City council decided to wait another two weeks before handing down its decision on whether to keep the city owned and operated daycare facilities.
With the council gallery packed with workers, families and children, council in a recorded vote of 7-4, deferred the decision of closing daycare centres or one of the options recommended in a 2014 city staff report suggesting the city opt out of daycare facilities. New funding models introduced by the Provincial government resulting in cuts to the funding of the local DSSAB and a decline in the youth population in the Sault.
“What did the Provincial government expect to happen?” Ward 2 councillor Susan Myers asked.
The city is faced with saving $350,000 off the budget , a huge savings in wake of financial uncertainty from recent actions of the city’s largest employer, Essar Steel Algoma filing for creditor protection and recent layoffs at Essar and Tenaris Algoma Tubes, the city is looking to save every penny it can. Opponents say the city can’t afford to offer the service for a small portion of the population.
One of the options offered in a report to council includes moving the daycare system into schools. However even that option involves a cost to implement daycare services into schools and leaves the city still maintaining 100 daycare spaces.
Council is seeking more information on that option, however the savings to the city would be quite negligible said Shelley Schell, commissioner of finance and city treasurer, saying the move would still cost the city $200,000 annually.
Council will once again tackle the decision on December 7th.
The annual levy paid to the DSSAB pays for 1,438 daycare spaces , short of the 2,000 that is required. Over 500 local families are on the waiting list for daycare.