Does Cobourg Use Too Many Consultants?

In 2020 Council hired a consultant to review “Service Delivery” and shortly after (in 2021) also used a consultant to review the Town’s organization. But at Monday’s Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting, the Agenda included approval of a consultant (Watson and Associates) for $91K to review user fees as recommended in the Service Delivery review. Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin thought that this knowledge was available from Staff and that the cost was excessive so she moved that the work be done by Staff instead. The rationale for the consultant was that there were not enough Staff resources or expertise and that the report would provide a justification for charges. In addition “it is also expected that the methodology developed in the study will allow for annual updates to ensure that the fee schedule stays current.”

Suzanne’s motion (available in Resources below) stated that the budget was $35K and that “according to the Staff Report there are no guarantees that this project will lead to additional user fee revenue to offset the cost of $91,288.90.”

But other councillors saw the cost as an investment and that there would in fact be “additional user fee revenue”.

Mayor John Henderson said that there had been no review for 12 years so he would not support Suzanne’s motion to have the review done by staff. Treasurer Ian Davey justified the high cost by saying that it actually had two parts: 1) a review of what other Municipalities charged and 2) analysis of actual costs so that fees could be justified [Editor’s Note: although only for planning application fees].

CAO Tracey Vaughan and Directors Brian Geerts and Anne Taylor-Scott were supportive of using a consultant but Suzanne pointed out that they should already know the answers and a consultant was not needed. However, Tracy said that “Directors are not experts in this and don’t have the capacity”. But Suzanne pointed out that the consultants talk to staff so will be taking up their time anyway. Suzanne was also critical that there are many consultant reports where nothing has been done. Tracy responded that both the Service Delivery report and Organization Review were being actioned.

There was a second bid in response to the RFP from Urban Metrics for less than the budget but it was not chosen since it was simply a review of fees charged by other Municipalities and Urban Metrics were considered less capable of doing the work.

The bid from Watson and Associates included an additional amount of $14,760 to provide “a detailed full cost assessment of planning application fees by application type to inform fee recommendations that are defensible and better align user fee revenues with the levels of effort and costs associated with each type of planning application.” [Quote from Staff report on RFP Award]. This addition was accepted and brought the total to $91K.

After considerable debate, Councillor Aaron Burchat moved that the motion on the Agenda be passed and not Suzanne’s (both are available below). That is, he moved that the consultant be awarded the tender at $91K.

At Suzanne’s request, a recorded vote was held. Voting in favour of a consultant: John Henderson, Brian Darling, Aaron Burchat, Adam Bureau. Voting against award of the contract to the consultant:  Suzanne Séguin, Nicole Beatty, Emily Chorley.

Since this was a CoW meeting, it needs to be ratified at next week’s regular Council meeting.

Resources

RFP Issued

Motions made

Earlier Consultant reports
Available on Cobourg News Blog

Print Article: 

 

96 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Guess who
18 August 2022 1:13 am

Have read all the comments and we should hire a consultant to establish the identity of “concerned” ….

Scottie
17 August 2022 9:50 pm

Consultants are a very convenient (albeit VERY expensive) medium which allows Council and Town staff alike to take absolutely NO responsibility for their actions. If something doesn’t work out — BLAME IT ON THE CONSULTANT — if it does work out – then take credit for it (but don’t mention how much it cost to get there). A great way to be if you have unlimited dollars at your disposal — but a responsible business person (which these people obviously ARE NOT) would never do that…

Cap’n John
17 August 2022 9:35 pm

I think the important question is “ does Cobourg use consultants effectively?”, not “ does Cobourg use too many consultants?”
I am aware of a situation where the consultants were junior, did not ask the relevant questions, and were either deliberately misinformed by staff or staff did not disclose all relevant information.
The consultant’s report was therefore incomplete, did not consider all important aspects of the issue, and resulted in a wasted opportunity for improvement.

