Town of Cobourg’s Potential Lost Revenue

You’ve heard the prediction from Ford on what the Covid-19 virus will do to health provincially, but what about the hit to the Town’s finances?  Only 63% of revenue comes from municipal taxes, the rest from other sources.  So what is the risk that at least some of these other sources will not happen during the virus crisis?  Given what we know and listing the budget revenue items at risk (see below), either 1) the Town will have to go into debt to cover the operating budget or 2) there will be a large tax increase or 3) some things will not get done or 4) a combination of these.  We know that transit fares will not be collected, parking will be free and parking fines will be minimal – but let’s look at other items relying on “other revenue”.

Budget items not covered by taxes

Selected items – full year numbers from approved budget. Impact is hopefully less since restrictions may be lifted before year end.

Item Amount Comments
Lottery Licences $110,000 With no events, how many of these will there be?
Police Business Revenue $786,252 With Canada wide disruption, will this be impacted?
Building Permits $410,000 With no new residential construction allowed – this will be less
Transit Fares & Passes $116,500 Transit is now free
Parking Lot Revenue $70,000 With stores closed, there is much less parking
Parking Tickets $100,000 If parking is free and less crowded, there will be many fewer tickets
Downtown Parking Revenue $187,500 With stores closed, there is much less parking downtown
Revenue Victoria Park $330,000 With no events and free parking, this will disappear
Marina Revenue $707,540 This will be reduced because of general event restrictions [Update: Closed until May 29]
Campground Revenue $313,000 With the beach closed, there will be fewer trailers.[Update: Closed until May 29]
Cobourg Community Centre $1,400,570 How can the CCC get anywhere near this revenue if it’s closed?
Seniors Activity  centre $102,730 If closed, then there’s no revenue
Victoria Park Canteen $20,000 A closed beach and cancelled Victoria Park events means virtually no canteen business
Concert Hall Revenue $181,050 A closed concert hall will have no revenue
Planning Fees $110,000 With no new residential construction allowed – this will be less

There are also many other smaller items that could easily be less than budgeted due to reduced activity in the Town.

Some costs related to the above revenue will also drop so the overall impact is far from clear.

It’s not clear whether Provincial subsidies/grants would continue if related activities are cancelled.  Therefore, these could also be lost making the shortage worse.

As a minimum, we can expect significant discrepancies (over-runs) on the budget.  That is, the current budget is basically no longer applicable.


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Mrs. Anonymous
13 April 2020 7:40 pm

Has the town made a decision about the ice at The CCC? Just wondering if they will be taking the ice out of both pads this spring and summer given the situation and which would help cut costs if no one is using it.

Maggie's Mom
7 April 2020 5:51 pm

I find most of the notes I have read this afternoon most upsetting. You seem to hate paying taxes; you hate all civil servants who earn too much and now should be laid off without pay. Nowhere did I read concern about the well being of our society; nowhere have I read that we should collectively help each other survive this health and economic horror we are living. Surely quality of life is not based on the dollar. People who fight taxes, without appreciating the life we have here in Cobourg, have a different value system from me.

Reply to  Maggie's Mom
7 April 2020 7:00 pm

Well if you are funded by the taxpayer Maggie’s Mom you are not reliant on profit and loss. Your tax dollars are expected to be used for services not paying people beyond what you are making and able to earn. No hate just concern on how tax payer dollars are spent. Worked everywhere Maggie’s Mom – made more money at the City of Toronto in a data entry job – $30.00 an hour than I did working for a major hospital in an administrative assistant position.
Long haul trucking U.S./Canada – ran 50,000 miles not kilometers – certified freight – 2 1/2 days to San Antonio – $8,000 in bank – paid $120. room and board as on the road – needed new tires all the way around $6500., all tolls were yours until pointed out all loads on time, gas expense all yours – 14 days on the road and I’m going to make it home tonight! Could go on but space is limited.

Reply to  Maggie's Mom
7 April 2020 7:16 pm

Sorry. I could only give 1 upvote

Eva Nichols
7 April 2020 4:54 pm

As I understand it, municipal governments are not allowed to go into debt. Am I wrong?

