Consultant for User Fee Study Approved

At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on August 15, Council voted to award a contract to Watson & Associates for a Comprehensive User Fee Study for a total cost of $91,288.90.  This despite it being more than the budget allocation of $35,000 and that a second bid closer to the budget was also received.  Cobourg News Blog reported on this under the heading “Does Cobourg Use Too Many Consultants” (see Resources below).  But because Council is now in a “Lame Duck period”, the additional amount of over $50K is not allowed so the matter came back to Council.  The contract was re-negotiated to a lesser amount ($83,500) by assigning some of the work to Staff so the amount… Read complete articleConsultant for User Fee Study Approved

Candidates for Deputy Mayor

The Deputy Mayor in Cobourg is given the responsibility of managing the Town’s budget so is one of the more important positions.  For this election, there are two candidates: Suzanne Séguin for re-election and Councillor Nicole Beatty.  Based on their published campaigns (on their web sites), they have quite different ideas of what Council should be focused on. Nicole has an emphasis on making the Town a good place to live with thriving arts and culture, recreation and heritage and ensuring that everyone has access to meaningful opportunities, services, and experiences.  Suzanne’s emphasis is on minimizing taxes while providing all the services that people need – as distinct from want.  Both want to hear from voters now but Suzanne also… Read complete articleCandidates for Deputy Mayor

Adam and Aaron Campaigning for re-election

Councillors Adam Bureau and Aaron Burchat have now posted their campaign material on new web sites.   Of the 14 candidates who filed nomination papers, only seven have provided voters with detailed information. Mayor Henderson was first with information, and so far Nicole Beatty, Michael Sprayson, Miriam Mutton and now Adam and Aaron have followed with comprehensive web sites. Perhaps the other candidates are waiting for the all-candidates session organized by the Chamber of Commerce on 29 September – after all, voting doesn’t start until October 14.  Both Adam and Aaron are on the current Council so if you have been following Council news, you will already have some idea of what they think and do. But let me summarize what… Read complete articleAdam and Aaron Campaigning for re-election

Improving Efficiency for Cobourg’s Planning

In November 2020, the KPMG Service Delivery Review Report recommended (amongst other things) that Site Plan Approvals be delegated to Staff instead of coming to Council every time. This would speed up development and improve operational efficiency.  At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on 6 September, Council will be asked to approve this change.  The move is also prompted by Provincial bill the More Homes for Everyone Act, Bill 109 which requires this change!  Development agreements would still come to Council so it’s not a bypass of Council approval of developments, it’s just a delegation of technical planning issues which Councillors are generally not experts in. Another change being requested is that Site Plan applicants should be required… Read complete articleImproving Efficiency for Cobourg’s Planning

One New and One Not So New Candidate

Candidates who have filed to run for Council include Michael Sprayson – who is new to Council – and Miriam Mutton who was previously elected. Both hit the ground running and have already published their campaigns using web sites and both have strong messages. Both give details about themselves as people and details of their platform and both make a point of saying that they want citizen input – they want to listen. You may want to vote for both of them (you will be voting for five) but let me describe how they come across based on what they say on their web site. That’s looking past the facts of what they say and instead reporting on my impression… Read complete articleOne New and One Not So New Candidate

Northumberland Hills Hospital Fun Evening

Who said NHH Staff and Volunteers couldn’t have fun? No-one! On Thursday evening, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the grassed area East of the NHH Parking lot, staff that were not working and NHH Volunteers and their families let their hair down with the first annual “NHH’s got Talent” variety show.  The MC was Doctor Andrew Stratford and apart from a big thank you by CEO Susan Walsh, there were no speeches. It was also notable for the absence of politicians.  Several Doctors strummed guitars and sang, with one of them demonstrating that he could be a professional Opera singer.  Others danced and one group demonstrated Tae Kwon Do – truly a variety show. I lost count but… Read complete articleNorthumberland Hills Hospital Fun Evening

By-Law Statistics

One of the new managers hired this year is Kevin Feagan – he is Manager By-Law Enforcement and Licensing.  On Monday, he provided a list of complaints to Councillor Aaron Burchat which Aaron read out at the Regular Council meeting as part of his Coordinator report. Aaron and other Councillors are taking literally that this part of the Council meeting should be about their Coordinator role but Mayor Henderson seems to have forgotten this and uses the time to mostly talk about what he has been doing – for the record, his Coordinator role is Economic Development (see Resources below for more on this).  But Kevin’s numbers are interesting – although it’s strange that Aaron omitted reading out the item… Read complete articleBy-Law Statistics

Some Surprises in Council Nominations

Nominations closed Friday at 2:00 pm and there were some surprises.  Councillor Emily Chorley will not be running again; Nicole Beatty and Suzanne Séguin will be competing for the Deputy Mayor position so one of them will not be on Council; and there will be competition for the Mayor’s position so he won’t be acclaimed this time. There are ten candidates competing for five spots on Council – including current councillors Adam Bureau, Aaron Burchat and Brian Darling. So far, only Mayor Henderson and Michael Sprayson have published any campaign material but then there are 56 days until the first day you can vote – October 14.  The official voting date is October 24 but advance voting is possible earlier…. Read complete articleSome Surprises in Council Nominations

Accessible Washroom in Victoria Hall

At Monday’s Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee recommended that the Accessible Washroom in Victoria Hall be left open.  Currently, it is locked but a key is available upon request.  It seems the EDI committee felt that it was asking a lot of potential users to go ask for the key.  Brent Larmer explained that it was locked to minimize an abuse of it – there have been cases where someone would lock themselves in and stay for an excessive amount of time thereby denying access to others.  Since it has been locked, usage has actually increased. However, despite this, Councillor Beatty moved that the EDI Committee’s recommendation be followed and that the… Read complete articleAccessible Washroom in Victoria Hall

Does Cobourg Use Too Many Consultants?

In 2020 Council hired a consultant to review “Service Delivery” and shortly after (in 2021) also used a consultant to review the Town’s organization. But at Monday’s Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting, the Agenda included approval of a consultant (Watson and Associates) for $91K to review user fees as recommended in the Service Delivery review. Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin thought that this knowledge was available from Staff and that the cost was excessive so she moved that the work be done by Staff instead. The rationale for the consultant was that there were not enough Staff resources or expertise and that the report would provide a justification for charges. In addition “it is also expected that the methodology developed… Read complete articleDoes Cobourg Use Too Many Consultants?

Council Policy on Body Worn Cameras

Over the past year, Cobourg Police have implemented a program for Police Officers to wear Body Worn Cameras (BWCs).  The Town separately employs By-Law enforcement officers and the Police agreed to provide 3 BWCs to the town for use by these officers.  The cost to the Town will be $3,907 per year.  These cameras are intended to protect both the Public and Officers when there is public interaction and they are not turned on 100% of the time.  In fact officers must advise the public when they are operating.  The Police have a web page that explains Police usage and at the next Committee of the Whole Meeting on 15 August, Council will be asked to approve a comprehensive 11… Read complete articleCouncil Policy on Body Worn Cameras