Scottie
17 August 2022 9:00 pm

As the saying goes, “A consultant is anyone who lives more than 25 miles out of town”

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Scottie
18 August 2022 10:12 am

One who tells you what time it is with your own watch for an exorbitant price !

Scottie
17 August 2022 7:28 pm

I have skimmed through all the posts about this subject and the main “gist” of the conversations seems to be that “yes” consultants are a waste of time, money and resources and that “most” of the prior consultants’ reports died a quick death and are thankfully mouldering in the bowels of Victoria Hall (where they all deserve to be). Hopefully with some new faces on Council this October we’ll get a a breath of fresh air for this town — people who “understand” business and are prepared to be leaders rather than following the “same old same old”…. and who are willing and able to wade through the absolute bull— that’s being handed to them by so many members of town staff, who just don’t seem to be able to break out of the old “Consultant” line. Councillors/mayor who can energize Town staff to break out of their old habits and really get to work for the future of Cobourg. We have a lot of really talented people on town staff — who are completely capable of making things happen WITHOUT consultants — as long as the Councillors give them the ability to do that!

Pamela Jackson
17 August 2022 6:45 pm

Does Cobourg Use Too Many Consultants? Ha, what a silly question. I remember commenting when I became Councilor in 2000 that Victoria Hall was sinking under the weight of Consultant reports, completed and paid for, never read or acted on, just sitting on shelves in the basement never to be seen again. Twenty two years later nothing has changed, what a sorry state of affairs, all that money spent and nothing gained from it in the form of useful guidelines, ideas that could have worked so well. Instead of hiring even one more “consultant”, take out the hundreds of neglected, expensive reports stored, dust them off then read them all to glean the brightest and best answers to a myriad of problems. No need to spend any more money just to see it wasted, instead Reduce, Re-use and Re-cycle the thousands of dollars worth of reports, there could be some golden eggs in there.

Guess who
Reply to  Pamela Jackson
18 August 2022 12:59 am

Pam please come back and save us …..

Constance Mealing
Reply to  Guess who
19 August 2022 8:55 am

I agree. Please do Pam

Merle Gingrich
17 August 2022 5:11 pm

I agree with Rob: Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Council, make a decision, sometimes right and sometimes wrong but live with it, changes can be made if needed.
There have been a lot of idiotic comments on this subject, maybe some of you should run for office.
.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
17 August 2022 6:08 pm

Yes but Council is making decisions based on information provided by
people as the CAO state s who are not experts and probably can not be held entirely responsible..
The union will probably protect them anyway

Rob
17 August 2022 10:59 am

The irony that the Town uses our tax dollars to hire consultants to find new/creative ways to get more tax dollars …. anyone else tired of this gong show?

concerned
Reply to  Rob
17 August 2022 11:05 am

If you recall the majority of the funds our coming out of Northam not our tax dollars.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 11:58 am

Concerned, that is silly! There is nothing magic about notionally spending Northam dollars. Northam is just one of many sources of town revenue that could be used to reduce taxes rather than squandering it on unnecessary consultants.

Concerned
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 August 2022 1:14 pm

No Northam can’t be used to reduce taxes because then you are assuming that money will always be there and there is no guarantee it will. So I guess every other municipality uses them unnecessarily as well all you smart people should run every municipality it the province since claim to be so good at it.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned
17 August 2022 1:43 pm

Concerned, you are again making silly comments. Cobourg’s expenses are budgeted annually and the necessary levy is determined annually. If for some reason Northam ceased to be a source of revenue then the levy would be increased that year to make up the difference.

Guess who
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 August 2022 1:01 am

At least Ken uses his name and is not anonymous …

Bryan
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 12:13 pm

Concerned,
Do you really believe that tired old myth. The funds are all out of the same pot.
Northam is a town business unit and the operating surplus is part of the Town’s surplus. If Northam’s surplus is used for projects like this, they are not available for other Town projects which are “tax paid”.