Reply to  Eva Nichols
7 April 2020 7:43 pm

You’re right Eva. At year end they have to be in their budgeted allotment. Working for the Budget Release Office of Ontario I was amused to find the managers looking to find ways to spend the rest of the budget at year end – we got new carpet, a hot line to Ottawa and further brand new clerical equipment to ensure all monies allotted for the year were spent not returned to ensure we would get the same amount of money, if not more next year.

John Draper
Reply to  Eva Nichols
7 April 2020 8:11 pm

I understand that Municipalities may not go into debt to pay operating costs although Capital may be financed with debt – with a limit. That’s why the list above is only operating revenue which goes against operating costs, not Capital. Council has now decided to hold a special budget review meeting in May to find way to limit spending over-runs. Stay tuned.

Wally Keeler
6 April 2020 5:05 pm

Cambodian Prime Minister, Hun Sen, announced that he had donated his 10 million riel (U.S. $2,500) monthly salary from March to September to the National Committee for Combating COVID-19. Several other ministers, including Minister of National Defence Tea Banh, followed suit, pledging to donate up to six months of their salaries to the committee that Hun Sen oversees, while the Ministry of the Environment said 36 of its officials will also hand over half a year of wages. “Not all of us can make the same donations,” he says in the video, during which he also called on members of his cabinet and other civil servants to forgo their pay. “Some can donate their whole salary, while others can afford only 20-50 percent.”

Cobourg taxpayer
6 April 2020 8:39 am

Non essential Government workers should be laid off if there is no work and they are sitting at home not working that’s what’s happened in private industry and the self employed. Why should government workers always have things better: better pay, pension plan, health and dental benefits. It is not sustainable.

5 April 2020 6:25 pm

$350k+ in parking revenues! I’ll never park downtown again! 😀
And it seems a former Councillor predicted the “white elephant” on D’Arcy Street. Indeed.

5 April 2020 12:35 pm

Nothing will or should be open if its in contradiction to Provincial & Health Dept policy Close Social habitation
is out ..
We the Town should lay off Just the same as other communities and the Private sector has had to do .
Municipal employees and Non essentials can obtain UI and the Canadian Emergency Support Benefit
probably easier than the self employed This is all about that BUZZ Word the town likes to use and has used up until this Virus issue That word Was —–SUSTAINABILITY Not just for a few !

Melanie Duras
5 April 2020 11:45 am

Will the trailer park be allowed to open while we are still under isolation
Will the marina be open for boats
Thank you very much for your ipdates

Douglas Coupar
5 April 2020 11:01 am

While I enjoy reading the eager proposals to shut down many amenities of town life that are provided by employees, please keep in mind that there are real families who are supported by those employees.
Some kindness and compassion always helps in a crisis. These discussions are not just about financials, real estate losses, and future taxes. 🙏

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Douglas Coupar
5 April 2020 11:09 am

The amenities of town life ARE shutdown. We are all in this together so why treat non-working public employees differently from non-working private employees? Private employees also have real families to support.

Maggie's Mom
Reply to  Ken Strauss
7 April 2020 4:59 pm

Why do we always want to race to the bottom? There are benefits to working in both sectors. We should be encouraging to try to reach UP for common good.

Reply to  Maggie's Mom
7 April 2020 7:37 pm

Loved working for government Maggie’s Mom – such vacation time, benefits – 100% dentai and medical with only a $20. deduction at start. Municipal and Provincial – both had great time off plans for sick and vacation. All paid for by the tax payer! OMERS Pension Plan – what a beauty place to work, better than the University of Toronto which wasn’t bad – so many perks but I wanted to find out how the other half lived. Private industry unlike tax payer funded organizations just couldn’t meet these wonderful things and in the end as I stated in another post our tax payer dollars have been spent elsewhere and the medical supplies are not there despite the Disaster Relief Committee of Toronto who are paid to ensure we are all safe during these times on the tax payers’ dime.

Reply to  Observer
7 April 2020 7:44 pm

So which half was the better half?

