Volume 92, Issue 32

Friday, October 30, 1998

big money


Commission seeks more cash

By Sabrina Carinci
Gazette Staff

Despite the university's new bus contract with the London Transit Commission, which was supposed to benefit students and the LTC alike, the LTC is still asking for more money.

According to the 1999 draft budget released by the City of London Wednesday, the LTC is asking for almost $12 million from the city, an increase of $373,000 from the 1998 budget.

Rick Brown, manager of financial planning and policy for the finance and administration department for the City of London, said the increase is based on operating costs, such as fuel and maintenance. "I know it seems like a lot," he said, adding there are many other factors which have to be taken into account.

Larry Ducharme, general manager of the LTC, said the $373,000 increase constitutes approximately three per cent of the LTC's $30 million budget. "When you think about it, that's not a lot," he said.

Ducharme said the LTC's agreement with the university was not about making money. "It's not that we were getting a big windfall of revenue – it's a revenue neutral program," he said.

Ducharme added since the impact of the university's contract has taken place, the LTC has added more services such as extra buses on weekends.

Joe Swan, London city councillor for Ward 2, said he felt it would be too early to comment on the issue because it was only released Wednesday and he does not even have a copy of it for himself.

Swan did, however, mention it is important to consider the LTC is being faced with unexpected maintenance and fuel rates and are also working towards making various route improvements.

Brown reinforced the fact that the budget presented to the Board of Control was only a draft and will be reviewed by London City Council for the next six weeks. There will be a series of meetings between that time, which both politicians and the public may attend to discuss concerns.

"The percentage we put out is acceptable to be put out as a draft – the politicians will go through it department by department," Brown said. He added the proposed date for the finalization of the budget is Dec. 15.

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Copyright The Gazette 1998