Final Draft Budgets approved 5-2

Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin chaired the two-day Budget review Council meetings and hoped to reduce the levy increase impact of 6.7% to 5.3% per Council’s target. But by 4:00 pm on the second day, she expressed her frustration that Councillors kept adding amounts that cancelled any reductions. She said “we need to do better”; her comments seemed to blame councillors and Mayor Henderson then told her to “Watch your comments”! He said that they were all trying to do the right thing. When the two days’ work was complete, the budget increase was 6.3% and with a growth amount of 2.2%, the tax levy increase would be 4.1%. In a recorded vote, Suzanne and Councillor Chorley voted against approving the… Read complete articleFinal Draft Budgets approved 5-2

Council Decides on Community Grants for 2022

Today, Council started their line-by-line review of the 2022 budget but one relatively small item gets a lot of attention.  The maximum for Community Grants for 2022 was somewhat arbitrarily set at a total of $30k but applications totaled $92K so a lot of pruning was needed.  Before the meeting, Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin and Councillor Adam Bureau worked together to do the pruning and their recommendations totaled $29,544. Many of the “grants” were in fact “in kind” – that is, no cash would be changing hands but instead fees normally charged by the Town would be waived.  The two main examples were fees to rent the Concert Hall and parking fees around Victoria Park, primarily for members of the… Read complete articleCouncil Decides on Community Grants for 2022

Councillors’ Coordinator Reports

Regular Council meetings are mostly just giving final approval to motions made at the Committee of the Whole meetings a week earlier but they also include “Coordinator reports”.  The way Cobourg Council is currently organized, each Councillor is assigned a department to focus on and they “report” at each regular Council meeting.  These are mostly about stuff we already know about or don’t care about (sorry) but sometimes they include snippets that are interesting.  Last night’s reports included a number of items worth reporting – so below are highlights (my choices – access to full report via video in link below). Note that one of the recommendations of the recent organization review is that the Coordinator system be reviewed and… Read complete articleCouncillors’ Coordinator Reports

Why not Sell the Trailer Park

At the next regular Council meeting on 22 November, Council will receive a letter from Ron Smith who is obviously a new resident in Cobourg.  His residence is at the new Legion Condo building on Orr street and he makes a proposal that shows he is not aware of the previous heated controversy on the subject.  His 7 page letter also includes concerns that Council might spend a large amount of taxpayer money on a development at Brookside, a suggestion to use the Memorial Arena as an Arts and Culture centre and some unhappiness at the thought that the Town must pay for maintenance of the New Amherst Clock.  But his final proposal is the zinger – he wants the… Read complete articleWhy not Sell the Trailer Park

Report on Waterfront Operations

Teresa Behan, Deputy Director of Community Services, submitted a report on Monday to the CoW meeting of Council that gave an overview of the operational performance of the four waterfront  “business” units: the Marina, the Campground, the Marie Dressler Dredger and the Harbour.  The intent was “to enhance transparency for upcoming budget deliberations”.  The report was for 2021 YTD and given their seasonal nature, this covers most of the year’s activity.  Teresa notes that the Marina and Campground are funded by user fees (breakeven with any profit as a dividend to the Town), the dredger is funded by its users which includes the Harbour and external contracts and the Harbour is funded by the tax levy. I think that’s the… Read complete articleReport on Waterfront Operations

Cobourg to Increase Stormwater Charge

Currently, Cobourg property owners are charged for water supply and a related sewer charge but there is no separate charge for stormwater drains – instead it’s paid for by property taxes.  But at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Consultant Peter Simcisko from Watson and Associates presented preliminary findings on a study of the status of stormwater management in Cobourg.  It seems that the Town has not been spending enough and some required infrastructure needs work.  Peter said that the Town is currently spending $410K per year but should be spending $1.59M.  He suggested that although this could be covered by an increase in the tax levy, there are other options such as charging property owners a fee based on… Read complete articleCobourg to Increase Stormwater Charge

Expanded Museum in Dressler House

Friday saw the grand opening of the new/expanded Museum in Dressler House – it’s now called the Canadian Women in Film Museum and as well as Marie Dressler, features early Canadian women movie stars Mary Pickford and Norma Shearer.  It was conducted on Zoom and featured speeches by Minister David Piccini, Mayor John Henderson, MP Philip Lawrence, Cara Krmpotich Associate Professor of Museum Studies at U of T, Cari Beauchamp of the Mary Pickford Foundation and Darin Barnes collector and Curator for Norma Shearer.  In the audience were other supporters and people like Michelle Wright (more below) who were involved with project.  The Design of the Museum, was done by students of Museum Studies at the University of Toronto –… Read complete articleExpanded Museum in Dressler House

Capital Budget Requests for 2022

In 2021, the Capital budget was $8.4M and the proposed Capital budget for 2022 is $15.2M.  The increase is mostly because of heavy expenditure on repairing the waterfront but a large number of smaller projects are also proposed.  Many of the smaller projects are of interest but others are routine and expected so not included in my list below.  A full list would have 62 projects.  Financing is provided by multiple sources: direct from the tax levy ($185K), reserves ($3.9M), grants ($1.9M), debentures ($8.2M) and other (the balance).  Debentures add to long term debt –  for 2022, the “long term debt charge” is $350K compared to $650K in 2021.  So although a lot of money is being spent on Capital… Read complete articleCapital Budget Requests for 2022

Staff Submissions for 2022 Operating Budget

Council has started their review of requests by staff for the 2022 budget. The process started with submissions on Tuesday November 9 and continued on Wednesday November 10. CAO Tracey Vaughan kicked it off with a description of changes in the process: instead of each department formatting their own, all followed the same format. The budget was first described with a high level overview then each new hire and all major expenditure were justified with standard format sheets. Decisions will be made on November 25 and 26 but there are some things to know from these initial submissions. Most of the changes recommended by the Organization review are included in the budget request (more below) and the process is more oriented to… Read complete articleStaff Submissions for 2022 Operating Budget

Residents Request Grants for 2022

The main item on the Agenda for Monday’s Special Council meeting was for citizens to convince Council that their request for a Community grant should be approved.  When  applications closed on October 31, 26 requests for a community Grant had been received – totalling $91,926.  Last year, 11 organizations received a total of $28,681 and Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin indicated that she expected that less than $30K should be approved this time.  All organizations were invited to present their case to Council but only 14 did so – the total of those presenting came to $42,076.  The full list is provided below.  In 2020, a total of $49,575 was approved for 26 organizations.  At the same meeting, Council also accepted input… Read complete articleResidents Request Grants for 2022