Budget Meeting – part three

A lot of ground was covered in the two days of budget meetings – but at around 6:00 pm on the second day, Council came in under their target as reported earlier. The first day included presentations by the Police even though the only thing Council could do was to reject the entire budget.  It was pre-approved by the Police board in closed session and only open to the public once it was approved. But at the budget meeting, the Police presentation was all about how the Police make a contribution to the Town both financially and with partnerships. More on this below. The Fire Department Chief and Deputy Chief, the Library CEO, the AGN Executive Director and Town staff… Read complete articleBudget Meeting – part three

Budget Meeting – Beach and Events

The budget meeting last Thursday and Friday covered a lot of ground – budgets for all departments were reviewed so staff and councillors talked about many issues and provided a lot of insight into what is being planned for 2021.  For example, what’s happening because of the pandemic; what projects will go ahead; will Tourism be encouraged?  As several Councillors said, it’s too early to decide whether the Beach should be open or how it should be managed but this certainly is an important subject.  Although budgets decide on money allocation, Council budget decisions also point to what staff should spend their time on.  Below are some of the things that Council and Staff mentioned and decided and help us understand… Read complete articleBudget Meeting – Beach and Events

Cobourg Council Meet 2021 Budget Target

After a marathon two full days of a special Council Meeting to review the 2021 budget line by line, Council managed to reduce the draft budget sufficiently to more than meet the 0 to 1% target set by Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin.  All Councillors contributed but Councillor Brian Darling made the most suggestions for reductions – although some were only to start a discussion.  There were many decisions made and a lot of information provided so it won’t be possible to give a full report in one post (besides, I’m tired!)  But stay tuned over the next week for reports on the highlights – e.g. what to do about the beach, the CCC and the Concert Hall.  Below is the… Read complete articleCobourg Council Meet 2021 Budget Target

Community Grants for 2021

Council today had a long session to review the 2021 budget – and it’s not yet finished.  It will continue tomorrow, Friday.  There were long sessions on the Fire Department and Police and some other smaller departments but each year, one group of decisions gets attention out of proportion to the amount of money involved – and that’s the Community Grants.  In the last few years the total awarded to those who applied has been limited to $50k but this year is unusual and most Councillors were keen to keep the increase to a minimum.  Councillor Adam Bureau worked with Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin to decide on recommended awards but before he could get going, Councillor Brian Darling moved to… Read complete articleCommunity Grants for 2021

CAO report on Progress with Strategic Plan

Unlike many corporate five year plans which gather dust, Cobourg’s four year Strategic Plan is actively used to direct Staff.  Each staff memo to Council references the relevant action in the Strategic Plan and once a year the CAO is asked to provide an update on progress.  So at the next Committee of the Whole meeting (C.O.W. on January 25), CAO Tracey Vaughan will present the update for 2020 – that is, what got done in 2020 and what remains to be done.  See the links below for the full report – 21 pages – plus a cover memo complete with a summary.  This post will try to extract highlights – those items that I think are of most interest…. Read complete articleCAO report on Progress with Strategic Plan

Motel Plans Expansion

The Holiday Inn Hotel planned up near the Home Depot is still stuck in the planning stage but another hotel (actually motel) has now applied for Site Plan approval to add a 50 room expansion to their existing 16 rooms.  The budget motel at 1144 Division Street was originally called Motel 401 but after a scandal involving the owner a few years ago, there was a change of owner and a name change to Studio One.   The current Motel is a single story building facing south and facing a park-like strip of land.  The expansion will occupy that green-space and will be three storeys.  The fact that there is this application to expand has to tell us that the owner… Read complete articleMotel Plans Expansion

Improving Town’s Efficiency

As promised, CAO Tracey Vaughan has now issued a report on what actions the Town should be taking to implement the recent report by KPMG on how the Town could save money.  Tracey’s report is included in the agenda for the next Committee of the Whole meeting on January 25.  First she says that KPMG notes that two-thirds of the Town’s operating costs and 71% of the municipal levy requirement relate to services that are considered to be either mandatory or essential in nature. While discretionary services account for $6.9 million in annual taxation revenue, $6.6 million of that amount are discretionary services that are traditionally delivered by municipalities of similar size.  She accepts that Councillors do not want to… Read complete articleImproving Town’s Efficiency

More on Micro-Transit Trial

One of the more expensive and contentious budget items is the high cost of Cobourg’s Transit System.  Service is limited – not all areas are covered and there’s a one hour interval between buses.  Further, buses are larger than would be reasonably required for usual ridership counts.  The operating budget for 2021 is $1.3M and ridership is expected to be about the same as for 2020 which was 52,000.  That’s an average of 142 per day – and split over 2 buses that’s about 7 per one hour trip.  In addition, the accessible Transit service (Wheels) had much fewer users.  Subsidies from upper levels of Government reduced the net cost to the Town to $943K which is 3.7% of the… Read complete articleMore on Micro-Transit Trial