Can the Cost of Cobourg’s Services be reduced?

Oscar Poloni of consultant KPMG presented to Council tonight the first report of results for the “Municipal Service Delivery Review”. The review was initiated to “to improve the understanding of the services currently provided by the Town and provide better information that will allow the community, Council and staff to make informed strategic choices regarding those services.”  That is, it attempts to answer the question “Can the Town be more efficient and/or reduce costs to Cobourg’s taxpayers?”  Initial results suggest that the only real way to do this is by reducing services and asks Council for direction about possibly reducing recreation and tourism and possibly other services.  But along the way, a survey with 307 respondents found out what residents think about things like the CCC, the Campground and Tourism.

Oscar Poloni
Oscar Poloni

An initial report on this review was earlier presented to Council on 28 August 2020 – go here.  

That article describes where Cobourg spends its operational money and includes citizen views of whether too little or too much is spent on each service.  The two major observations are that respondents think that (relatively speaking) too much is spent on the campground and too little on seniors’ services.  The graphics in that earlier report are repeated in the latest report – see links below.

Looking at today’s report, the last two graphics seem to be of most interest and are included below.

Service Level How Important Initially, the consultant identified other municipalities that are directly comparable based on size but these don’t have a strategy to attract tourists like Cobourg has. Additional municipalities were therefore added to the study which have a focus on Tourism, particularly waterfront Tourism.  The initial comparison towns (tier 1) were Brighton, Port Hope, Essex, Huntsville, Owen Sound, Strathroy-Caradoc, Tecumseh,

Tillsonburg and the additional towns added (tier 2) were Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Midland and Kenora since these also have a tourism strategy.

The KPMG report includes graphics showing how taxes are spent and how they are staffed (again, see report in link below).

Compared to tier one, Cobourg spends less on things like corporate services (e.g. finance) but overspends on Community Services.  However, this goes with Cobourg’s strategy to promote Tourism and the fact that citizens value things like the Community Centre and Parks.  But if savings of hundreds of thousands are wanted – or about $300 in taxes per typical household – then these kinds of services would need to be reduced.  Oscar emphasized that significantly reducing costs would mean significant reductions in services most used and what citizens consider most important.

But what is wanted out of the report are suggestions as to where efficiencies can be found and that’s what the final tables provide.  These are called “Opportunities for Consideration” – that is, things to be considered.  These can be grouped into 5 categories.

Opportunities for Consideration

Service Level Reductions

• Recreational and cultural programming
• Transit

Alternate Service Delivery

• Animal control
• Business attraction (economic development)

User Fee Increases

• Planning
• Marina
• Stormwater management
• Parking
• Changes to user fee by-law wording

Operating Efficiencies

• Reduce paper usage and manual processes
• Enhance customer access
• Streamline financial processes
• Delegate approval to staff as appropriate
• Centralize procurement
• Integrate systems

Enhanced Performance Management

• Implement key performance indicators in order to enhance monitoring of Town performance
• Develop an enterprise risk management strategy

 

Oscar pointed out that although Council could decide to spend less on the Marina and Campground, it would not save any taxes since these are self-funded.

Transit is included in the first category above and Oscar suggested that based on comparisons with other municipalities, Transit costs could be reduced without a reduction in the service level and a study on this might be a good idea.

The final 140+ page report goes to Council at their Committee of the Whole meeting on November 16 and should be on the Agenda on eSCRIBE 10 days before that date.

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Liz Taylor
2 November 2020 7:11 pm

Charging people to walk on the beach – is that what is being discussed? Perhaps we could charge people to walk on the sidewalks as well. Perhaps also we will have to interview all visitors to see if they bought anything in Cobourg or dined on King Street first – then by mathematical calculation we could then add and subtract to come up with an individual fee. I think not.

ben burd
30 October 2020 9:43 am

I would like to know from all of the people on this site who are advocating for a ‘pay as you go” beach if they actually use the beach?

And exactly how much revenue will be earned in contrast to the xenophobic impression that the rest of Ontario will gain from this move, inevitably leading to a black mark to the Town that they obviously cherish!

Dubious
Reply to  ben burd
30 October 2020 12:11 pm

Ben, I much prefer a “black mark” from free loaders to a high stupidity rating for paying for the play of others. The suggestion has consistently been to retain free access for residents and to charge only visitors so why does my beach usage matter?

Rob
Reply to  Dubious
30 October 2020 1:49 pm

Dubious – increase the parking fees and provide locals with parking passes for the peak of the summer season … this will net tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars the hoards soooo desperately want. And maybe drive away several hundred of the undesirables that the hoards so obviously loath. I’d like to understand better the additional expense that the free loader beachgoer adds to the Town budget. Without the freeloader, the town must still groom the beach throughout the day and evening, remove garbage and recycle, provide adequate lifeguards, ensure bylaw enforcement is on patrol, perform water quality checks, police our town, street sweep and sidewalk clean…

Conor
Reply to  Rob
31 October 2020 3:50 pm

Undesirables? I think the undesirables are the big city (Toronto) crowd that have cashed in their bingo chips (houses) and moved to Cobourg to complain that the beach is free as it should be. The want to tax the living crap out of everything so their Cobourg taxes remain low.

Deborah OConnor
Reply to  Conor
31 October 2020 7:31 pm

Well said, Conor. I wish we had a bylaw prohibiting newcomers from saying a damn thing or writing it for 2 years, and only after they pass an exam about the history of both the town and County. Why do they feel entitled to say anything when they know nothing and don’t care one bit about us or our area? Such arrogance, where are our stockades when we need them?

