City council considers umpire and senior transportation savings

RIVERVIEW – City officials still are considering ways to save money by shifting payment of umpires to city baseball leagues and reducing senior transportation services.

City Council members discussed the moves at a study session Dec. 14, but the items did not appear on the published agenda for Monday’s council meeting, nor have any proposals or resolutions been publicly documented.

For 2009 the city spent $11,181 to pay the umpires. Head umpire James Bowens, who taught a class of 13 students and presided over 84 games last season was paid $5,055. Other umpires on the city payroll were paid a total of $6,126 to officiate at 363 games. The city hires and pays its umpires, and schedules and supervises them as well.

In comparison, Wyandotte’s baseball association hires, pays and schedules its umpires with no assistance from the city. Trenton’s baseball association hires, pays and schedules its umpires, but receives $10,000 a year from the city to cover umpire fees.

Grosse Ile’s baseball association hires, pays and schedules its umpires without any assistance from the township. Southgate’s baseball association hires, pays and schedules its umpires, and received half its budget from the city in 2009. However, it will receive no city funding in 2010 and will have to cover umpire costs on its own.

Senior transportation costs
The city uses Trinity Cars to provide taxi services for seniors.

It also receives a grant of $32,000 from the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation to transport senior citizens. The authority has a new van available for use by the city. The cost of the van is covered by SMART and federal grants.

However, the city must provide for the insurance, upkeep, fuel and drivers for the van, although it can recoup those costs through money it receives from the authority. Estimates place maintenance, insurance and fuel costs for the van at between $8,000 and $9,000 a year.

City officials believe they can save $8,500 a year by restricting high-end, nondoctor visit users to 10 trips per month. They found that most Senior Transportation Program users (75 percent) take fewer than 10 trips per month.

However, some high-end users have used the service up to 45 times per month. Further study of usage patterns, officials said, show the high-end users do not use the transportation for medical visits, but rather for trips to retail stores and bars.

The council tentatively is scheduled to revisit both issues at a study session Jan. 11.