As announced in the Council meeting on Monday, there will a significant number of opportunities for taxpayers to observe the Town’s process for setting its 2019 budget (see link below) but there is only one where feedback is allowed and that has already happened at the Public Meeting held for that purpose. It was held at 6:00 pm after the Council Meeting on Monday. As expected, there were requests to minimize tax increases or even reduce them but one request was especially unusual: Edgar Carman of Trinity Housing asked the Town to subsidise Low Cost Housing and the amount was not small. This was a major issue in the recent election campaign so perhaps Edgar was hoping the Council would deliver on the rhetoric.
Because of the detail provided, this is the first of a two part report.
As reported earlier, Edgar Carman also requested money for the Highland Games; at the public budget meeting, that request was deferred to the discussion on grants that will occur on March 7.
In his role as President of Trinity Housing Corporation, Edgar was asking for a grant of $233,826, a loan of up to $400,000 and a possible guarantee of a loan from CMHC of up to $350,000. The plan is to spend a total of $6.5M on expansion of Trinity’s existing housing units at 25 James Street East. There would be 13 low-rental units and 14 units at market rents. Most of the financing comes from other sources but some of this financing “requires that another level of government makes a financial contribution”. Since subsidized housing is a County responsibility, Edgar was asked if he had asked for such a contribution from the County and he replied that they told him that they have no cash for this. Trinity Church is to be commended for their initiative but it remains to be seen if the Town will commit taxpayer money to this.
Elizabeth Healey made a separate presentation about the need for affordable housing. She spoke of the difficulty of finding apartments at affordable rents and said it looked to her like price fixing. Her final statement was:
I take my responsibility of voting very seriously and my selection of candidates. I look forward to great things from you as all but one stated affordable housing is a strong priority to them in their election platforms.
Ted Williams made a presentation that asked that the budget be reduced by 2% – he believed that would now be possible because the Northam Industrial Park mortgage has now been paid off. In particular, he thought that there was room for reductions in the Parks and Recreation Budget. When asked if he would accept a reduction in services, he said that this may not be necessary.
Warren McCarthy gave a detailed written report focused on Protection Services which covers Police and Fire Departments and consumes 38.6% of the total operating budget. His report consisted of a series of questions that generally asked why do we pay more for Policing in Ontario and Cobourg than elsewhere and why has the use of Special Constables and Volunteers not reduced the number of Sworn Constables. He also asked why not consider OPP as an alternative? John Henderson said that he should be addressing these questions to the Police Services Board since they would be able to provide answers.
Bryan Lambert made a comprehensive presentation on the whole budget process, he asked some pointed questions – more on that in Part 2 of this report.
Miriam Mutton said that the signage to Venture 13 needed improvement.
- More from January 14 Council Meeting – 15 Jan 2019
- Highland Games wants Town’s money – 13 Jan 2019
- Download Trinity Housing Presentation (hosted on Civic Web)
- Proposal from Trinity Housing for Cobourg Funding (hosted on Civic Web)
- Warren McCarthy Submission (hosted on Civic Web)