YMCA Pool – Part 2

In addition to the information provided in the agenda for the Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting tonight, more info was made available at the actual meeting.  Some of it was a surprise to Councillors and caused quite a discussion – so I am providing an unusual follow up to yesterday’s post.  Leslie Murray led the YMCA delegation but Mark Galonski from the YMCA board was helping.  As noted in the addendum to yesterday’s article, the Y is not planning to merge with the CCC since the joint YMCA/ Town committee decided against that.  In their presentation Leslie and Mark said that they wanted Town support in the form of $500,000 spread over 5 years starting in 2021 – but Councillors were not warned of this in the Agenda – it came as a surprise.

Leslie Murray and Mark Galonski
Leslie Murray and Mark Galonski

Other details were provided too:

  • The Aquatic Centre would be a new building – not an extension or upgrade of the existing 40 year old building;
  • There would be two pools plus other features;
  • The cost is estimated at $30M – up from the previous $25M estimate at the CCC.
  • Since the grant being applied for only provides 73% of the funds, the balance must be raised – but that does not mean the town must provide it.  The YMCA expects to raise the remaining $8M from the community (fund-raising) and debt.  In the case of the other applications for grants, the balance was to be funded by the Town thus showing commitment to the project.

When it came to “Delegation Actions”, Emily moved that the Town agree with the YMCA’s request – that is, 1) provide a letter of recommendation and 2) agree to the funding of $500K.

Councillor Nicole Beatty moved that this motion be divided and part one passed with little discussion.  But few were sold on the idea of committing to the $500K.

  • Mayor John Henderson was concerned with the impact on the budget and with treating all those asking for money equally – e.g. Ed‘s House, NHH and others.  He pointed out that the request for $500K was added at the last minute.  He also later said that the application may jeopardize the Town’s other applications;  he suggested possibly providing “in kind” support.
  • Councillor Emily Chorley said that she understood that a financial commitment was needed to show that the Town supported the application and suggested possibly a smaller amount.
  • Councillor Adam Bureau said that asking for a decision in 5 minutes allowed too little time.
  • Councillor Brian Darling said that the request for $500K was added at the last minute and agreed that too little time was allowed for a decision. He suggested waiting until the decision on the grant award was known – expected in the Spring of 2020.
  • Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin said that to have a chance of getting the grant, the Town needed to show support – that is, to “have skin in the game”.   But she was not optimistic that the application would succeed.
  • Councillor Aaron Burchat said that applications are much stronger if there are municipal dollars included.  He suggested promising financial support without specifying the amount.  He said that since the YMCA is used by people outside Cobourg, other municipalities should also support it.
  • Councillor Nicole Beatty agreed with Henderson and Darling and said more time was needed and that the amount should be discussed in budget deliberations.

When the vote was called, Emily’s motion failed 3 – 4 with only Emily, Aaron and Suzanne in favour.

Although the Town will supply the requested letter of recommendation, based on comments and how competitive the process is, I’m not confident that the request for a grant will be approved.

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Rational

The Y asking for support from the Town of Cobourg taxpayers is not unreasonable, and $500K in my view is not excessive. Don’t overlook the contribution the Y makes to Coboug through the services it provides (Health & Fitness, Licensed Child Care, EarlyON Centre, Aquatics, Day Camp) being the largest service provider of any Y in Northumberland County. Also, consider the employment provided to residents of Cobourg and taxes paid to the town, etc. The Y first opened in 1870 and has been a contributor to the community since. This is a two way street – the Y is good for Cobourg and its residents/families and “Town Leadership” has a responsibility to acknowledge this.

Canuck Patriot

How was the current YMCA building and pool paid for? Did Cobourg taxpayers help fund it through tax dollars?

This is one instance where Council needs to say no to the funding request. It also needs to seriously review and assess funding for CIP, the AGN, the Dressler House and other organizations that perpetually look to taxpayers for handouts.

There are far too many core municipal services and infrastructure priorities that our precious tax dollars should go towards.

Cobourg Person

It’s difficult to have a proper, informed debate on public spending when all those costs are buried in the back of the book. The conversations are too often focused on how much citizens are paying in taxes and not enough on what they are buying with those tax dollars.

As part of the 2020 budget it would be beneficial to see a one page of summary of how tax dollars are spent. That is, tax revenue is $1,000 and is allocated as follows:

$500 – operating costs
$300 – capital costs
$200 – other costs (ex: CCC, AGN, etc)

Each allocation can be detailed further: capital costs by project and other costs summarized by organization. At least there would be an account for tax dollars that are utilized to fund various activities in Cobourg.

Ken Strauss

Agreed, Cobourg Person. Even better than showing the breakout of $1000 would be to show the dollars/household (according to the 2016 census there are 8475 private households in Cobourg) that each item adds to the budget. It is impossible for most of us to relate to large amounts such as the $1.2M annual cost of the CCC. However, everyone can easily understand “the CCC costs $141 per household”. Or “the police costs $734 per household”. Or “public transit is subsidized by $77 per household”.

Rae

What “core services” outweigh the health of our citizens especially our children”

Mrs. Anonymous

A question: how busy and close to capacity is the Newly renovated pool jack Burger pool in Port Hope?

cornbread

Two more empire builders in Cobourg who want taxpayer subsidies for their careers. Just when does it end in this small town?

sandpiper

OH OH !
I guess the CCC will be in the Tax payers RED line for ever

I am happy to see the YMCA stand their ground and maintain their independence
for many reasons good move !

cornbread

And perhaps we should call out the local politicians who pushed through the CCC and caused this annual $1 million plus cost to Cobourg taxpayers and not let it happen again.

abby

Should have included a pool when it was first built!

Canuck Patriot

That would have put federal, provincial and municipal taxpayers even deeper in debt.

The CCC is already a white elephant. Time to reel in its increasing annual deficit. How about charging out-of-towners more realistic user fees? Cobourg taxpayers should not be subsidizing residents of neighbouring municipalities.

Loulou

Since we can’t enjoy the beach on week ends, the Y &CC
should be more appealing!

Mark

I bet you would be happy if they build a wall around Cobourg ,got to keep those outsiders out of Cobourg 🙄

Canuck Patriot

My objection is that they pay well below the actual cost per service and that Cobourg taxpayers are on the hook for the subsidy being provided.

And no I do not support your suggestion of a wall. I find your remark offensive as it was not what I was arguing.