Concerned
Reply to  Bryan
17 August 2022 1:17 pm

No, they do that intentionally. It is smart business actually you use it for cost overruns as is the case with the consultant and emergencies as they have always done or small projects. There is no guarantee of that money always being there.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned
17 August 2022 1:23 pm

Eh, Concerned? You haven’t addressed the obvious fact that Northam revenue can be used to reduce taxes or it can be squandered on consultants and cost overruns. Why is something so simple difficult for you to understand?

Concerned
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 August 2022 1:58 pm

The fact that if you start to rely on Northam for operations and then the money isn’t there you and I get to foot the bill. If it’s so simple why have no councils directed it to happen.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Concerned
17 August 2022 2:49 pm

Now that’s a question – why has no council directed it to happen?
Ken is right – you’d be able to include money from Northam (last year) for the budget (this year). If it’s not there, you can’t include it.
The trouble with leaving it as it is and using it as you are suggesting – for overruns and small projects – is that it begins to be the default to lean on for more money. When we develop that habit, the budget means less because we can always pull from Northam and, to your point – it may not always be there. So, it’s not a good habit to develop.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
17 August 2022 3:11 pm

Treating Northam as a slush fund for ill advised expenditures and to hide mistakes is an AWFUL habit to develop. Sadly, some of our councillors prefer to deceive residents that an item will have no impact on taxes rather than to justify expenditures on their merits. It appears that Concerned drank the KoolAid.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
marya
Reply to  Bryan
19 August 2022 4:02 am

There is an example in today’s Northumberland News, Editor’s Pick, about how the Northam Reserve Fund is going to be used for an exorbitant user fee study, which is yet another study that was consulted years ago and never implemented.

Marie
17 August 2022 9:26 am

The good people of Cobourg have participated in many Consultants studies and then seen either no action or action contrary to findings (for example the waterfront)….

The private sector makes good use of networking with peers in their industry through conferences, industry associations and like bodies. To find out about other municipalities does not
require consultants or a doctorate. Senior staff is expected to know what is going on elsewhere and stay up to date as part of their job…..

concerned
Reply to  Marie
17 August 2022 9:41 am

As stated in the meeting, this is just not a comparison of what other municipalities are doing, an economist who has done this for many municipalities not just ours, will look at the work that is being done in each area see if user fees are needed, if they don’t exist, assess the cost then assess how much should be charged, while also looking to ensure that all necessary legislation is also being followed. Then are also going to establish a framework of how it should be managed moving forward (which means a consultant will not be required again). Sounds simple but it isn’t. But I’m sure the so called experts on here will say differently even though they’ve never done it, will claim they have.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 12:55 pm

Is it not reasonable to expect department managers to be knowledgeable about the legislation that affects their department?
As you have alluded to, a direct comparison across other municipalities is easy – doesn’t take a lot of time. You just need to identify a couple of metrics that qualify the comparators and fill out a spreadsheet. Add a few Excel functions and a lot of the math is done for you. What do you think your economist, 3 years out of Brock University is going to do?
Did anyone try to negotiate this contract or do you all pay sticker price on your cars too?
I have had to pay for many consultant reports because organizations like the Town of Cobourg require them. Let me tell you – never have I been provided formulas or specific methodologies that I can use in perpetuity following my dealings with any consultant. Why would they give me that kind of IP? Why would I ever need them again? That’s not a great business decision on the part of the consultant.
If you read the response to the RPF, they are essentially telling you what they are going to do. Anyone with an engineering, math or business background could take that response, consider the town workings, create a mathematical formula and apply it.
I understand that we must make something that costs $91K sound really, really complicated. It just isn’t.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael Sprayson
Concerned
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
17 August 2022 1:31 pm

Since you have all the answers I’m sure you’ll fix the town.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Concerned
17 August 2022 2:51 pm

Well – I’m not claiming to have all the answers and I’m not sure how my previous comment suggests that to you but, I am willing to put my name out there and try – better than simply remaining frustrated and concerned.