SW Buyer
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
31 October 2020 8:07 pm

And what prohibition would you put on people who don’t live in Cobourg but feel free to comment and give advise on our affairs?

I believe Conor indicated in a prior comment that he lives in Whitby.
Perhaps you missed that Deb.

Last edited 25 days ago by SW Buyer
Deborah OConnor
Reply to  SW Buyer
31 October 2020 10:00 pm

I need to re-think my comment, since Conor has contributed a useful idea to this thread. But I am not so anal as to keep track of who comes from where. Why are you compelled to do that?

Dubious
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
31 October 2020 10:40 pm

Why are you compelled to denigrate anyone not born in Cobourg? Perhaps a different meaning of anal?

Frenchy
Reply to  Dubious
31 October 2020 10:45 pm

Her and Wally.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
1 November 2020 5:03 pm

The greatest mentors during my formative years living in Cobourg were not born in Cobourg. Interesting that a handful of petulant pseudonyms go ape whenever they hear the phrase, ‘born in Cobourg’ or ‘Cobourg born’. I am more than content that I was born and raised in Cobourg, and no petty pseudonym will discomfort me from making that declaration. I am proud that Cobourg is a desired destination for many who wish to set down roots here. even if it includes a small smattering of bigoted pseudonyms.

Frenchy
Reply to  Frenchy
1 November 2020 5:04 pm

and now it seems, Ben.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
2 November 2020 10:37 am

Oh Frenchy, get used to the fact that not all Cobourg born residents worship at the feet of migrant ingrates and pseudonyms.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
2 November 2020 10:43 am

And don’t forget Conor; “Undesirables? I think the undesirables are the big city (Toronto) crowd that have cashed in their bingo chips (houses) and moved to Cobourg to complain that the beach is free as it should be. The want to tax the living crap out of everything so their Cobourg taxes remain low.”

ben burd
Reply to  SW Buyer
1 November 2020 8:39 am

He may live in Whitby now but I bet he lived in Cobourg longer than most of the commenters on this page!

Dubious
Reply to  ben burd
1 November 2020 10:14 am

If he lives in Whitby he doesn’t pay taxes in Cobourg. His opinions are irrelevant regardless of where he grew up.

ben burd
Reply to  Dubious
1 November 2020 11:51 am

Well John will be pleased to hear that only Cobourg commenters are welcome here. But you have just demonstrated my fear of xenophobes Cobourg. BTW how long have you been paying taxes in Cobourg?

Conor
Reply to  Dubious
1 November 2020 11:59 am

Why are my opinions irrelevant? It’s still a free country I think so am I not allowed to voice my opinions?

Dubious
Reply to  Conor
1 November 2020 2:43 pm

Anyone can voice an opinion but criticism of another town’s taxes is irrelevant and should be ignored.

Ben, the question should be “Do I pay taxes?” rather than “For how long have I paid?” Yes, I pay!

ben burd
Reply to  Dubious
1 November 2020 3:21 pm

No no, we should know just how long you have paid taxes in Cobourg, it sets the context. It also reminds me of many conversations I have had with many newcomers to Town.

“How long have you lived in Cobourg?”
“Just moved here.”
“Do you like it?”
“Yes but don’t like the taxes!”
“Didn’t the real estate tell you about them?”
“Yes but didn’t realise it until I had to pay!”

I’ll ask you Dubious (if that’s a good choice of pseudonym) did you do your due diligence before moving here, if you did then you accepted the taxation when you moved in – put up with it – you could have moved elswhere!

Last edited 24 days ago by Ben
Dubious
Reply to  ben burd
1 November 2020 3:40 pm

I came to Cobourg about twelve years ago and my taxes have more than doubled since moving. Water rates have doubled. Town services such as free downtown parking are fewer than when I moved. In that time I have updated the house interior but have made no additions or other changes that affect the assessment.

Are you happy with Cobourg’s taxes?

Leweez
Reply to  Dubious
1 November 2020 4:09 pm

Water rates will go up even more, now that you have to pay for all the new water meters

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
1 November 2020 5:07 pm

You should run for Council and attempt to reduce taxes.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben burd
1 November 2020 5:06 pm

Dubious can still move elsewhere where living is easier.

Deborah OConnor
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 November 2020 2:55 am

I wish Dubious, and most of all the other newly arrived emigres, would just go somewhere else, to a place that would coddle them and welcome their endless whining about taxes.

Odd though, my taxes have hardly gone up at all in the 14 years I’ve been in this house. Paying them is no big deal.

I love my town, this Cobourg, and feel extremely grateful to be here in the same place where all my grandparents separately settled about a hundred years ago. It matters, and it matters to my son whose daughters are 4th generation Cobourgers.

Frenchy
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
2 November 2020 6:52 am

If it wasn’t for new arrivals you guys would be marrying your cousins and such. Yuk.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
2 November 2020 10:27 am

Yep, that is how Frenchy and a few other pseudonym bigots regard born Cobourgers — hill-billy deplorables.

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 November 2020 1:20 pm

You’re putting words in other peoples’ mouths. You don’t like it when that happens to you.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
2 November 2020 2:53 pm

Wow! What a witty riposte. Bland and blah blah.

Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 November 2020 8:29 pm

I was born and raised in Cobourg. Whats the defintion of a hillbilly?I asked my cousins wifes sister that knows my brothers wifes 2nd cousin and she has no idea🤔

Frenchy
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
2 November 2020 8:58 am

Speaking on behalf of the MMBC, we welcome our affiliate association the EEBC.
comment image

Last edited 24 days ago by Frenchy
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Frenchy
2 November 2020 10:27 am

All one of them.

