A plan to hire five new part-time parks staff has a Quinte West city councillor seeing red.
Councillors reviewed a plan in the city's 2013 operational budget to spend $115,000 on the additional staff.
Public works director Chris Angelo said increased special events, and increased demand for use on city sports fields have made it difficult for staff to keep up with maintenance and mowing.
“It's been a struggle to keep up with the work,” said Angelo, at Wednesday's budget session.
Five additional part-time staff will allow for a weekend shift so parks and fields can be maintained during special events.
Angelo said the city has been “inundated” with complaints lodged by residents.
The bottom line, said Angelo, is part timers will cut overtime costs.
Roseblade wasn't buying the explanation.
“The city reorganized the public works and recreation departments to be more efficient, reduce costs and pool resources. I'm not buying it (the explanation),” said Roseblade, a former city employee in the old community and leisure services department. Her job was made redundant in the departmental reorganization.
Roseblade said the city can't afford the cost as officials attempt to trim a proposed $52-million plus operational budget.
Other, more fiscally conservative councillors, weren't supporting Roseblade.
“We're talking about casual, part timers,” said Paul Kyte. “We have to be able to provide services at acceptable levels. It's the cost of doing business.”
Jim Harrison agreed.
“The number of events in the city have increased, service levels also have to increase. People aren't willing to put up with anything less. This (the part timers) are a real need,” said Harrison.
Coun. Terry Cassidy said it wasn't about “simply” mowing grass.
“If the city is putting the emphasis on bringing more people and business to the community … what is it we want to show them? We have to be able to improve the quality of services and appearance of the city.” said Cassidy.
Council is expected to approve the budget March 11. The city's 2013 capital budget was approved last December.