Reply to  Leweez
7 April 2020 7:49 pm

It was all a great experience Leweez – from working in a strip bar – take it off! to working in grocery, humane society, on the road and govenment – the experienced workers’ college – a great eye opener – loved to work – one boss said in non-profit work to me – you like to work too much!? And so many private industries which I came from prior to government employment which preceded return to private which preceded return to government!

Reply to  Douglas Coupar
6 April 2020 10:37 am

Great post Douglas.Most of the discussions ARE about taxes and picking on public servants in the sense of fairness. Taking away pay..laying off people ..complaining about defined benefits for some etc., make some people feel better i guess. I hope there is at least some people to advovate for private sector works that DO deserve better pay and benefits. Unfortunaly this will never happen when the focus is to take away from others to win the race to the bottom.

5 April 2020 10:15 am

So it sounds like we are all in agreement on most of the areas of concern—- Fast Cuts to over head
the same way the Private sector and the individual public has already been forced to do !
So lets all call / contact the Mayor the CAO the MPP and the County director
You know these people don’t like to make decisions on their own
They need Voter Support

Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 9:33 am

Good to see some posters enjoying themselves during this Plague Year.
They gleefully advocate slashing the ‘frills’ that they have opposed for years on this blog.
Cut, cut, slash, slash. But every cut, cuts somebody’s income.
Many of these posters are comfortably retired, so laying off municipal workers to head off a tax increase is only good sense.
Some advocate cutting salaries of public employees and, of course, teachers. But I have yet to read of anyone offering to cut their own pensions.
Make no mistake. It may yet come to all of that.
What will the effects be of the coronavirus, the market crash, and the impact on the economy, when it comes to the world of private pensions, as dependent as they are on investment funds and the ability of their plan sponsors to continue to contribute?
Toronto’s Mayor John Tory announced Friday that 5,400 seasonal employees the city usually hires for recreational programs won’t be hired.
Edmonton issued temporary layoffs to 2,000 people this week, mostly people who work in closed libraries and recreation centres. Calgary has laid off 1,200 workers and Windsor has let 500 staff members go.
Municipalities have to balance their budgets. They are the responsibility of the Provinces.
So they must kick the can upstairs.
But the Provinces don’t have the means to meet the coming crisis.
That leaves the Feds. Ottawa will have to cut a fat cheque to bail out the municipalities.
And then wait for our posters to wail about the spendthrift ways of the Trudeau Liberals.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 9:53 am

Those of us without public pensions and dependent on RRSPs have already had our “pensions” cut.
Kicking the can upstairs is a dangerous delusion. Whether town, province or Federal there is only one taxpayer.

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 April 2020 10:04 am

‘There is only one taxpayer’.
Yeah well! Some very wealthy Canadians don’t depend on RRSPs, but have found some creative ways to enhance their retirement income. Think Grand Cayman!
A 2016 Statistics Canada report found nearly $45.6 billion is lost to tax cheating.
The problem isn’t one a large chunk of Canadians view as a problem, however, as many of the respondents believe “tax cheating is justified because of unfairly high levels of taxation.”

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 11:02 am

This quote belongs to whom: “tax cheating is justified because of unfairly high levels of taxation.” Transparency please.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 11:32 am

The “underground economy”. Very familiar with it. It is a very prevalent consequence of corrupt governments, eg. all of the Warsaw Pact countries, Cuba, Venezuela, etc (dictatorshits all) where shortages of everything require the population to pilfer nation-wide. It became chronic throughout the former Soviet Socialist Republics and its residuals remain to this day. No role models there.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 12:37 pm

“Some very wealthy Canadians”

And who are they? They are ultrawealthy pensions funds.

“None of the pension plans would say exactly how much of their revenue is generated by investments through tax havens. … Some Canadian pension funds acknowledged that offshore investment structures help them legally minimize their tax burdens abroad. Some even said it’s their duty to do so in order to maximize savings available for retirees. Sounds very similar to “tax cheating is justified because of unfairly high levels of taxation”.
The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and OMERS, the pension fund for hundreds of thousands of Ontario municipal workers, owned the High Speed 1 rail line in Britain until September, via a holding company also incorporated in Jersey. Neither pension fund would say why they did it that way.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
7 April 2020 7:57 am

Look up the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance before blathering on.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Curmudgeon
7 April 2020 8:13 am

I used the phrase “Sounds very similar” == but I did not say they were the same, as in identical. Learn to read and comprehend English before you blather on.

