Council to Pursue Agreement with Transition House

At the January 10 meeting of the Standing committee for Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development, Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley asked Council to implement an agreement with Northumberland County and Transition House similar to the agreement made by Whitby and Durham. The committee endorsed the idea – or to at least to look into the idea – and it came up again at the Regular Council meeting on January 31. This time there was a delegation from Transition House management: Board Chair Neil Ellis, Board Treasurer Meaghan Macdonald and newly appointed Executive Director – Ike Nwibe. They tried to re-assure Council and residents that they would be good neighbours. Although they did not directly address the idea… Read complete articleCouncil to Pursue Agreement with Transition House

Stormwater Fee Schedule to be Reviewed

At the Council meeting on Wednesday January 31, the gallery was full and even overflowed into the Courthouse. Most of these citizens were interested in hearing what Council might do to resolve the unfair stormwater fees for owners of large rural properties.  There were about 8 presenters – starting with Colline Bell who had previously spoken to the Strategic Priorities and Policy Standing Committee on the 10th of January (see report on Cobourg News Blog – link in resources). Colline pointed out that unlike a tax, a “user fee may only be charged in exchange for a specific service offered to the person paying the fee” yet Colline and other presenters said that they did not use any stormwater infrastructure… Read complete articleStormwater Fee Schedule to be Reviewed

Council Approves 2024 Budget – Unchanged

Despite several contentious items, when all debate was finished at the regular Council meeting on 31 January, Council approved the draft 2024 budget with no changes. Mayor Cleveland had one last try at reforms and he wanted to make drastic changes to the Community Grant Process but in the end, there were few changes to the budget. The budget increased by 9.91% but because of growth in the Town’s tax base of 1.85%, the increase in the levy is 8.06%. The issue of Stormwater fees was discussed but did not affect the budget; there was more discussion on Transition House as well as a few other items – stay tuned for reports on these.  It was a marathon meeting and… Read complete articleCouncil Approves 2024 Budget – Unchanged

Move to get Agreement on Rules for Transition House

On January 10, at the Community Services, Protection, and Economic Development Standing Committee meeting, Dr. Hillary Allen & Mr. Jeff Crowley asked Council to implement an agreement with Northumberland County and Transition House similar to the agreement made by Whitby and Durham concerning an “emergency shelter” similar to the Transition house planned for 310 Division St. If implemented, it’s expected to help Transition House’s successful “operation and integration into the community”. Such an agreement between Cobourg, the County and Transition house would be a commitment to a wide range of actions that would be a “response to numerous failed examples across Ontario” – that is, in my words, it would go a long way to resolving concerns on the new… Read complete articleMove to get Agreement on Rules for Transition House

Draft 2024 Budget approved

On January 18, Council had their second day of budget review and it was apparent that an important reason for the large planned budget increase is the addition of more staff. Therefore they spent most time on that. But in the end not much changed. There were no significant deletions, only one new hire was eliminated and in fact some items were added including a small increase in Councillor salaries.  But some key decisions were made including on the beach lifeguards, Centennial Pool operation in 2024, a test of a fixed route Transit system and a number of other items. All Councillors participated in the debates but often failed to get support for their particular ideas to save money. And,… Read complete articleDraft 2024 Budget approved

Community Grants Requests Get Trimmed

One of the things that happens in Cobourg’s budget is a line item devoted to “Community Grants” – staff recommended $20K plus another $10K for “Contingency Grants During Year” but council ended up approving grants for $33,025 (or was it $37,025?).  The approval came at the end of a long second day reviewing the budget.  The meeting was scheduled to end at 4:00 pm and Mayor Cleveland and Councillor Mutton excused themselves around that time so the meeting continued with a quorum of five.  Before he left, Mayor Cleveland said that he did not approve of any grants at all – although perhaps in-kind grants would be OK – so he did not think he would be needed during the… Read complete articleCommunity Grants Requests Get Trimmed

Town of Cobourg Correspondence

Up until this year, Official Correspondence received by the Town was provided to Council and the Public as part of the Agenda of the regular Council meeting. But with the new Governance structure, all Correspondence is now handled differently – it’s listed every Friday at 4 pm on the escribe calendar. Correspondence items are listed as a “Consent Agenda” with links so you can see the full text. The intent is that they all will be received for “Information purposes” unless extracted for attention in the Council meeting at the end of the month. A note on the Correspondence Agenda says that this can be done by a member of Council or Director at any time. So let’s look at what all this… Read complete articleTown of Cobourg Correspondence

Third Shooting Suspect Arrested

On Wednesday, 16 August 2023, at approximately 4:45 pm, officers were called to the south end of Hibernia Street regarding sounds of gunshots. Police investigation identified three suspects. On 25 August, one suspect was arrested; on 29 August a second suspect was arrested and on 11 January, the third suspect was arrested.  All were charged with a large number of offences including attempted murder.  The most recent arrest (of Elijah Kerridge-Lall) was made by “a partner police service” and previous Police information is that he and the other suspects live in the Durham region.  The shooting occurred at a West Beach encampment of homeless individuals who subsequently moved to County property on William street then moved to their current location… Read complete articleThird Shooting Suspect Arrested

First Day of 2024 Budget Review

In previous years, council scheduled 2 or 3 days to review the budget but this year only one day was scheduled and no surprise, it was not enough. So there’s no decision yet on the 2024 budget although we did get some answers. The Police budget will be as submitted – 6.3%; there were few useful results from the budget survey with few respondents and no unexpected results.  Mayor Cleveland pushed the idea that staff are the experts so their recommendations should be accepted or we should be ready to accept a reduction in services. Unfortunately Lucas is having a hard time getting a prioritized list of which services might be reduced or eliminated.  It’s not clear Lucas wants to… Read complete articleFirst Day of 2024 Budget Review

Stormwater Fee not Fair for Some Taxpayers

A year ago, Council agreed to change the method used to collect the tax required to operate Cobourg’s Stormwater system.  Instead of it being included in the regular tax bill, it would be added to the Hydro/water bill issued by LUSI.  Further, the tax would now be called a “charge” and would vary depending on a formula intended to correspond to usage – except that the formula has a major flaw. The thought was that stormwater run-off would depend on the type of property and its area but it did not consider properties that made no usage of stormwater services such as acreages.  As a result, some properties have been billed charges that are simply not appropriate.  To make the… Read complete articleStormwater Fee not Fair for Some Taxpayers