Frenchy
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 November 2020 8:04 pm

There are actually 3 so far, but we’re growing. Well… there would be 3 but Mobay died quite awhile ago. I’m sure he would have joined if he were still alive.

MiriamM
Reply to  Frenchy
2 November 2020 2:46 pm

Thank you for the chuckle, Frenchy. The drawing behind the words looks like a downtown city, on a floating raft island, as viewed from the Cobourg sandy beach.

Frenchy
Reply to  MiriamM
2 November 2020 8:05 pm

Thank you for explaining that to Wally.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
31 October 2020 5:18 pm

I’d like to understand better the additional expense that the free loader beachgoer adds to the Town budget

Very good question Rob. There have been claims of all kinds of expense that THEY incur to the Town. And that these expenses should be paid by the outsider beach goer. However there is no delineation of those expenses that are particular to THEM. No one has a clue about the cost amount of non-residential beach users. If no one knows that, then no one knows what to charge them for use.

Informed
Reply to  Rob
3 November 2020 8:24 pm

Our closed beach may have kept Covid coming to Town this summer past from Toronto,york and Halton Hills. What cost do you put on that?

Rob
Reply to  Informed
4 November 2020 10:02 am

Trying to compare apples to oranges – “taxing” non-residents to use the beach and closing the beach to all. I’m not sure what closing the beach accomplished but it certainly seemed to create/unearth a level of divisiveness, classism and xenophobia within our (social media) community, which was disappointing. Looking forward to better times ahead as we jingle our way into the Christmas season. Let’s go Biden!

Informed
Reply to  Rob
5 November 2020 8:38 pm

Im ok with closing the beach. No one will really knows whether there was a direct correlation between local covid cases and our closed beaches. Looking at covid cases in toronto,peel amd Halton Hills ….im confident the decision to close the beach was 100 % correct. Dont really care how people feel about it because its about keeping our comminity safe. I do agree with your last couple sentences. 👍

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
2 November 2020 11:00 am

The suggestion has consistently been to retain free access for residents and to charge only visitors.”

The suggestion has consistently failed to be raised by any delegation at any Town Council.

Dubious
Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 November 2020 12:25 pm

That has largely been the position posted here. I don’t recall any delegation at town Council that mentioned charging or not charging residents. When and by whom was this presented?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
2 November 2020 12:43 pm

Not a single resident has ever approached Town Council as a delegate to propose pay for beach play for non-residents. The proposal has no support other than from a handful of malcontents on his blog. It is a nowhere proposal Dubious. It just ain’t gonna happen, not just because there is no support from the people of Cobourg, but also because no one is capable of making a cogent and compelling argument in favour of pay for play.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben burd
31 October 2020 4:57 pm

The people of Cobourg will not tolerate any kind of fencing around the beach, nor will they tolerate any obligation to show proof of residency to access the beach. I recall the baby boomer gen when we were ten, eleven, twelve years old, and every summer day the screen doors slammed and children poured down from Chapel and James Street, down College, Henry and Walton, crossing a very busy Hwy2 (pre-401) and spread out in the park and onto the beach. It was unencumbered freedom. There were park and beach bigots back in the 60s, complaining about all the filthy and smelly hippies that slept in the park. So one evening, Cobourg Sentinel Sar publisher and editor, Foster Russell, parked his car overlooking the beach. He saw a campfire with four hippies around it. After an hour he left. He returned the following morning and noted that the campfire had all been cleaned up and deposited into the trash bin. He wrote a story about the local hoity toity and their hostile attitude towards the hoi paloi, and ruffled a few local feathers. Cobourg’s beloved Deputy Reeve, Lenah Fisher, spoke out in favour of hippies sleeping in the park and… Read more »

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben burd
2 November 2020 10:55 am

There is a body of perps who want ‘pay for play’ for the beach. That is about as far as any of them can go. None have a clue about how to carry it out in any practical or logistical sense. They also have no clue about how much $$$$ the non-resident beacher costs to the Town less what the non-resident beachers spend in this Town. And none of the ‘pay for play’ perps have the parts to present such a proposal to Town Council.

Old Sailor
Reply to  ben burd
3 November 2020 4:19 pm

Ben

Cost recovery from non-residents is only one issue. They fill all the parking spots at the bottom of Division and east of the Marina building. Which means residents who want to use the beach or shop downtown or park and look at the harbour are out of luck. As well, boaters with seasonal slips have included in the slip fee a parking pass which cannot be used when beach freeloaders fill all the parking spaces. As well east west and north south residential streets with in 1-2 kilometers of the beach are filled with freeloaders getting free parking which means residents or their visitors cannot even park in their own town. If we charge a meaningful fee like $25 per family or car for beach use plus parking we should reduce the volume of non resident freeloaders and have more parking for Cobourg residents.