Reply to  Curmudgeon
7 April 2020 10:20 pm

It is a very fine line sometimes Curmudgeon. Worked for a tax accountant at one point. He religiously reviewed all government directives. As I sat in the office one day one of his largest customers came in mad as a wet hen. The government directives change all the time and the tax accountant had his client invested in the Cayman Islands which seemed ok at first until the government’s directives underwent a sea change – guess what they were suddenly illegal! Naturally the client quit using him but the accountant had been following the directives – there was just a change in direction.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 10:52 am

“Some advocate cutting salaries of public employees and, of course, teachers. But I have yet to read of anyone offering to cut their own pensions.”

My own private pension is taking a nose dive. I never had a “comfortable pension“, now it is even more meagre. And on top of that I have to pay the taxes for the bloated pension funds of teachers and other units of The State. Does Walter have any empathy for that? Of course not. And we certainly don’t hear of any teachers offering to not ask for an increase: NONE!

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’) today announced a total-fund net return of 10.4% for the 2019. Net assets reached $207.4 billion as of December 31, 2019, a $16.3 billion increase from December 31, 2018. Ontario Teachers’ earned $20.2 billion in investment income in 2019, the most in the organization’s history. Of course, the Teachers Fund gained a lot of billion$ from their investments in the fossil fuel industry.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 April 2020 11:10 am

With all that incredible wealth, Ontario teachers did not see any need to withdraw a few million to purchase facemasks for Ontario’s civilians, leaving us to make homemade masks. Pitiful and pathetic.

Walter Luedtke
Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 April 2020 11:35 am

You’re turning green Wally!
You could have been a great teacher, except for your potty mouth.
The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan puts the savings of teachers to work in the Canadian economy. This investment income pays 78% of the pensions. Only 11 cents of the pension dollar are matched ‘STATE’ contributions,
The OTPP is a responsible investor.
“Climate change
The effects of a warming planet influence every region of the world and sector of
the economy, and practically every investment opportunity that Ontario Teachers’
considers. The impact on our investments today is real, but climate change’s effect on
our future portfolio and where we should invest is likely to be even more profound.
There is a generational fairness aspect that is important, especially given the
organization’s mission of delivering retirement security to members today and
tomorrow. The decisions made today on what investments we make or don’t make
will have ripple effects for future pensioners.
We spend a considerable amount of time at the board talking about climate change.
It is incumbent that the board work closely with, and pose difficult questions to,
management to confirm that Ontario Teachers’ long-term business strategy is
resilient to the impacts of climate change and equipped to find opportunities as we
transition to a low-carbon economy.” Steve McGirr, Chair
So, how is the Poet’s Pension Fund doing?

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 12:39 pm

Isnt someone supposed to say,”crickets”

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 12:50 pm

While some 700 institutions in 76 countries have committed to divesting a total of $5 trillion from fossil fuel companies, the OTPP continues to pour a hefty $24.8 billion of its $170 billion in total retirement holdings into dirty oil, coal and natural gas projects, and the pipelines that enable them.

Says elementary school teacher Kim Fry, a former Greenpeace forest campaigner and organizer of the OTPP protest, “There are some higher up folks in union that have been pretty aggressive with me about not talking about this.” (Hmmm, why?)

Fry says the decisions are a sign that growing pressure for divestment is working, even though the OTPP continues to hold significant investments in fossil fuels, including a whack of major oil companies. Among them: Chevron, Suncor, Imperial Oil and Phillips.
It’s also got shares in Exxon,
but as’s Brian Young tells NOW, those shares became “invisible” in 2015 when OTPP raised the threshold for public reporting on its investments to $150 million.