Last edited 1 month ago by Michael Sprayson
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
17 August 2022 3:14 pm

I certainly don’t have all of the answers either but I don’t hide behind anonymous postings! Concerned, who are you? Are you a town employee or councillor?

Concerned2
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 August 2022 8:47 pm

Neither, I’m a resident who has many friends who work for the town and know how hard they work for us and I get tired of people bashing them.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned2
17 August 2022 8:52 pm

Concerned, your name would help to provide you with credibility.

Consultants are hired by council on the recommendations of town staff rather than being hired by staff. There is blame for all.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ken Strauss
Concerned2
Reply to  Ken Strauss
17 August 2022 8:56 pm

Thanks but no thanks, why make myself a target when my opinion differs from most on here. Have a great night Mr. Strauss.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Concerned2
17 August 2022 10:01 pm

Regardless of anonymity anyone who makes erroneous or unsubstantiated comments is a target.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
17 August 2022 6:35 pm

On top of this the Towns Planning and Engineering Depts . make developers do their studies . The Town has NO idea as to the services capacities available through our existing infrastructure here is a recent Quote from Engineering to a developer after Pre Consultation meetings and 2 yrs of design & planning meetings .
” Its not up to the town to know if Capacities exist for your proposal rather its up to the Proponent to Demonstrate to the town that capacity is available “

Liz
Reply to  Marie
18 August 2022 11:54 am

Agreed! We are COBOURG, not some other municipality. Let’s do what is right for COBOURG! Why not ask the good people of Cobourg to answer important issues that the town can’t answer on their own.

Guess who
17 August 2022 9:18 am

It is interesting to note that the town clerk and CAO had no problem establishing a $160 fee for parking violations without Consultant help. It is also interesting to note that our Mayor has been around as Mayor and Council for many years and never pushed for any review. Suzanne is correct in stating that the Consultant will take up a lot of town time to do their study. Did they indicate the time and commitment on the town’s side? What if the consultant comes back with recommendations will the public be able to provide their feedback and will only 2 or 3 folks show up. At least the ladies stood their ground to challenge the proposal. We need folks with business savvy on Council but the likelihood of new folks on council is slim given to lack of interest in this town aside from the usual 3-4 folks on this site that seem to have all the answers but unwilling to run for Mayor or Council. Am also surprised that at this time their are no other candidates applying for the Mayor’s position.

concerned
Reply to  Guess who
17 August 2022 9:24 am

Yes there is town feedback as part of the process. Oh I’m sure Councillor Chorley is about to put in hat in the ring why else would she wait until the last minute if she was just going to run as a councillor again. They recommended the fine rates again people staff recommends council approves, if council thought the 160 was too high they could have said we are going to drop that to X. That how this works.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 12:24 pm

Why assume Councillor Chorley wants to run for Mayor? Perhaps she has had enough. Have you ever thought that it’s difficult being an educated person, seeing so many things happen that you disagree with, and not having the votes to do anything about it?
I don’t agree with all the issues Councillor Chorley chooses to champion but I always appreciate her thoughtful approach. She comes prepared. She asks questions. Her educational background is often more appropriate than some of the consultants we hire.

And, the previous comment had nothing to do with the amount of the fine, it was about the fact that the user fee decision was made without the aid of a consultant. It can, in fact, be done.

Concerned
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
17 August 2022 1:25 pm

You don’t need a deep dive to determine if a parking fine is too high or to low 🤦‍♂️

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  Concerned
17 August 2022 2:57 pm

You’re right. You don’t. You just have to make a decision. Hopefully, you can justify it with some data or experience and stand behind the consequences. The point is, that a decision to change the fee, regardless of the amount was made. Good for them. The parking ticket, no matter the fee, is a source of revenue. I’m optimistically inferring that the clerk or the CAO took the feedback from the waterfront survey and made a decision to try to offset some of the cost concerns of maintaining the beach made by residents and did so with a mechanism that is within their ability to change. And to think – all without a consultant to guide them.