Sandpiper
30 October 2020 9:29 am

SO DO YOU THINK THAT THE TOWN read the latest Draper article about Covid not going away and no Vaccine until late 2021 There fore they should continue cutting back reducing no required staff and slow spending on new
projects until this shakes out and we have determined a new direction to life .

and as far as Police and emergency spending goes just wait until you see the
cost go through the roof as a result / impact of the New Drug ReHab
applying to open in the WoodLawn . The now closed Rehab as of July
had Police and Ambulances out her constantly especially in the 1 st 2 weeks
of patient intake Think about it

Bryan
Reply to  Sandpiper
31 October 2020 12:55 pm

Sandpiper: Why do you expect police/EMT spending to “go though the roof” due to the proposed Woodlawn drug rehab? What closed rehab are you referring to that had constant police/EMT calls? What type of clients does this rehab cater to? The operator of the proposed Woodlaw rehab is the Canadian Centre for Addictions (CCFA). They own/run the Dorset St centre in Port Hope. It is a very upscale place and I doubt that their clients are “street level”. Do you have information from the POHO police that this site is a trouble spot? Is there rampant crime in the area attributed to the centre’s residents? Have you contacted the Cobourg police about this issue? There appears to be a lot of missing information and jumps to confusion regarding this project. Unfortunately the information and due diligence provided to date by Town staff is somewhat lacking. Hopefully better information will come into the public domain soon and provide answers to these and other questions. Cobourg residents have the right to know about proposed businesses and the impact they will have on the community. Attend the applicant’s “open house” (sometime in the next few weeks) and the Town’s Nov 30 public meeting.… Read more »

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
31 October 2020 7:01 pm

I’m not particularly concerned if the Woodlawn caters to the same sort of clientele as the PH centre. However, once the zoning is changed what prevents the Woodlawn becoming another Victoria Inn or Transition House?

William M.
29 October 2020 12:08 pm

Some have suggested if the Town wants to seriously look at cost savings, they need to look at the policing budget. Those same persons suggest the Town should look at an OPP costing. So which communities have done it recently and can be a guide for us. Just this month the Town of Orangeville (pop. 28,900- 2016 Can. Census) switched to OPP- please read attached article from Toronto Star- https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2020/10/01/end-of-an-era-rise-of-a-new-one-opp-to-take-over-orangville-policing-services-at-noon-today.html The attached article from Orangeville Today https://www.orangevilletoday.ca/2019/11/01/consultants-report-finds-millions-in-savings-if-orangeville-switches-to-opp/# -indicates Orangeville’s initial cost is $7.2 million in transitional costs for -2020. Then a savings of $1.6 million for 2021. With savings expected to accumulate to $58 million by 2036. In 2017 the Town of Midland (pop.16,680- 2016 Can. Census) chose to replace their police service with the OPP- https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/midland-council-votes-to-disband-local-police-service-switch-to-opp-1.3579346 Please see Town of Midland website page for the fully detailed information on their OPP costing and the process they went through- https://www.midland.ca/Pages/OPP-Costing.aspx Shelburne,ON (population 8,126 Can. Census) in July of this year voted to replace their police service with the OPP as they believed the cost for their own service were unstainable- https://www.country105.ca/2020/07/15/shelburne-council-votes-to-accept-opp-policing-proposal/ Give the savings these communities are to realize, common sense says The Town seriously needs to explore the potential… Read more »

Dunkirk
29 October 2020 11:26 am

In Florida–in several beach communities–fees for beach access is automatically charged to vehicles that have a Transponder(SunPass). In some places, there is one rate for locals and one rate for visitors. If this dual rate system might be contemplated, perhaps the 407 Transponders used in Ontario could automatically collect a fee when a car comes within 300 metres(?) of the beach…or whatever distance the ‘experts’ determine… Most people in the GTA/905 have these on their vehicles.
I have got to believe in our era of technology that vehicles registered to Northumberland postal codes, could have a lower rate charged.
Just an idea……

Informed
Reply to  Dunkirk
29 October 2020 1:52 pm

Not sure about your idea but its an idea nevertheless and all ideas should be explored.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
30 October 2020 10:25 am

It’s an idea that does not encroach on the historical continuity of a free and public space (Victoria Park / Beach) for all as experienced by generations of Cobourgers. And it can generate revenue.

Last edited 27 days ago by Wally Keeler
Leweez
27 October 2020 6:23 pm

Another opportunity for consideration should have been selling our hydro company, Lakefront Utilities.
why not at least explore the option?
that would eliminate all the non disclosure issues that we as tax payers are concerned about regarding the utility

Eastender
Reply to  Leweez
3 November 2020 10:36 am

Sell to who exactly? Sounds like creeping capitalism.
Why not dissolve LUSI and bring it back under Town control.

Bryan
Reply to  Eastender
3 November 2020 11:55 am

Sell to Hydro One or Elexicon (Veridian) as Port Hope, Peterborough, Orillia, Whitby, Ajax, Belleville, Quinte West and others have done.

About 20 years ago, the province mandated that the municipal electricity utilities were to be deregulated and the municipal PUCs disbanded. There is no way to go back unless the province modifies the statutes. LUI (Lakefront Utilities Inc) is the electricity utility, not LUSI (Lakefront Utilities Services Inc).

Holdco/LUI/LUSI are under Town control as the Town owns 99.9% of Holdco. Holdco owns 100% of LUI and LUSI.

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  Bryan
3 November 2020 2:43 pm

Another failed experiment by politicians who at the time thought they knew best.

Many municipalities don’t want to be in the utility business. Will this Council see the light of day and get past the emotional aspect which on its own is the wrong reason to own it?

Last edited 22 days ago by Canuck Patriot
Conor
Reply to  Canuck Patriot
3 November 2020 3:13 pm

Sounds like you are getting a charge out of this.

Eastender
Reply to  Bryan
3 November 2020 6:27 pm

My apologies for confusing LUSI and LUI

Leweez
Reply to  Eastender
3 November 2020 7:38 pm

Don’t feel bad, the whole HOLDCO/Lusi/ Lui/ Town of Cobourg Holdings Inc, town owned privately run situation is meant to be confusing.