NOW March 2017

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 12:55 pm

Walter, as usual you are twisting reality.
“Ontario Teachers Pension Plan puts the savings of teachers to work in the Canadian economy.” doesn’t mean that the plan invests in Canada. Far from it, as Wally just mentioned, the OTPP invests around the world.
“Ontario Teachers’ long-term business strategy is resilient to the impacts of climate change” doesn’t mean that they are fighting climate change but that they are investing to minimize the impact on their investments.
Wally would be a good teacher because he is able to comprehend what he reads. A pity that not everyone can.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 April 2020 1:49 pm

Walter is flogging this ” . . . “ from Steve McGirr, Chair. Read it above. It’s written in elitespeak, or as the limerick louts of the Peoples Republic of Poetry would say, “snobspeak” which is uppity from slobspeak. It is written in prose devoid of any humanness. It’s odourless, tasteless, like a concrete block, you know, weighty content without empathy, human connection. Thank you Ken, but I owe a lot of my education to George Orwell.

Oh lookie here. “The Big 8 plans alone are now worth more than $1 trillion, and agencies like the CPP Investment Board, Ontario Teachers and Quebec’s Caisse are among the biggest institutional investors in the world.

This means that Walter Luedtke is a member in good standing with the Trillionaire’s Club dontcha know!

Reply to  Wally Keeler
5 April 2020 3:32 pm

Mr. Keeler, I find your posts tend to be like a car accident, I don’t want to look at it, but I just can’t stop myself from doing so

Canuck Patriot
Reply to  Leweez
5 April 2020 5:49 pm

Very insulting Leweez.

In my humble opinion, not only is Wally a great poet, he is well read, very knowledgeable about international politics, intelligent and at times entertaining. His posts are extremely informative if you took the time to read them.

He has far more to offer in his comments than you ever will be able to.

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
5 April 2020 1:01 pm

Not only Wally. It is the duty of everyone in Cobourg to fight the Climate Change Emergency past by council.

Reply to  Walter Luedtke
6 April 2020 2:06 am

Perhaps it hasn’t gone far enough Walter with City of Toronto layoffs. They are in the news and a trendsetter. I am aware of many full time employees who are sitting at home collecting a pay cheque. They are not being asked to use their 2 floating days, vacation first year beginning at 3 weeks, lieu time accumulation to 3 weeks and a very generous sick plan for all full time employees who may happen to be sick as they sit at home on full time regular hours.

5 April 2020 8:49 am

I grew up on a family beef farm which may be why I remember a particular story in the Bible. There is no need to be religious to appreciate the story. In a dream 7 skinny cows ate 7 fat cows. As cows do not actually eat other cows, in my experience, this was meant as a warning. The cows represented years of hard times and good fortune respectively. The years of hard times can easily ‘eat’ the years of good fortune. Compared to many, many people in this world we have been very fortunate to be living in Canada during years of good fortune. Things are not as good anymore. I really hope that our politicians had enough foresight to save during the years of good times to get us through the years of hard times. It is OK to hope, right? As long as you have a roof over your head and enough to eat you are better off than many people. Remembering this might help make our ‘years’ of hard times not seem so bad.

John L. Hill
5 April 2020 8:33 am

The common mistake we are making is to assume the CoVid crisis is short-lived and we will be back to normal in a few weeks. Maybe there is no normal to get back to. Many of our businesses will be bankrupt. People will be hesitant to congregate in groups for possibly a year or more. Many will have trouble paying their mortgages let alone a tax increase.
We should be cutting public expenses to the bone and maintain only services such as fire, water, sewage and policing.

Reply to  John L. Hill
5 April 2020 8:47 am

Is there any option in the system that would allow the town to reduce salaries to essential workers to allow the town to have a balanced budget…same goes for teachers etc.

Reply to  cornbread
5 April 2020 3:32 pm

There was talk of danger pay awhile ago for some of the essential workers. So give them more in the left hand and take it back with the right hand?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Informed
5 April 2020 3:49 pm

Perhaps Ms. Cornbread meant to suggest reducing the pay for non-essential workers rather than a pay reduction for essential workers. Notice that she included teachers among her reductions.