Concerned
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
17 August 2022 1:33 pm

Just an assumption about someone who is highly motivated and shown she as aspirations for more.

Guess who
Reply to  Guess who
17 August 2022 9:50 am

Oh … I forgot to mention that the Consultant stated in their proposal that they will work closely with the Town’s Project Manager …… wonder who this will be …. Hopefully not another consultant. Will the CAO capture staff time spent on this project including her own. I would estimate that the overall cost will be doubled if you include consultant and town time ….

concerned
Reply to  Guess who
17 August 2022 10:02 am

Or imagine all the staff time lost on day to day operations if they attempt to do this themselves. Imagine the slow down in the planning department then.

Guess who
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 11:12 am

Well guess what …. If they move forward with the engagement then they will have to commit to providing their time ….. that is part of the contract ….. maybe we need a breakdown of number of staff at the town and what they are working on ….. no mention of any opportunities within the town.

cornbread
17 August 2022 8:50 am

Could be we need a Consultant to review if Cobourg needs to hire Consultants to do the work that our well educated (??? sometimes I wonder) staff should be capable of doing. I often think we have a lazy bunch operating Cobourg…guess what…stick to the basics, we don’t need special sauces on our meals, just good nutrition. Our town is trying to be too much to too many. Cut the frills, get away from all this equity-diversity stuff (he-him, she-her etc.) Make educated decision and live or die by them. Don’t hide behind “Consultants” to protect your jobs. Looks like Deputy Mayor Seguin is always willing to put her stuff on the line…cheers for that!

concerned
Reply to  cornbread
17 August 2022 9:02 am

Lazy, if you only knew the amount of overtime directors and managers worked you would be shocked and all they get at this point is one week for it. I spoke to one director one day and with attending council meetings it was over 20 days of overtime in a year, never mind the coming in early and leaving late. So great they get two weeks lieu time starting next year but it doesn’t come close to covering the overtime they do. Those who whine and complain about Town staff have no clue how hard they work on your behalf and all you do is whine and call them lazy, you should be thanking them for working so hard to ensure your town doesn’t cease to operate. Unless you want their job and all the hatred from people like yourself that comes with you should be thanking them or step into the line of fire and face all the hatred they get, nice world we have right now!

cornbread
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 9:16 am

Too Many Meetings, many a waste of time in the end…too many e-mails…cover Y-A.

cornbread
Reply to  cornbread
17 August 2022 9:25 am

I never said “Hate”. That’s a nasty word.

concerned
Reply to  cornbread
17 August 2022 9:41 am

No but your tone displays it.

Just a thought
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 1:01 pm

Tone, when reading text is implied by the reader.
It’s much safer to respect the rule that there is no tone in text.

Concerned
Reply to  Just a thought
17 August 2022 1:34 pm

Okay lazy do nothing

concerned
Reply to  cornbread
17 August 2022 9:30 am

Maybe, but they still have to attend them, you clearly have no idea what this staff goes through on a daily basis, you should seriously ask someone one day and have your eyes opened to how horribly people in this town treat them.

Michael Sprayson
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 1:03 pm

I do believe that, BUT – go to Home Depot or Tim Hortons and ask the staff working there. They get treated the exact same way and are compensated a lot less for it.

Informed
Reply to  Michael Sprayson
18 August 2022 8:03 am

People deserve to go into work and be treated respectfully regardless of where they work or how much they are paid.

Kyle
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 9:22 am

Overtime? Non union staff are well compensated in their salary. Check Sunshine list. If they want to punch a clock perhaps they should look at another career. The Director that chose to whine to you certainly shows their lack of professionalism.

concerned
Reply to  Kyle
17 August 2022 9:45 am

They didn’t whine Kyle, I asked a question and matter fact they said it comes with the job. So before you make statements like your last one you shouldn’t make assumptions, you have no clue who initiated and what was said. You have shown the lack of professionalism by assuming what was said/not said in a conversation you weren’t even privy too.