Informed
27 October 2020 4:28 pm

I would have liked to see projections on user fees for our beach. This could offset the huge cost to maintain our beach .Even if the beach was revenue neutral it would be a huge cost savings.This beach issue will be here again before we know it and this should be in place.

Informed
Reply to  Informed
27 October 2020 9:12 pm

People using the beach can purchase a day pass online. When printing the day pass,coupons for local dinning and retail are included with the day pass at the bottom of the page. Coupon savings will amount to more than what is paid for the day pass. This recovers costs,will reduce crowding and drive traffic to local establishments.

Frenchy
Reply to  Informed
27 October 2020 10:13 pm

This, or something like it, is a great idea. DBIA, where are you on this?

JimT
Reply to  Frenchy
27 October 2020 10:24 pm

But who reimburses the restaurants for their loss of revenue for having to take a discounted price for what they sell?
The town can’t just give away the profits of the food purveyors through coupons just to suit their agenda.

Informed
Reply to  JimT
27 October 2020 10:57 pm

The town doesnt need to subsidize businesses and they arent gving anything away. The Town provides a platform for business to advertise for anyone wishing to do so. Business get free exposure and new business traffic from the actual people using the beach. Even if a coupon wasnt used right away business would benifit from the abilitly of knowing their target audience and focus advertising directly to people using the beach.

Last edited 29 days ago by Informed
JimT
Reply to  Informed
27 October 2020 11:33 pm

Someone has to take a financial hit from that coupon. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Informed
Reply to  JimT
28 October 2020 9:05 am

Dont think you understand.

Informed
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 9:34 am

If you owned a sub shop and sold 10 subs to 10 people with a 20 % Discount or 2 subs at full price to 2 people, as the owner,which senario is more favourable?

Last edited 29 days ago by Informed
Ken Strauss
Reply to  JimT
28 October 2020 9:22 am

The restaurant or shop takes the “hit” when they sell their product to the beach visitor. The town is just a way to distribute the coupon.

Frenchy
Reply to  JimT
28 October 2020 6:23 am

JimT, check your mailbox for flyers and coupons from restaurants, pizza joints and sub sandwiches, they’re discounting their product all the time to try and generate new business. It’s how they do business.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 8:42 am

How much should the day pass cost? Will it be per person or a family rate? Who will check the passes before entering the beach? Where will the check points be located in the fencing? Will passes also be sold and printed on site? Will Cobourg residents be compelled to show proof of residence at each entry point? Will this project exist only for June, July and August?

Last edited 29 days ago by Wally Keeler
Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
28 October 2020 9:03 am

You have listed only some of the things that need need to be talked about and addressed. Your questions further enforce the need to get onto this now and not wait.It should be at the top of the list because alot of work needs to be done before summer.Striking a volunteer commiitee of citizens including the DBIA would be a good start but please no paid consultants or Facebook polls.

Last edited 29 days ago by Informed
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 9:18 am

I believe that Council directed the Parks and Rec Committee, a resident only group, to consider this issue and make recommendations. Other residents, DBIA, whoever can make submissions to the committee. I agree about Facebook polls but how does one get everyone’s opinion? The town’s Bang the Table seems rather useless.

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
28 October 2020 9:29 am

There is no point in going going further with any of the logistics until a definite decision is made to charge some type of user fee to use the beach. Only when this is done can we move on to addressing the other details. I do believe that if we wait until spring,its too late and im afraid we are back to status quo and more polls.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 9:15 pm

In that case, there should be a full-blown vote on the issue of beach fees from non-residents of Cobourg. It would require a clear majority. It is not just a line item issue. It is my position that the majority of Cobourg residents will not support beach fees for non-residents.

Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
28 October 2020 9:27 pm

If thats the case it sounds fair and we won’t have wasted time with the details of a suggestion that does not materialize.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
28 October 2020 9:57 pm

Yes, Wally, there should be a vote rather than just a slanted survey. However it is silly to merely ask if there should be beach fees for non-residents. Any discussion must be in the context of impact on taxes and the ability of residents to enjoy our own beach.

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
28 October 2020 9:59 pm

Excellent point

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
29 October 2020 8:57 am

That;s right, but not limited to those two points. The beach is crowded only on three long weekends in a year. That is approximately ten days out of 365 days. But let us look at the expense to set up such a proposal. This will factor into the vote argument. What kind of fencing? Cheap fencing that remains up all year or part of a year? More expensive but more attractive fencing? How many egress points? Will these points be operated by students? How many students? What kind of ticketing? These are just a few things that go towards the costing of the project?. Every resident has the “ability” to enjoy the beach. People with accessibility issues have the ability to enjoy the beach. By what manner will the Town distinguish residents from non-residents? Will residents have to provide proof of residence before they can access the beach? Is that part of the enjoyment of the beach. My guess is that residents, especially with families, will get annoyed that they are required to show proof of residence, whereas throughout their personal life all they had to do was walk there, no encumbrance like fences and resident checks. Like or not,… Read more »

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
29 October 2020 10:15 am

The discussion needs to include alternatives to a fence such as changes to parking fees. For example, free parking stickers for residents and much higher fees for visitors.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
29 October 2020 6:19 pm

How will that work? Will that apply to all of Cobourg parking lots or just the few around the park? Will that apply all year round or just for three months? How will one distinguish a non-resident car from a resident car? And chartered buses will be charged how? How will the “higher fees” collected and managed? As I recall, it has to recoup all the expenses that outsider beachers incur. We don’t even know that.