Paul Pagnuelo
4 April 2020 3:43 pm

The Town’s budget options are slimmer than you suggest. Any idea of a tax increase, let alone a large one, are simply off the table.

For a majority of people in the private sector, their priority in life for the foreseeable future will be keeping food on the table, the lights on and a roof over their heads. The new normal in government will be back to bare bone basics.

The days of discretionary projects, toys for the boys, luxury spending, wish lists, salary and benefit increases and the entitlement industry are over.

Multi-million dollar projects like Waterfront improvements are now dead in the water. Forget Travel Lifts and major upgrades to the Trailer Park. Any borrowing will have to be limited to essential infrastructure.

Expenses such as tourism brochures, conferences, community grants, downtown revitalization will not be spared the knife.

And there will be no sacred cows. It is not unreasonable to anticipate public transit eventually being mandated to close because of limited need to travel.

Anybody who thinks there will be a quick end to the consequences of this pandemic needs to give their heads a shake. If government recreation and cultural facilities, the beach, trailer park, and marina are all closed, the reality is jobs eventually will need to follow suit.

Nobody can predict the future. But one thing is for certain. The pain and suffering will be deep and many businesses will never recover. Canadians from coast to coast to coast will demand fundamental change.

Never again should we be put in the position of not being in control of the necessities of health and life. No longer will it be acceptable to trust and depend on a foreign source to meet our basic needs.

To say these are unprecedented times is an understatement.

4 April 2020 3:30 pm

I would suggest that as soon as we are back to normal – whenever that may be but at least when the Town Hall is operating at full strength and in the building the Budget Chief should convene a “People’s Budget”. That is to say that the Citizens should be presented with the shortfall and proposed cuts, that would bring the Budget back into Zero and they should be asked to decide on the shortfalls/cuts, as opposed to the process being held behind closed doors and presented to the population as a ‘fait accompli’ with little opportunity to sway the Council.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
4 April 2020 4:11 pm

Agreed, Ben. If we proceed with approved capital projects such as the marina and trailer park improvements we’ll also have to start paying for them on our 2021 property taxes. To have any hope of covering the town’s revenue shortfall we must immediately terminate these projects and eliminate all non-essential salaries and other expenses. It is either act now or have a huge tax hike next year.

Paul Pagnuelo
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 April 2020 4:51 pm

We all know that raising taxes next year will finish off those who are still jobless and barely making ends meet. Council can raise taxes if it dares but they can’t get blood out of a rock.

We haven’t seen anything yet if private sector pension plans become insolvent and the havoc that will create.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Paul Pagnuelo
4 April 2020 5:10 pm

Paul, the good news is that there are few private sector Defined Benefit pension plans to become insolvent. Money purchase plan members or those with only personal savings in RRSPs will just have to make do with less income. Teachers and other government retirees will be sitting pretty. Maybe the rest of us can work at food banks.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 April 2020 8:40 am

Should the Kerr St. extension also be cutoff the board as well?

Reply to  cornbread
5 April 2020 8:43 am

Absolutely, it’s not a necessity!
Hunker down for the long haul and keep your powder dry.

Reply to  cornbread
5 April 2020 11:11 am

sure put more workers out of job!

Reply to  greengrass
5 April 2020 11:19 am

Greengrass, how do you propose we pay these workers? Pull the money out of our magic A$$?

Reply to  Frenchy
5 April 2020 11:35 am

Pull the money out of our Magic A$$?

So our Magic Justin will pay it?

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  cornbread
5 April 2020 10:11 pm

Looks like it already started…

Brenda 219
Reply to  ben
5 April 2020 10:07 am

I’m wondering if the reverse might be a better way to go? Identify those things that we found essential during this time. Cost those out with a draft budget, and develop a multi year plan to add as we can. Not forgetting to build in capacity to deal with a future crisis.