Last edited 1 month ago by concerned
Kyle
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 11:29 am

If they said it comes with the job why did you post it in the frame work they are hard done by….councillor

Concerned
Reply to  Kyle
17 August 2022 1:37 pm

Sorry not a councillor not even close, again assumptions! I posted it as example of them not being lazy as one writer claims.

Mr Bigley
Reply to  cornbread
17 August 2022 11:51 am

l agree with the writer – Susanne has “the bull by the horns” and seems to be able to try to justify all the consultants – l wonder if the town could/would send out a message to some of the great retired professionals living here – this is a harbour of knowledge that l am sure the retirees would love to be part of and woudbringwith them some fresh thoughts . – I dare council to try???

Sandpiper
17 August 2022 8:34 am

If we are paying for another study I think it should include some aspect of Departmental effectiveness and function and performance . After they may be JACKing up the fees
on developers , Taxes on properties , applications for what next
So why should we not expect performance, guidance , and prompt responses from these departments its the very least we should expect for our $$ fees .
There is No one working in these departments at this town .

concerned
Reply to  Sandpiper
17 August 2022 9:14 am

Your right planning is down almost 50 per cent of their staff so you will have a hard time getting them to answer the phones.

Cobourg taxpayer
16 August 2022 5:19 pm

Perhaps a CAO should have been hired that actually had a degree in Business Administration instead of sociology, psychology and social service worker.

Concerned
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
16 August 2022 5:32 pm

Right because business people have never screwed up towns cities or countries.

Informed
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
18 August 2022 8:06 am

A psychology degree may help when dealing with alot of negativity?

Old Sailor
16 August 2022 5:14 pm

Did I miss seeing a user fee for the non-resident beachgoers, on the list of fees to review and consider? Or is that too taboo a subject?

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Old Sailor
16 August 2022 5:28 pm

It’s impractical.

Marie
Reply to  Wally Keeler
17 August 2022 9:15 am

… a lot of government facilities don’t find it impractical. Thinking of Provincial Park day passes, Conservation areas etc. where significant costs are incurred to maintain, clean, improve etc Where there is a will – there is a way….

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Marie
17 August 2022 10:27 am

Where there is a will – there is a way….”

That is a throwaway notion sans merit. Charging a user fee for the non-res folks is impractical. No consultant with a brain would recommend all the requirements to extract $$.$$ from the beach.

Conservation parks do not have segregation costs, Such a Cobourg beach plan would require segregating residents (free) from non-residents (fee). A security perimeter would have to be constructed and maintained. Cobourg residents will be required to show proof of residency to a staff employee before they can have access to their own beach. Btw, security perimeters are not known for their attractiveness.

All of that can be done if there is will, but, luckily for Cobourg, there is insufficient will to carry the day on that nonsensical project.

Marie
Reply to  Wally Keeler
19 August 2022 9:09 am

…. others have found ways without fences and guards etc.
just check out how they do it on many European beaches…..
But it was not invented here (like so many other things) so it’s not good…

Florence Fletcher
Reply to  Old Sailor
17 August 2022 9:06 am

The new parking fees are a form of user pay fees that should work as they are monitored and fines issued if not paid.

Informed
Reply to  Old Sailor
17 August 2022 10:44 am

I believe its built into the rates for parking and tickets without stirring up the user fee debate for use of the free beach. Smart move.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
17 August 2022 11:07 am

Exactly. I had made that suggestion years ago on this blog. Stiff the ‘visitors’ with parking fees. The purpose of non-resident visitors is to extract as much $$$$ as we can to the benefit of the Town.

