Transit, airport and community development dominated the city’s 2017 budget discussion Friday morning.
Major expenditures proposed in the transit department include four new Handi-Transit buses and a cost of $135,000 each, plus bus shelter replacements.
"These buses have served our accessibly needs for the past five years and have started to show their age," said Carla Richardson, director of transportation.
Upgrades to transit stops is an accessibility requirement under the province. The "large financial undertaking" will need to be completed over several years, Richardson said.
Coun. Shawn Berry (Linden Lanes) questioned the need to run buses on holidays, such as New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Canada Day and Labour Day.
At Brandon’s municipal airport, costs will increase in heat, power and water charges as the new, larger space is now in use.
Under community development, a lengthy discussion was sparked around the table regarding a proposed new community development coordinator position, to focus on recreation and sport.
Esther Bryan, community development manager, explained the new position would help with developing a community centres master plan, writing sports policy, recreation policy, etc.
Coun. Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine) questioned the need for this new position, and suggested management should reallocate resources internally.
"I’m not grasping the business plan for this position," he said.
Bryan explained they would have to reduce other programming in order to accommodate a renewed focus on sport and recreation.
"We would lose programming in order to accommodate this," she said.
Budget presentations from department managers continues this afternoon, followed by a full day of deliberations Saturday.