Can the Cost of Cobourg’s Services be reduced?

Oscar Poloni of consultant KPMG presented to Council tonight the first report of results for the “Municipal Service Delivery Review”. The review was initiated to “to improve the understanding of the services currently provided by the Town and provide better information that will allow the community, Council and staff to make informed strategic choices regarding those services.”  That is, it attempts to answer the question “Can the Town be more efficient and/or reduce costs to Cobourg’s taxpayers?”  Initial results suggest that the only real way to do this is by reducing services and asks Council for direction about possibly reducing recreation and tourism and possibly other services.  But along the way, a survey with 307 respondents found out what residents… Read complete articleCan the Cost of Cobourg’s Services be reduced?

County Safety and Well Being Survey

Northumberland County has a mandate for community services such as Affordable Housing, Paramedics, the Golden Plough and income support (welfare) as well as county roads, garbage and economic development. To better understand what residents see as priorities for a range of such services, a survey was conducted from 25 June to 31 July.  Public surveys usually get few participants and this was no exception with only 143 responses received. Of these, 61 were Cobourg residents. Of the 143, 46 were over 59 years of age, 60 were 39 to 58 and 29 were 18 to 38. The results are interesting and will guide the County’s “Community Safety and Well-being Plan”. Major categories were “Personal Safety”, “Feelings about Crime”, and “Environment and Culture” – details… Read complete articleCounty Safety and Well Being Survey

More Details on Cobourg’s 2020 Finances

At Tuesday’s Special Council meeting, as reported in the previous Post, Treasurer Ian Davey provided Councillors with an update on the current financial status of Cobourg.  He confirmed that the numbers are an estimate for the whole year based on actuals to date.  He also confirmed that the million dollars saved on staffing was because of hiring that was deferred or did not happen.  His report included details on where additional money was spent because of Covid-19, details on Government grants and status of current Capital Projects.  This follow-up post includes those details.   Some Capital spending has been deferred but most projects have continued irrespective of Covid-19 – usually we don’t get a status report on projects so this progress… Read complete articleMore Details on Cobourg’s 2020 Finances

Update – Financial Impact of Pandemic

In May, Ian Davey, Cobourg’s treasurer, reported on the financial impact of the pandemic plus he forecast the impact for the year.  In September, he reported on the numbers for the first two quarters.  On Tuesday, October 20, he will report the status up to October 15 – and it looks good.  Although revenue is down by $2M,  expenses are also down by $2M.  Add back $400K in extra expenses because of virus protection measures and the net loss is $417K.  But from a Town’s finances point of view, this is more than compensated by Federal/ Provincial funding to date of $678K leaving a net surplus of $261K.  Needless to say, the Town will not be applying for the second… Read complete articleUpdate – Financial Impact of Pandemic

Fern Blodgett Sunde Statue unveiled

Fern Blodgett was raised in Cobourg and always dreamt of going to sea.  Early in World War 2, she decided to train to be a Radio Operator but the Canadian Navy and merchant navy would not hire a woman.  Not to be dissuaded, Fern found a Norwegian ship who would and did.  In July 23, 2018, Leona Woods presented to Council her idea of remembering Fern’s heroism and pioneering of women’s roles, by commissioning a statue to be put in Victoria Park.  Today that statue was unveiled before a large crowd of “dignitaries”.  Represented were the Canadian Navy, the Norwegian Ambassador to Canada, donors. and the committee who helped Leona reach her goal.  The day was chosen because 2020 is… Read complete articleFern Blodgett Sunde Statue unveiled

RFP Issued for Waterfront Changes

Cobourg’s Waterfront Plan recommended a large number of changes to the Harbour, the Marina, the Trailer Park (now called  the Campground), the west headland and the west beach.  A Request for Proposals (RFP) has now been issued asking for more details and cost estimates.  Closing date is October 27 and after four public meetings, the schedule calls for completion by the summer of 2021. Tenders for implementation are to be issued by Fall 2021 and construction will start Spring/summer 2022 – although these last two dates are tentative. However, even awarding of this preliminary work is yet to be confirmed pending Council’s review of the 2021 budget.  The scope is in two parts: the Campground and the area from the… Read complete articleRFP Issued for Waterfront Changes

Climate Action Plan Update

At Tuesday’s regular Council meeting, Judy Smith made a presentation that gave an update on Cobourg’s 2010 Climate action plan and recommended actions to achieve the 2050 goal of net zero emissions.  Judy is the Environmental Officer for Northumberland County and also the Climate Change Coordinator for the Town of Cobourg.  She described the overall performance of the Town in meeting goals – that’s the whole Town, not just Municipal operations. Using a tool provided by FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities), Judy established a baseline then measured progress in reducing GHG (Greenhouse Gas) Emissions.  Although good progress has been made, the next goal of 80% to 100% reduction by 2050 means that “we should start on it now”.  She lists actions… Read complete articleClimate Action Plan Update

Review of Town Managed Events in 2020

At Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting belatedly held on Wednesday, Marketing and Events Manager Kara Euale reviewed the Town’s 2020 events both past and future.  Since the pandemic struck in April, events have been virtual but still involved outdoor activity.  Kara’s usual primary goal seems to be to attract Tourists but most participation this year was by locals.  The two major events of a normal year, Canada Day celebrations and the Sandcastle Festival, were a special focus with the cost of Canada Day fully paid for by a Federal Grant.  One of the more successful events was a Photography competition which is intended to be seasonal – four times a year.  All events involved local businesses in some way… Read complete articleReview of Town Managed Events in 2020