It does not benefit the Town to fence off the beach to set up gates for people to pass thru while checking residence status. How many gates should there be? At what cost? Each one has to be staffed. At what cost? Is there a fence elegant enough for our premier beach? at what expense? Cobourg residents will enjoy showing their residency status each and every time they enter the beach compared to the utter freedom of today, of Cobourg’s entire history of free access to the beach, and going forward, the tradition of free access will continue to prevail.

Interestingly, not a single person who has ever advocated for beach user fees for non-res folks on this blog has ever had the gumption to ever make such a proposal to Town Council. Why is that?

Last edited 1 month ago by Wally Keeler
Conor
Reply to  Wally Keeler
18 August 2022 3:12 pm

Stiff the visitors with parking fees? Aren’t you already doing that? Should you not be consulting the consultants? After all they are stiffing the town for 91,000.00. By consulting the consultants they might have an answer as to how to “stiff the visitors”.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Old Sailor
17 August 2022 10:48 am

It has been reviewed and considered many times over the years, especially on this blog. It’s not taboo, it is just that the notion was rejected after review and consideration by many. It is obvious to me that you have not reviewed or considered the implications of the notion yourself. Flesh out your notion and let’s see if it has a chance to fly. Tell us how the Town should implement such a policy as extracting a user fee from non-res beachgoers.

Informed
Reply to  Wally Keeler
18 August 2022 8:14 am

How about bar codes at strategic locations that people can voluntarily scan with their phones to donate to offset cost of lifeguards, as an example? Ill admit its a bit of a goofey idea but im starting to see this at Tim Hortons and a few other places. Cost would be minimal to implement and if its marketed in a way to entice beach users to contibute a small amount voluntarily then it may be something to try on a trial basis.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Informed
18 August 2022 11:58 am

The ‘goofy idea’ has some merit. This new messaging appears on Shoppers check-out screen as I key in my info, then poof, “Wanna donate to good cause #374?” NO!
then I can proceed to pay my groceries. There is an annoyance I feel there.

It might be worth three machines located at the boardwalk entrances and one at the canteen where they already got their cards out. Could such a system be set up and maintained for under $5,000? And hopefully, the charitable receipts will be in excess of that.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Wally Keeler
18 August 2022 4:08 pm

Something related using QR codes on signs is being tried in Vaughan. They use it to help people book facilities, notify of a need for trash pickup, etc rather than get donations. See https://www.municipalworld.com/feature-story/vaughans-smartparks/ for a few details.

Marie
Reply to  Wally Keeler
19 August 2022 9:13 am

….European beaches solved this decades ago – and it works well for locals and visitors…

Dunkirk
16 August 2022 2:46 pm

The budget is merely a guideline and was outdated within minutes of approval because of rampant double-digit inflation that has continued through this year…..a dollar last December’s budget is now worth 90 cents…etc…
With that said–i would approve of the Consultant and related expense. The Staff need to know this information in order to make decisions and future recommendations. Give them the tools. What needs to be measured then, is what the Staff actually do with the information and they need to be held accountable to some measurable result. What will that be? That is worth a debate.

We seem to be debating what colour of silks that our Jockey should wear when we should be letting him/her choose their uniform and watching to see if he/she can actually steer the horse to victory. (sorry for the cheap metaphor but it’s Queens Plate week….Go baby Go!…)

Concerned
Reply to  Dunkirk
16 August 2022 2:50 pm

Just remember the action will be at the direction of council any increases or non-increases would be at their direction. The fact that a study has not been done in over 12 years should be of bigger concern.

Bryan
Reply to  Concerned
16 August 2022 7:28 pm

Concerned:
It will be just another study gathering dust on a shelf somewhere in Vic Hall.
For example, the 2013 transit fee study was shelved and finally dusted off in December 2021. It will be partially implemented over 2 years. Better late than never, perhaps.

concerned
Reply to  Bryan
17 August 2022 9:05 am

Get your head out of the past Bryan you seem more intelligent than that. The new staff have been actively using the Service Level Review and the Org Review so to put the sins of the past on new staff give me a break.

