnel salaries and related expenses ( such as benefits, overtime, etc.)
    That equals 2.79 mil. which is associated with the above mentioned.
    Note: Only roughly 350,000.00 is for 110 volunteers covering 4 districts.
    The rest is for 20 full-time staff. App. 2.44 mil. Which equates to $122,000.00 per employee average Some less some more.
    If we look at N.O.T.L., Pelham and West Lincoln their combined budget is 3.37 mil. Just $280,000.00 difference. This what you would get in regards to service and manpower


    Combined stats: Pelham, West Lincoln,N.O.T.L.

    Pop: 45,835
    Fire Operating Budget: $ 3,371,000.00
    12 Full-time staff
    3 Fire Chiefs
    2 Deputy Chiefs
    3 Fire prevention officers
    2 Adminstrative Assistants
    1 Training Officer
    1 By-law enforcement property standards officer
    241 volunteers
    10 Stations
    Covering 647 sq. km.

    Thorold


    Population: 17,931 (2011)
    Fire Operating Budget $ 3.09 mil (2012)
    20 Full-time Staff
    16 career firefighters
    Training Officer
    Fire Prevention Officer
    Fire Chief
    Secretary
    110 volunteers @ 4 stations covering 83 sq. km.

    NOTE: And not 1 front line firefghter. Thorold has 18.
    If other municipalities can do it for less and provide the same or better service then Thorold. Then to me as a taxpayer and citizen its a problem and it needs to be fixed. We need to ask ourselves. What are they doing right, and what are we doing wrong?

    If we do as suggested by the consultant. Utilize the full-time during peak hours and the volunteer during non peak hours. And base the full-time on 10-12 hour day shifts as mentioned would save the city substantial amounts of monies. Provide better protection and service during peak and non peak hours.
    My next post will provide the financial information in regards to savings. Give a layout of shifts to be workrd by both full-time and volunteer. Provide a time frame. Comment on the need for a new airiel and station. And also the status of our halls.

  • fireservice_compressed

    The Answer To Better Fire Services in the City of Thorold

    The City of Thorold conducted a fire services review with the first public meeting held in Dec/2012. Followed by 2 more public meetings during Nov/2013. And a report being released in late spring 2014.

    In fact, I was the only individual from the public to make a presentation at the Dec/2012 meeting. I then made another presentation at the first public meeting in Nov/2013.

    I wish to note: That at all 3 public meetings   the  I.A.F.F   (full time) did not make any attempts to make a presentation. Even though several members and the president were in attendance. They basically refused to voice any concerns or make suggestions on how we could better our Fire Services in the City of Thorold.  They did though make a presentation at Thorold city council. Where they stated they were in favour of the model that had Thorold full time amalgamate with St. Catherine’s. Eliminating  % 50 of our volunteers.

    Members of the public and some volunteer firefighters did make a presentation  at the 2nd and 3rd meetings and voiced their concerns. And I can honestly say, that a vast majority of the public that did voice their concerns. Their biggest issue was why is it we have so many full-time firefighters when other similar municipality have next to none.

    All the info I provide with-in, in regards to statistics of any kind. Has been obtained from area/Ontario municipalities, stats Canada and  the final report from the fire review.

    I will use Pelham, West Lincoln, Niagara on the Lake and Fort Erie as a comparable.  Since the report uses 2012 stats. All my info is from 2012 sources.

    Since our full-time firefighters are stationed at  Stn. 1. I will use the stats in regards to Stn.1 calls.

    It should also be noted that even though there is full-time staff in Pelham, N.O.T.L., West Lincoln and Fort Erie. None are front line firefighters, all are administrative positions. Thorold has 18 front line fire fighters.

    If we do as suggested in the review we can save the taxpayers substantial amounts of monies.

    I would like to make it clear to all. I’m in no way out to eliminate all full time fighters.  But utilize  them in a ways as stated in report.  More effective and at  less cost. 

    Page 109 of the review gives us the answers in regards to the savings opportunities. It states: The recent downturn in the economy and subsequent budget problems faced by local municipalities have forced communities to look at other staffing options for their fire departments, including staffing that is based on the demand for service as determined by how many calls for service are expected at different times of the day.

    The consultants then say. An opportunity for cost savings does exist in the area of staffing apparatus. During non-peak hours,   staffing levels could be reduced to still allow for the ability to respond to calls by volunteer firefighters. By placing the full-time fire fighter focus on peak periods reduces the impact on delayed and/or reduced volunteer response during those times.

         Also stated on page 109 and the start of 110 is this recommendation: The department should investigate the option of a demand- based staffing system that can be based on a combination of 10 or 12 hour day shifts (as required) with the utilization of volunteer fire fighters during the off ours.

