CORNWALL — Cornwall Mayor Barney Fullerton did some math at a recent council meeting and figuratively drew blood.
At issue is the transit system and the number of riders from Cornwall.
“Just for whatever this is worth, from Jan.1, 2012 to June 30, 2012, 8,134 people rode the Cornwall bus, whether they rode into town or they rode out of town, or whether they came half way,” said Fullerton at a recent council meeting.
“That cost the municipality $32,920. Each head that gets on the bus, the ratepayers of Cornwall subsidize them to the tune of $4.04 per head,” he said.
“I honestly do think the ratepayers have to let us know where they stand and I tried to think of a way of something like the Plan B plebiscite or how you can gear this up so one person gets one vote,” said Fullerton. “I’m not having any luck coming up with a strategy but I do think this thing is bleeding and either we are going to let it bleed or put a Band Aid on it.”
“We could argue this until the cows come home,” said Councillor Peter Meggs.
“Yes, we could,” said Fullerton. “Minister (Wes) Sheridan, he opted out of the County Line Express at a $14,000 subsidy a month, and it ceased, and Mike Cassidy (T3 Trius Transit) came back with another offer of $9,500 a month and it’s back in operation.
“Can we get a better rate?” asked Fullerton. “Can we cut that $33,000 down to $22,000 or something? I’m just saying it’s a lot of money. If we invest in shelters, the going rate for those is $10,000 a piece, plus an annual maintenance fee of $1,200 a piece. On 10 shelters that is $12,000 a year on top of that.”
The mayor said a recent poll on The Guardian website said people in the town of Cornwall don’t find the bus convenient.
“If you had a run every half hour it might be more convenient but again, that costs more money,” said Fullerton.
Councillor Marlene Hunt said the same kind of analysis of recreation could produce almost similar results.
“I think it’s wonderful, our recreation and sports programs and facilities but if you look at the capital costs, and the cost for all our workers, and not everybody uses it, but I support it because it’s for the public good, you would run into the same thing.
“We definitely don’t make money off recreation, not after we pay for everything but it’s a public service,” said Hunt.
“That is the same with transit. It is new to the Island and I know it’s difficult but honestly I really think we need to move forward and have more bus runs. We also need a second bus run that would turn at the North River lights and go down Lakeview Drive, down into that area, and down the Kingston Road. We are only doing half the town.
“To do it properly we do need two buses at least, so I think we need to grow it and hang on and let it happen,” said Hunt.Headline Info Box