Ken Strauss
4 April 2020 2:08 pm

John, I hate to be a bearer of bad news but I believe that the situation is far worse than you imply.
The towns various measures – closing CCC, tax deferrals, likely trailer park closure, free bus, free parking, etc – will result in lower revenues. Meanwhile we continue to pay full wages to all town staff. Section 209(4)(c) of the Ontario Municipal Act appears to prohibit a town running a deficit so these losses will have to be made up ENTIRELY NEXT YEAR by higher property taxes. Unlike the federal and provincial deficits we cannot borrow to fund the losses.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 April 2020 2:42 pm

A few hundred thousand $$$$ were allotted to hire one or two consultants for the Sustainability and Climate Change program. That money could be used to mitigate Town expenses for the current emergency.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
4 April 2020 3:59 pm

A few hundred thousand dollars will help a little but it is not nearly enough. Using some very optimistic assumptions my numbers say that Cobourg will be short over $2 million by the end of the year unless we cut salaries and other expenses immediately.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 April 2020 4:37 pm

The police business services slush fund is far greater than $786k and could easily cover the 2 mil.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
4 April 2020 10:39 pm

Ken, you seem to always preach a hard reduction in salaries, but never want to define a reduction in which municipal employees should be let go.
**** or get off the pot. Maybe let go of some of our full time firefighters?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Leweez
4 April 2020 11:14 pm

Actually I have responded to that question several times but I’ll try once again. We need the employees and management who are responsible for fire, police, water/sewer, finance, some portions of public works, CAO, Town Clerk and probably some others, Most staff and management who are responsible for areas that are closed such as marina, trailer park, CCC, arena, transit, parking, tourism, concert hall, etc are not needed. What have I missed that we need now? More clarity required?

Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 April 2020 1:04 am

Yes Ken I have read that municipal employees are being kept on everywhere. They can’t work in community centres now – they are staying home with pay and will be for the forseeable future. The budgets of governing bodies are totally blown yet people are staying home on the taxpayers’ cost for which will be part of the tax recoop. Business if forced to lay off, cost and no business as opposed to tax payer funded.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Observer
5 April 2020 9:19 am

Municipal employees are not being kept everywhere. We We need to do the same.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 April 2020 10:10 am

What I read in the link above, thank you, Ken, was the municipal government was either going to reduce hours to zero or layoff CUPE Locals 82 and Local 543, which would equal 541 city employees. No? The city then applies to get the federal government money and later recalls staff. Economics is not my strong suit. I am sure somebody here will be kind enough to clarify.

Reply to  Gerald
5 April 2020 10:31 am

”… 541 City employees, who would then become eligible for a form of enhanced income support now available through the federal government.”
These individuals would have to apply personally to get the $500/week (for 16 weeks) Federal program Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
Municipalities can’t apply for the 75% wage top-up under the Emergency Wage Subsidy program.
On the face of it, I think this is the prudent thing for Windsor to do and other municipalities (including Cobourg) should follow suit.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 April 2020 10:29 am

John Tory announced right from the start he would make no lay offs and hasn’t. I have yet to read about Brampton, Mississauga and other large close municipalities – Windsor is a very small drop and if you remember their city was decimated a few years back with closure of auto plants. They probably are still struggling. Their real estate fell through the floor. So very few I see are doing this Ken. Not that I think they shouldn’t – they just aren’t.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Observer
5 April 2020 10:49 am

“…their city was decimated a few years back with closure of auto plants.”
Why am I reminded of Kraft?

Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 April 2020 10:54 am

The point I made Ken is other municipalities aren’t laying off, only Windsor. You will note I said they should but they aren’t whether decimated or not.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Observer
5 April 2020 11:06 am

Apologies but I couldn’t resist the comparison with Kraft.
I suspect that most municipalities are dreaming of the same Sugar Plum Fairy as Walter: the Feds will bailout everyone with absolutely no bad consequences! Politicians love being loved and free money buys votes.