         Released Aug/18/2014

          A follow up will appear with in the next few days. At this time I will present data and info in regards to costing.  Compare our costs with the municipalities mentioned.  And present different staffing options and the savings related to such.

        

     

    -As always please direct any feedback to my contact number or the message board below.     

  • jimsbiocomp

    Jim Handley announces his return to the race for council!

    Deciding once again to run for Thorold City Council was an easy decision to make. For one, during the last four years the citizens have seen their taxes raised 7% – 9% – 7% & 5% for a compounded increase of 31%.

    It’s time again for the citizens to have a voice at city hall.  For I feel a better job can be done in regards to such increases.  It’s time we cut costs and still maintain or improve existing services with such drastic tax increases.  I believe when elected and with the support of a new council I will show the citizens and council just how we can save the taxpayers money and deliver the same or better services.

    I will be a voice for the people as I have been during my previous 10 years as a councillor.  I look out for all, not just a few.  So I ask you the taxpayers and citizens of Thorold whether it be our youth, adults, or seniors,  it’s time again for a vote.  It’s time again to let the taxpayer know what’s really going on at city hall.  You will be informed, you will be recognized, and you will be respected as all citizens should be.  I aim to serve you proudly, so you can say I live in Thorold, and be proud of such.

    With your support on October 27′th 2014 you will get the voice of Leadership, Experience, and Strength you deserve!

    Make it count! Vote Handley! He’s on your side.

  • postimagecomp2

    You deserve exceptional leadership at Thorold City Hall

    You deserve exceptional leadership at Thorold City Hall who:
    » Supports a strong commercial and light industrial tax base
    » Improves the levels of service without increasing taxes
    » Is for the development of the Welland Canal Corridor
    » Is for Inter-Municipal Transportation opportunities
    » Believes in the preservation of our historical & heritage values
    » Wants to further develop and improve existing recreational facilities
    » Promotes healthy living opportunities and resources for the valued families
    and citizens of orold
    During his ten years as a councillor for the citizens of Thorold, Jim has always
    kept our children and senior’s futures in mind when community development
    occured.
    He has served with dedication! He has supported the wellbeing of all residents,
    urban and rural in Thorold, Thorold South, Allanburg, St.John’s and Port
    Robinson.

  • whoweare

    Caring for those in need is a full time job!

    Jim’s commitment to his community includes contributions to organizations such as the Cancer Society, Heart & Stroke Foundation, Cerebral Palsy, Big Brothers and Sisters, St.Vincent de Paul Society, Community Care and more. His passion for racing led him to be the Merrittville and Humberstone Speedway announcer for 12 years. Formerly, Jim was also the thorold Georgia Pacific Jr. B Blackhawks announcer, Thorold News Stock Car Racing columnist and the voice of ‘Just Dirt Radio’. Jim is a member of good standing with the LIUNA LOCAL 837 and is presently employed full time at P.C.L., one of North America’s largest construction firms.

  • front stcomp

    Let’s not make Thorold just a good place to live but rather the BEST place to live and visit!

    STRONG LEADERSHIP

    A community that thinks together, grows together and propers together will
    enjoy the benefits of a strong tax base.
    You will get the voice of experience, leadership and strength. the citizens of
    Thorold deserve a councillor that will work for them on a full-time basis and
    David Jim Handley will be that councillor!

  • LOGO - City of Thorold

    Member of 23 Local Communities

    As a Thorold councillor from 1996 to 2000 & from 2006 to 2010, Jim is or has
    been a valued member of the following commitees:
    » Member of Niagara Regional Parks & Recreational Ad Hoc Committee
    » Director of Allanburg’s Community Centre
    » Member of the Hotel Dieu Board of Directors
    » Director of Public Relations Committee of Hotel Dieu
    » Member of the Business Improvement Association
    » City Representative for Thorold’s Seniors Centre
    » Member of Thorold’s Sports & Recreations Ad Hoc Committee
    » City Rep. for Thorold’s Policing Committee
    » City Rep. for Thorold’s Chamber of Commerce
    » Member of the Sons of Italy
    » Member of Thorold Anglers
    » Member of the Santa Clause Parade Committee
    » Vice Chair of the Sports Advisory Committee
    » Chairman of the Freddie McNamara Sullivan Park Restoration Committee
    » Member of Thorold’s Community Activities Group
    » Member of the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 17
    » Member of the Holy Rosary Parish Church
    » Member of Thorold Amateur Athletic Association
    » Member of Protection Hose Company #1
    » Member of Thorold Volunteer Firefighters Alumni Association
    » Member of the Welland Canal Committee
    » A founding member of the City of orold Green Committee
    » Member of the Canadion Corps Unit 44