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Ask the Councillor – April 2015

AnchorResident J.S asks: Do you have the statistics for Burlington Transit? E.g. number of paid rides, average ticket cost, 2015 Transit Budget, etc. In Oakville, the subsidy per ride is about $8.00 – look at the numbers and then compare to Burlington.

Response:

  • Ridership 2014: 2,050,000
  • Boardings (including transfers) 2014: 3,250,000
  • Revenue to cost ratio 2014: 40
  • Cost effectiveness: Operating costs divided by regular service trips: 6.15
  • Investment per capita: $40 (Oakville $70, Brantford $41, Kingston $85, Niagara Falls $45)
  • Subsidy per passenger in 2015 projected to be $3.90 per ride.

AnchorResident S.A. asks: Typically many businesses in Burlington have offered the sale/renewal of dog licenses.  Currently there is a City sanctioned promotion to encourage people to purchase their licenses online and if they do they will receive a gift card for Ren’s Pet Depot.

Why is the city promoting one individual business? Were other pet supply stores operating in Burlington offered a similar opportunity?

Response:  The Burlington Animal Control group has had relationships of one kind or another with many of the pet related businesses in the area. Pet licences have been sold through veterinarian offices and pet food stores for some time. This is governed by a contractual relationship with each of the businesses who agree to participate.  We are aware also that many of the same businesses work with our friends at the Burlington Humane Society and contribute to the Society as a charity, all in the interest of protecting and improving the lives of pets.

Even before setting up its store in Burlington, Ren’s through its Oakville store, had a program of providing $25 gift certificates to those who adopted pets from the Burlington Animal Control Shelter. Recently, Burlington had discussions with them about expanding this program to include a coupon incentive for electronic licensing.

In the past year the Animal Control program was the subject of an administrative review in which staff looked at the way the services were offered. The aim has been to improve aspects of the animal service, including especially a program to encourage the acquisition and renewal of licences on line. Eventually it is hoped that the vast majority of renewals take place on line. At the same time as this was taking place, staff had discussions with Ren’s about providing a coupon valued at $25 with each electronically issued licence. This was strongly encouraged by the staff in the City Manager’s Office who were assisting with the corporate review and was approved enthusiastically by senior management as an innovative addition to the business model of the shelter.

Before confirming the relationship, Animal Control staff and their manager consulted with City legal advisors about the contract and with city purchasing staff to ensure that the partnership was appropriate. In the end, staff agreed to the program as a new way of encouraging electronic licence renewals. It is being offered as a pilot program for one year with the possibility for two renewals and will be evaluated at the end of the three years. While the program is currently limited to Ren’s, it is very likely that, if successful, it would be extended to other pet-oriented businesses who may wish to participate with incentives to increase adoptions and electronic licensing and licence renewals.

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

What's your take?