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  • The Town of Ajax currently contracts out boulevard grass cutting and litter control at a cost of $50,000 plus annually.
  • Town employees using town equipment can do the same work.
  • It is not necessary to hire an outside contractor to do the work.
  • By bringing the work “in-house” to be performed by town employees, the Town of Ajax can save at least $34,000 annually, or between $170,000 and $250,000 over the next five years.
  • We do a better job. As public employees we are proud of our Town, proud of our work and committed to making Ajax the best possible place to live and visit.
  • Savings realized by bringing the work back to City employees can be used to fund a property tax rebate, sprinkler park at the lakefront, new equipment, additional full time staff to improve services on a year round basis, etc…

The details:

  • It wasn’t all that long ago we were beating the S.T.A.R.S. drum – “the workers know the work, they know where to save the dollars”. We believe the spirit still remains. As employees of the Town of Ajax, cost efficiency remains one of our goals.
  • The turf maintenance crew and team leaders tell us that there is the capacity within the existing workforce to carry out the boulevard maintenance that is currently contracted out without ignoring other essential tasks.
  • In fact, the Town’s turf maintenance crew and teams leaders tell us they can do a better job than is required of the contractor. Our own crews are proposing to do the boulevard maintenance work on a seven to ten day cycle. Although Mr. Skinner says in his letter that the current contract provides for 11 cycles, the 2001 departmental Operations Management schedule indicates that all Town properties are to be maintained on a fourteen to thirty day rotation. Keeping in mind a 14 day cutting cycle is unrealistic in the growth seasons.
  • The Town crews who previously performed boulevard maintenance have been consulted by CUPE Local 54 in developing this proposal, and were not consulted by Mr. Skinner in developing his response.
  • Work of the Operations and Environment Department has been contracted out as staff levels have declined through attrition over the past 10 years and Ajax’s parkland area has increased.
  • The Department has just hired temporary staff and increased the number of part-time staff to meet “peak period” demands.
  • Continual contracting out signifies that there is clearly work that needs to be done and can be done by increasing the complement of full-time permanent employees.
  • The Union’s cost saving initiative utilizes only those staff that would of been assigned turf mowing/litter/weedeating duties.
  • It has come to the Union’s attention that since we began this initiative to bring back “in-house” these services that these same crews which would have assumed the same commitment of duties as last year have now been brought into meet with management to discuss additional duties.
  • The Union has stated in past that management has the ultimate control of success or failure of all like initiatives, they continue to have the authority to re-assign staff, not purchase equipment etc.

The numbers:

We estimate that the amount paid to the contractor for boulevard maintenance in 2001 was $50,000. (Local 54 has asked to see the actual costs of contracting out boulevard maintenance from Mr. Skinner but has not received that information at this time.) If the Town actually pays the contractor more, the savings that can be realized by implementing our proposal are even greater than calculated here.

The “cost” of having existing Town crews and Town equipment do boulevard maintenance is:

Regular wages and benefits
- no additional cost

Overtime costs for the season
$0 – 14,884

The crews calculate that they can include boulevard maintenance in their regular schedules and achieve a 7 to 14 day maintenance rotation. The “worst case scenario” may be that overtime is required for 10 staff in 50% of the rotations.

E.S.W. regular rate
$19.47/hr. x 1.5 = $29.21/hr. O.T. rate

Operator regular rate
$21.47/hr x 1.5 + $32.21/hr. O.T. rate

4 E.S.W.s @ $935/day O.T. x 6.= $5,608

6 Operators @ $1,546/day O.T. x 6 = $9,276

Regular equipment operating costs

Overtime fuel costs
$0 - 969

The equipment required by the crews working overtime would be 6 mowers (3 O-Turns, 3 Deeres), 4 weed-eaters and 3 trucks/trailers. Our detailed calculations indicate that the maximum cost of fuel required to operate the equipment for 6 days in addition to regular use would be $161.50 per day.

6 Mowers – 20 liters each @ $42.00/day

4 Weed-eaters – 20 – 25 litres total @ $17.50/day

3 Trucks - $20 each/day

Total Possible Overtime Operations Costs
$0 - 15,853

Contractor @ $50,000 vs. existing town crews and equipment to a maximum overtime cost of $15,853.

Potential savings to Town of Ajax = $34,137 - $50,000 annually.

  • The Town has provided its crews with the best equipment money can buy. We can make better use of that equipment by using it for boulevard maintenance as well as other regular operations.
  • In the “worst case scenario”, Town staff may have to work some overtime to complete the work. Even if that is the case, the cost of overtime is still significantly less than the cost of the outside contract.
  • Work done by Town crews is more accountable to the public and to our elected Town Council.
  • All of the costs of work done by Town crews are open to public scrutiny. None of the cost of the job goes as profit to a private company. The only costs are the direct costs of doing the work.
  • As public employees, we are concerned with public safety and health as well as turf maintenance and litter control.
  • As Unionized employees we would like the work done by our members. The Union wishes Council to direct Management to bring the work back “in house” for Union members to complete. This will provide a cost saving to the Town.
  • Please do not allow management to fog reality and impair our ability to be fiscally responsible.
  • Allow the Union to prove it can do the job and help stop the “Contracting Out” of services.
  • The Union feels that we have fulfilled our responsibilities as Town employees in bringing this to your attention.