Cobourg Council is continuing with its review of budget submissions by its various departments. There’s a lot of detail but buried in the minutiae are some projects that many citizens want to know about. For example, CCC costs, Marina profit, the subsidy for transit, profit from parking, Marina profit, campground profits and the estimated cost to fix the East Pier. In addition, we get an insight to how departments are managed and some minor snippets of information that would not otherwise yet be public. So before you say “boring”, you might find this report has lots of stuff you want to know. The departments covered in this report are the Works Department, managed by Director Laurie Wills and the Parks, Culture and Tourism Departments – grouped under “Community Services” and managed by Director Dean Hustwick.
Note that in budget discussions, four numbers were provided: 2017 actual, 2018 budget, 2018 actual and 2019 proposed budget. In the interest of simplicity, unless otherwise specified, 2019 numbers are shown and rounded to the nearest thousand dollars.
One change in presentation from previous years is that management salaries and costs are allocated to the sub-departments in accordance with how much time they spend on them. This is helpful in knowing the true cost of activities. This report does not distinguish between operating and capital expenses although the budget keeps them quite separate.
Only highlights are listed – sorry. See Links below to access links to the full budget submissions.
Major items managed: Roads, Sewers, Snow clearing, Transit, Parking.
Transit costs the Town $1M; of that, $365K is recovered although only $157K is from fares, most of the rest is from a provincial grant. The net cost of transit to the town in 2019 will be $717K.
Parking Enforcement: $615K revenue from fees and fines and a cost of $480K for a net profit of $135K
Snow Clearing: $181K – assumes an average winter.
Road Repairs: $93K – fixing potholes etc
Street Lamps: Street lights are beginning to fail and there are no more induction lamp replacements available. The Town will be switching to LED lamps which requires all fixtures to be replaced as well as lamps. These will be changed as existing lamps fail. Cost in 2019: $330K
Roads, water and sewers – this department obviously does a lot of work on these but in the interest of keeping this report reasonably short (believe it or not), these items are not covered here.
Parks and Recreation Department
Miscellaneous Revenue. Apart from the CCC, Marina etc there is $141K in revenue: $22K from the Beach Canteen, $100K for share of parking revenue, $12K in user fees (e.g. pavilion), $5K from the DBIA for flower baskets and $2K from beach rentals.
Parks Admin expenditure is $1.6M – mostly people costs
Parks Maintenance $240K – includes refurbishing bandshell ($15K) and some repairs of children’s waterpark ($6K)
Lifeguards $215K for lifeguards and $25K for two more lifeguard chairs.
Marina Revenue $760K – includes transient fees $145K, seasonal fees $280K, fuel sales $190K, storage $35K, $30K lift-in/out fees. $40K share of parking fees.
Marina Expenses $760K – includes $256K payroll, $152K gasoline, lift-in/out $24K, TFR to reserves (Profit) $99K.
Travel Lift and more – Paul Gauthier, Marina Manager, pointed to the Waterfront master Plan and asked for $45K to do engineering studies on “pedestrian walkway, beach and headland, naturalization, pathway fingers, ecology garden pathway and lift in/out facilities” with a forecast implementation in 2020 for $519K. Suzanne Séguin said that since these items had not yet been approved by Council, as a minimum, each item must be shown separately so there can be a debate at the budget approval meeting on March 14. Paul said that given the transition of work from the Yacht club to the Town, without a boat lift there would be no boat storage and marina users would eventually go elsewhere. It’s not clear why the existing use of a crane etc cannot be continued. (More here in section Lift-in/Lift Out of Marina Boats)
Dredging – Revenue will be $147K thanks in part to a contract with Prince Edward County for $97K. Expenses will be $158K for a net cost to the Town of $11K. There is currently $20K in reserves for eventual replacement of the dredger.
Campground – Revenue $301K – 80% from transient trailers with Expenses of $193K for a net profit to the Town of $108K
Harbour – with the Marina, Campground and Dredger separated out, the Harbour costs the Town $192K. Note that Marina and Campground “profits” add up to slightly more than this number.
East Pier the budget request was for $800k with the statement: “The engineering condition assessment provided several options. This option is to design and implement structural repairs to accommodate limited light vehicle access and parking along with limited pathways, railings, turf and trees.” John Henderson said that before any decision was made, he wanted to see the consultant’s report. Council have not yet seen this (nor has the public).
Concert Hall – Revenue is $169K and expenses $360K – Dean Hustwick said he was working on improving this.
Cobourg Community Centre The revenue budget for 2019 is expected to be $1.34M with expenditures $2.36M for a net cost of $1.02M. But Deputy Director Teresa Behan emphasized that the 2018 budget was for a slightly higher net cost yet the actual net cost was $822K ($200K savings) so perhaps the same feat can be performed in 2019. Director Hustwick repeated a statement he made in 2016 that “typical public agencies subsidize their operations by 71%” but Cobourg’s number is 43%.
Arenas – although money was asked for repairs to the other two older arenas, John Henderson asked for a full review of them before doing piecemeal repairs – especially the Memorial arena.
The budget includes $114K for Advertising and Promotions. Dean Hustwick said that this included an upgrade for the Tourism web site, a Sports and Recreation Leisure Playbook and work on Social media.
Suzanne was concerned about costs and said that we “need to bring some creative work in house”.
There was a suggestion to locate the Concert Hall Box Office in the Lobby of Victoria Hall. It would also function as a Visitor information centre. The design would be heritage style and located on the west side. Cost would be $50K. John Henderson wanted a review of options before deciding.
There is a lot more detail available but it will all come up for final review at the Budget approval meeting on March 14 scheduled for 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin, who is responsible for the Town’s budget preparation, has made it known that preparation for the 2020 budget will start much earlier with initial meetings in September. There will then be a reasonable chance that budgets would be approved before any spending starts on January 1st.
- Works Department budget meeting agenda with links to budget submissions
- Community Services budget meeting agenda with links to budget submissions
- Review of Cobourg’s Recreation Facilities by Dean Hustwick – 22 October 2016