Paul Pagnuelo
Reply to  Wally Keeler
29 October 2020 7:15 pm

These are good, reasonable questions that need to be asked. All provincial parks charge an access fee and the logistics don’t appear to be difficult to follow, including re-entry. Maybe the provincial model meets Cobourg’s needs. My only hope is that they can?speed up the review by the Advisory Committee. Why can’t. they meet weekly during this oroject?

Informed
Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
29 October 2020 8:59 pm

The worse decision is a decision thats never made.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
29 October 2020 7:24 pm

All good questions. If Council decides to consider charging visitors then staff should be directed to develop several options for cost recovery together with their costs, problems and advantages.

I believe that the parking enforcement officers record license plate numbers. One possibility is to allow each resident to register their plates (perhaps a max of two) for free downtown and beach parking. Or residents could be issued an annual window decal (rather like the dump vouchers). Free parking for residents would be a return to the situation until a few years ago.

Conor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
30 October 2020 3:16 pm

Why the heck should Cobourg people be given free access to the beach and parking. Cobourg is not a provincial park the last time I was there. Charge for parking but do not charge for the beach. You are going to be the laughing stock of Ontario and Canada for that matter if you fence off the beach. Cobourgians have become mean and nasty citizens who just don’t like paying their taxes. Wake up and smell the coffee folks you are being misled by a bunch of whiners. This is not the Cobourg I grew up in.

SW Buyer
Reply to  Conor
30 October 2020 5:08 pm

Conor:
As I recall, I believe in a previous comment you indicated you live in Whitby. Pretty ballsy for a non- resident to be telling us what to do regarding our Town assets.
You wrote: “…Why the heck should Cobourg people be given free access to the beach and parking….” Why: because we own it!. The beach, parking areas, CCC, VPC, marina and more. To charge for the use of the Town’s assets is a Town decision. Nobody else.
Why is it different from a provincial park?
You wrote further “… Charge for parking but do not charge for the beach” Why not? What is the difference. They are both Town assets.
You also wrote “… You are going to be the laughing stock of Ontario and Canada for that matter if you fence off the beach….” There has been no decision to “fence off the beach”. What has been advocated is charge for the use of the asset – Pay for Play. The mechanism has yet to be determined.
And just to set the record straight, there are other municipalities that charge to use their beach, often disguised as a parking fee. Wally provided links to several.

Conor
Reply to  SW Buyer
30 October 2020 6:46 pm

How can you have pay for play if you don’t fence off the beach? Honour system? Not likely. Why would I pay for parking if I can go up to College St and park free? I am not trying to be critical I am merely pointing out short falls in people arguments for paying to use the beach.

SW Buyer
Reply to  Conor
30 October 2020 7:34 pm

Conor:
A possible solution could include paid parking from the lake to University and Ontario St to Abbott. As for the fence, It may no be a fence. A suitably dense hedge could serve. The point is Pay for Play in Cobourg is at the early stages of consideration. Other municipalities are also considering the issue and some have found solutions. There is no reason that Cobourg can’t also do so.

Informed
Reply to  Conor
3 November 2020 3:39 pm

Use the Beach in Whitby and dont worry about it.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Conor
30 October 2020 9:42 pm

Why the heck should Cobourg people be given free access to the beach and parking.

Perhaps because we own it and we pay to maintain it? Do you consider it acceptable for a visitor to park in your driveway and play in your backyard?

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
29 October 2020 9:11 pm

I never liked the fence but it served a purpose when the pandemic arrived and something needed to be done. Lets use the time we have now to come up with something better that serves the same purpose yet is less of an eyesore.

Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
29 October 2020 2:01 pm

Most of this should be discussed regardless of fees because of Covid. Its not going anywhere by next summer. If its not discussed than we will be back to polls conducted on Facebook and be scrambling around trying to make everyone happy and no one angry.

Rob
Reply to  Wally Keeler
29 October 2020 5:09 pm

The idea of attempting to funnel beach tourists and residents through 1 or more “check point” in order to provide proof of residency and payment is beyond ridiculous – its asinine. Likely having to demonstrate residency/non-residency payment more than once on a given day should anyone have to/choose to leave the pristine sands of Cobourg Beach for any reason. Fencing our beautiful beach to limit or prohibit children from enjoying a summer day in Cobourg is incomprehensible. Wally brings to light many interesting points through questions about logistical issues and the practical application of what is being discussed. Gouge non-residents for parking but leave the beach alone…its a slippery slope.

I’m curious, what other communities in Ontario are currently charging non-resident Beach User fees and how those are administered.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
30 October 2020 10:10 am
Rob
Reply to  Wally Keeler
30 October 2020 12:09 pm

Close but no cigar Wally – this is a Covid specific initiative in Alberta. The focus of most on this blog has nothing to do with Covid related cost recovery, it is about taxing non-residents who use the beach in an effort to curb “them people” from visiting Cobourg’s white sands. Are their any Ontario Municipalities that currently charge non-residents to use the beach?

Dubious
Reply to  Rob
30 October 2020 12:35 pm
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Dubious
30 October 2020 2:37 pm

Not applicable to Cobourg. There is no charge to access the Innisfil beach, but there is a charge to access the parking lot to the beach. Cobourg does not have a single parking lot thru which all outsiders can be routed. Cobourg needs a different approach other than thoughtlessly copy catting.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
29 October 2020 6:44 pm

Striking a volunteer commiitee of citizens

Go ahead and do it Informed. Give your proposal some flesh and lobby for it. Individuals have brought up this proposal from time to time over the years, but no one, absolutely no one, has ever gone ahead to actually lobby for such a proposal. There’s a reason for that, for all talk and no action.

Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
29 October 2020 8:38 pm

You and me? We can present it in the form of a sonnet,limerick or even a haiku if thats your fancy😉

Last edited 27 days ago by Informed
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
30 October 2020 10:13 am

Or a long loud HOWL by A. Ginsberg. When do we rehearse?

Bryan
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 10:07 am

Several years ago (perhaps still do) the marina gave out a “swag bag” to each transient boater. The bag contained some small items and flyers from local business. Some included discount coupons. The items, flyers and coupons were provided at the merchants expense. I am not aware of any tracking or measurement of the flyer/coupons success in bringing business to the merchants who participated.
Doing this at the beach is basically the same program, except the numbers are larger

Informed
Reply to  Bryan
28 October 2020 10:23 am

So a family of 4 attends the beach for the day from the city. They get all their picnic items out and realize they forgot paper plates and cutlery. A member says go to Home Hardware and get some and take this coupon with you. Get that cooler thats on sale for 40 percent off. The husband comes back with the plate, cutlery and new cooler. He then appolizes to his wife because he also bought a bbq because of way better selection then in Toronto and even cheaper. You tell me….coupon work?The week after his neigbour sees his new bbq back in Toronto and asks where he got it.He says in Cobourg. Neighbour buys one the following week when he is in Cobourg visiting the beach….

SW Buyer
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 2:12 pm

Informed:

A nice fantasy tale bearing little connection to reality.

“…way better selection then in Toronto and even cheaper…” Unlikely
HH flyer in beach promo package….not their target market.
BBQ not allowed on Cobourg Beach
Walk back to car, drive to HH, shop, load new BBQ into car, drive back, find parking & pay, hoof it back to family at beach with cooler. Dream on
Family of 4, all their beach stuff and new cooler & BBQ loaded in the car to drive home….unlikely

Informed
Reply to  SW Buyer
28 October 2020 3:37 pm

It was an example. Who said anything about using a bbq on beach and a boxed bbq fits in a van.Give your head a shake.

jimq26
Reply to  Bryan
29 October 2020 6:23 am

Those flyers & coupons given in the promo bags (given to each visiting boat in the marina) were the same ones you get in your mailbox. Nothing special about them. There was local info re shopping, museums and places of interest along with a local single page map of the town.

Conor
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 3:44 pm

You are whistling in the wind if you think user fees will help bring in revenue for the town. People will just pass you folks by. Of course no local citizens are responsible for the costs of running the beach are they? It is a cost of living in Cobourg so get over it and stop whining. Now suck it up and pay your taxes like the rest of us do.

Informed
Reply to  Conor
28 October 2020 4:01 pm

Now Im starting to understand what council must go through.I would have no problem if you passed Cobourg by.

Last edited 28 days ago by Informed
Dubious
Reply to  Conor
28 October 2020 4:39 pm

People will just pass you folks by.

Conor, you’ve brightened my day. Thank you!

warren
27 October 2020 2:08 pm

Curious and amazing that there seem to be no “Opportunities for Consideration” in ‘Protection Services’, which seemed to consume 40% of the 2019 Town Budget.

https://www.cobourg.ca/en/town-hall/resources/Budget-2020/2020-Operating.pdf

(‘2019 Total for Municipal Levy’ – $23,986,000, Police – $6,200,000, ‘Protection Other’ (Fire) – $3,308,000
Are there no Opportunities in Protection Services for ‘Alternate Service Delivery’ or ‘Operating Efficiencies’ or ‘Enhanced Performance Management’?
Does anyone or John know if/why ‘Protection Services’ were not included in the study?

cornbread
Reply to  John Draper
27 October 2020 3:15 pm

So, I guess we live in a type of Police State…plain & simple. I would suppose we could negotiate with the OPP. Why don’t we switch service?

Kyle
Reply to  cornbread
28 October 2020 4:07 pm

Actually the ability to contact policing is wide open now. They no longer have to be contiguous. Cobourg could seek RFP’s from any interested Police Service. OPP, Durham Regional, Peterborough, Belleville etc. The police here are no longer dispatched here, so why not test the waters.

Eastender
Reply to  John Draper
27 October 2020 5:35 pm

So, the solution might that Council does not accept the next police budget and tell them to go back to the drawing board. That is, if Council wants to reduce costs to taxpayers via the protection services
budget.

Bryan
Reply to  Eastender
27 October 2020 7:16 pm

Eastender:
That is an alternative. The police may make some changes and resubmit their budget. If Council rejects it again, the police would likely ask for arbitration. In that scenario, the Town would likely not win. The net result: a damaged relationship, ill-will and minimal financial gain. The problem is the arbitration process. It takes a very tough Council and a deep pockets “Town” (Toronto??) to take on the cops in arbitration.

This does not mean that there is a not problem. Analysis of the police costs provided in the 2018 FIR (provincial Financial Information Return) for Cobourg and other Northumberland municipalities indicates that Cobourg’s police costs per capita are the most expensive in Northumberland and about 28% more than Port Hope (2nd highest)

Last edited 29 days ago by Bryan
Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
27 October 2020 7:36 pm

Ha, compare Cobourg firefighters with Port Hope firefighters, probably about 90% more expensive than Port Hope

Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
27 October 2020 8:01 pm

Leweez:
As expected, Cobourg’s fire protection cost is higher than Port Hopes, but not as much as you might expect, given that Port Hope’s fire protection service is partly volunteer. POHO’s compensation cost ($1,076,664) is about 41% of Cobourg’s.
Port Hope’s fire protection service cost per capita is about 49% of Cobourg’s

Last edited 29 days ago by Bryan
Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
27 October 2020 8:08 pm

Exactly

Informed
Reply to  Leweez
28 October 2020 10:10 am

You have mentioned this many times in other posts. Tell me what you know about the two departments and any differences in services,fire prevention,public education,response times,rentention costs,training costs, age of equipment and apparatus. Did they look you over when you applied?