George Taylor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
5 April 2020 11:15 am

at what cost to us oldtimers

Reply to  Observer
5 April 2020 11:37 am

“other municipalities aren’t laying off”?
Vancouver, Delta, Surrey, Orillia, Edmonton, Calgary, Kelowna, Waterloo, Cambridge, Whistler, Kingston, Guelph, Welland, North Cowichan, Whitby… need I go on

Reply to  Frenchy
5 April 2020 12:01 pm

Please don’t Frenchy – the major ones in Ontario are not. But then I’ve had conversations with you before. Starting with Whitby Frenchy they are only laying off part time – don’t have time to check out the others – but you will find the major ones are keeping all full time staff and paying them to stay at home. Notice you never argue with Ken who says the same things. Add on – well French took a few minutes to look up some others – all part time such as school crossing guards and rec workers. Full time no. Bye – chill out as you say.

Reply to  Observer
6 April 2020 9:11 am

OK Observer, so now it’s only municipalities in Ontario and only full time staff? What’s next, only towns in Northumberland and only staff with 20 years seniority?
Read at least the first five sentences:
But it doesn’t matter if it’s part-time or full time. Municipalities need to trim expenses in order to fight the fallout from this pandemic. Unless you’re sitting on a gov’t fat-cat pension, you do the same thing with your home budget.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Frenchy
6 April 2020 9:31 am

Frenchy, the last two sentences in the article say it all:

The head administrator at city hall says the local government’s corporate leadership team respects its mandate to provide public services, as well as “the fact that these services are paid for by the taxpayers, many of whom have been impacted financially by the economic shocks of COVID-19.”

He said the corporation will continue to “focus on strong financial management and using taxpayer dollars wisely.”

Cobourg is different.

Reply to  Frenchy
6 April 2020 10:15 am

Frenchy – if you could read my lips I would say read them! That is what all my posts say. Presume you are just looking to argue. I believe you were in favour of the raises previously for the non-union staff. You change like the wind, are a johnny come lately first determining which way the “Ken” goes then commenting.

Reply to  Observer
6 April 2020 10:35 am

The point I made Ken is other municipalities aren’t laying off, only Windsor.

The point I’ve been trying to make Observer, is that your facts are wrong. Other municipalities are laying off. Part-time, full-time, doesn’t matter. They are cutting back on expenses and have to if we are going to get through this.
Other than your facts being wrong, I have no idea what you are talking about.

Reply to  Frenchy
6 April 2020 10:44 am

in reading the other layoffs they consisted of part time staff for the main part. Toronto has yet to lay off any full time people like many of your examples. I stated strongly now and before all this municipalities should be cutting expenses and not paying public employees head and shoulders above private industry. You look for ways to nit pick a person and any little discrepancy rather than the whole of what a person states By the way where is the insulting cartoon you usually send to people. You usually love belittling humour aimed at anyone you select to argue with no matter what they are saying. A true computer bully. I presume you are not aware of all the classifications within municipal hire Frenchy – there is seasonal, part time, part time temporary, full time temporary, full time permanent – all union except a smal per cent of excluded clerical. Then there is the grand pooba – Management. The layoffs are mainly in the temporary and seasonal positions. Do you know what you are talking about?

Reply to  Observer
6 April 2020 12:08 pm

This crisis has brought the forefront the need to revamp the direction of taxes. Areas that serve the public, not paying workers beyond the value of a job in private industry. A misdirection of taxes. Overdue for a total re-vamp.

Preparation requirements for this pandemic has been very inadequate – front line staff protection supplies – front line masks – ran out, ventilators – shortage you’ld better be under 60, people with cancer requiring surgery – surgery cancelled – and so many other areas. Hope not to lose a dear friend as they can’t be seen medically – which I’m sure others of you are dealing with.

On the taxes and supplies as reported –
Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
To get poor Rover a bone

When she got there the cupboard was bare
Sounds like the medical supplies cabinents. How sad. Best to all in this crisis and yes even you Frenchy.

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  Ken Strauss
6 April 2020 10:01 pm

The trailer park makes money. Why would we shut down a profitable, popular and well known amenity like this? Free bus service is a very occasional perk that likely attracts new riders as well as good will. Our workers deserve their “full” pay too. You’re just being silly.

Reply to  Deborah O'Connor
6 April 2020 11:28 pm

Deborah, your comments are not merely silly but also dangerous to the health of everyone in Cobourg. Please consider the consequences of your suggestions.