Last edited 1 month ago by concerned
Bryan
Reply to  Dunkirk
16 August 2022 7:17 pm

Dunkirk,
The Town doesn’t use the budget for management purposes such as performance assessment. It is simply a tool to calculate the property tax levy.

You noted “Staff need to know this information in order to make decisions”
Having watched “council” for some years, I have rarely see staff make a decision. They boot everything up to Council for decisions. Nice and safe that way… no responsibility or accountability. It’s always Council’s fault….they made the decision.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
concerned
Reply to  Bryan
17 August 2022 9:20 am

So you make a throw away statement like this Bryan show some examples of where staff could have made the decision and not sent it to council for approval and not what you think they could have approved on their own but what council would have allowed them to approve without bringing to council. Your like a certain someone down south who just throughs out statements to whip people up and make them angry.

pdr
16 August 2022 2:31 pm

Yet another example of wasting taxpayers money on consultants. Unfortunately it is easy to spend someone else’s money and provide a convenient diversion of responsibility as well. CAO Vaughan states “Directors are not experts in this don’t have the capacity.” What do they do and why are they needed at all? Thanks to Séguin, Beatty, and Chorley for doing the right thing!

Concerned
Reply to  pdr
16 August 2022 2:44 pm

Well let’s take a simple look PDR, planning is short 3 maybe 4 staff so they are barely keeping up with the work they have. If you read the presentation by Watson you would note that even a basic business or accounting background would not allow them to do the deep dive they are doing. Maybe that is why the company is Watson and associates economists I’m sure none of them are experts in that area. And if you also read the report they are doing a deep dive in all departments not just planning as suggested. Unfortunately the two councillors and deputy mayor want to make it an election issue. They chose not to acknowledge the obvious increase to planning fees that will come out of this will cover the cost of this report in one year. Makes me wonder when Councillor Chorley will announce her run for Mayor since she only has a few days left. I guess she is looking for that big surprise of the campaign.

Concerned
Reply to  Concerned
16 August 2022 2:45 pm

Oh and they haven’t done a USER FEE study in over a dozen years as stated in the meeting so it is long overdue.

pdr
Reply to  Concerned
16 August 2022 5:25 pm

It is remarkable that the Town has been able to survive these past 12 years without the guidance of Watson & Assoc.

Concerned
Reply to  pdr
16 August 2022 5:35 pm

Well had a user fee study been done 12 years ago I’m sure it would t have cost 90k and they would had a roadmap much sooner than now.

ben
Reply to  pdr
17 August 2022 8:12 am

“Directors are not experts in this don’t have the capacity.” 

And the people on this board are?

concerned
Reply to  ben
17 August 2022 9:07 am

Always Ben and they always say there are many that would volunteer to assist but I never see them put there hands up, they simply like to criticize town staff. This when they aren’t in the chairs and have no idea the crap staff deal with on a daily basis. The verbal threats etc.

Last edited 1 month ago by concerned
Concerned
16 August 2022 2:31 pm

Reading Watsons presentation the deep dive is for all departments.

Art
Reply to  Concerned
17 August 2022 9:26 am

The simple answer to “too many consultants” is YES! I can’t believe that we would hire a CAO with those formal qualifications alone. Surely a background in corporate management or at least a Business Deg. would be basic for screening up front. Having a background and experience in measurement and organizational studies, should be an “essential” requirement.

concerned
Reply to  Art
17 August 2022 9:52 am

You say that, but then why do 95% if not closer to 100% of municipalities use a consultant? Even the city of Toronto uses a consultant for these items. So I guess every CAO should be fired even those with Business degrees since they all use consultants. I even seen many private large corporations that bring in consultants. Then you have an unbiased view not view of those who are in the system.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  concerned
17 August 2022 11:54 am

Most issues have multiple sides and consultants are usually quite flexible in choosing which view to favour. Typically a consultant’s view is what their employer wants their view to be.