Leweez
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 12:10 pm

Sorry informed back when I was young enough, firefighting was not exactly open to women working in the ranks.
but anyways back to the discussion, Cobourg has 12 I believe, full time firefighters, Port Hope 0.

Informed
Reply to  Leweez
28 October 2020 12:21 pm

You have answered my question. You know very little,if anything.

Leweez
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 12:23 pm

Sticks and stones my friend

SW Buyer
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 1:02 pm

And you, informed, just brimming with information. Care to share?

Informed
Reply to  SW Buyer
28 October 2020 2:08 pm

Its all available on the internet my friend

SW Buyer
Reply to  Informed
28 October 2020 3:40 pm

Informed:

Good to know. Since all of the info is available on the internet, then you have nothing to contribute. Does that mean you’ve posted your last comment?

Bryan
Reply to  Leweez
28 October 2020 1:52 pm

Leweez:

Your information may be a bit out of date.

Per the 2018 FIR, the following is the headcount for police & fire in Cobourg and Port Hope:

Cobourg Police:
Uniform 33 FT (full time)
Civilian 6 FT 42 PT (part Time)

Port Hope Police (excluding OPP in “rural” area)
Uniform 24FT 2 PT
Civilian 6FT 5PT

Cobourg Fire:
Uniform 14 FT 20PT
Civilian 4FT

Port Hope Fire:
Uniform 67 PT
Civilian 5 FT

Leweez
Reply to  Bryan
28 October 2020 6:53 pm

Bryan thanks for the updated stats.
so, Cobourg 14 full time firefighters, Port Hope 0.

Bryan
Reply to  John Draper
27 October 2020 7:22 pm

The Cobourg police are accountable to the Cobourg Police Services Board. The Board members are not elected. There are three citizen members: one appointed by Council and two are provincial appointments. The Mayor and one Councilor also sit on the board.

warren
Reply to  John Draper
28 October 2020 10:40 am

That is a frustrating issue re. Police John, but not so with Fire.
Why would a Town department that spends 14% of the budget not even be studied?

Informed
27 October 2020 10:13 am

Lets stop ” robbing Peter to Pay Paul”. Saving a few dollars by reducing level of service in a few areas will never bring taxes down.I look at the graph and see that different services mean different things to many people. Lets get some Industry in Town to increase the tax base and put some money into economic development. We now have a huge vacant building on William street. A retirement Town with Beach tourists arent going to cut it anymore and wont pay the bills.

Ken Strauss
27 October 2020 10:02 am

Oscar pointed out that although Council could decide to spend less on the Marina and Campground, it would not save any taxes since these are self-funded.

The town claims that the trailer park and marina earn a “profit”. If revenue remains the same (both the trailer park and the marina are supposed to have a waiting list) then spending less would increase profits. Why do we even have an eyesore trailer park on valuable town real estate unless it is beneficial to the residents by reducing taxes?

Informed
Reply to  Ken Strauss
27 October 2020 10:20 am

Not everyone thinks its an eyesore. I think its unique to the Town and its liitle things like this that sets it apart from other municipalities. If it wasnt utilized then i would agree.

JimT
Reply to  Ken Strauss
27 October 2020 11:41 am

I recall that it wasn’t an eyesore 60 years ago when the whole thing was just modest-sized tents. These days the place looks like the parking lot for a truck stop on the 401.
I vote “eyesore”.

Last edited 30 days ago by JimT
cornbread
27 October 2020 9:20 am

To bad there survey left out the largest cost saver…namely our Police Services…and conversion to the OPP. ALSO, are not our town department managers charged with running and always making their departments more efficient? Why do we always need a consultant to tell our well paid managers what to do? Perhaps we need better m anagers?

Ken
Reply to  cornbread
27 October 2020 10:05 am

Maybe we need a manager to manage the managers?

Informed
Reply to  Ken
27 October 2020 10:24 am

Those are Directors and we have them

cornbread
Reply to  Informed
27 October 2020 3:18 pm

Too many people at the top…Trim the fat.

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  Ken
27 October 2020 2:51 pm

That would be the CAO. Give her time. She can start by producing a zero based budget with a 5 percent tax reduction.

Two cents worth
27 October 2020 8:18 am

I must be really dumb as I cannot translate the graphs provided..

Sandpiper
Reply to  Two cents worth
27 October 2020 9:23 am

No its just the Towns way of Justifying/ showing the same old !
and doing exactly what they have been doing for the last 10 yrs
with No apparent upside

Just trying to help
Reply to  Two cents worth
27 October 2020 1:46 pm

Hello, if you are interested here is my interpretation looking at the campground example (bottom one) of the “how important are services to you.”

The red portion shows that about 55% said not at all…the yellow portion starts from the 55% and goes to 90%, meaning that 35% indicated that’s it’s not that important but should be maintained and the blue from 90 to 100% indicated very important.

So, red + yellow + blue = 55% + 35% +10% = 100% of respondents. A table might have been better.

JimT
Reply to  Just trying to help
27 October 2020 10:38 pm

I disagree. The graphs take some study to get the message, but a picture is still worth a thousand words – or numbers in this case.