As a result of the KPMG Service Delivery Review, Council has asked Staff to report on possible efficiencies in several departments and at the next CoW Council meeting, CAO Tracey Vaughan will deliver several status reports starting with the Works Department. Specifically, this will cover Parking, Fees for Storm Water Management and Transit. The intent is not to reduce “services” and their associated cost, but to get more revenue. These projects were previously the subject of Council discussion and decisions and Cobourg News Blog reported on them – see Links below. The key point is that in each case, Council has approved increasing user fees. However, revenues still mostly fall short of costs. Below are summaries of the Staff reports for each initiative.
Extensive changes are planned – both Downtown and on the Waterfront – and some of it has already been implemented. Pay and Display machines have replaced many meters and Council has approved large increases, especially in the waterfront area (in season). The net effect is expected to be an increase in parking revenue by an estimated $1,000,000 per year. Although not included in the staff report, this is expected to be required to fund a multi-storey car park on Covert Street. This may be required sooner than later since it’s rumored that the Quigley lot (corner Second and Albert) has been sold so will be unavailable for Parking. The current lease expires December 2022. Background of the Quigley lot is provided here.
Storm Water Fees
The issue is that the cost of Storm Water management throughout the Town is not covered by any fee to “users”. The cost of sewers is included in our water bills but not stormwater. The immediate problem is that this cost is not known so a consultant has been hired to help work this out. It’s expected that Council will be asked to approve a fee schedule in 2022 so we will likely see a new item on our water bills in 2023.
Fares charged come nowhere near the actual cost of Transit but if the service could be improved, it’s hoped that there would be more riders and therefore more revenue. A trial of an on-demand system has been done over the past year and small increases in fares approved. Staff were also recently asked to report on the possibility of carrying children under 12 at no fee but their report says that there’s no way to be able to estimate costs or revenue impact.
Currently, the trial is using three small busses instead of the usual 2 large ones. So far this appears to provide better service.
Although a decision is not likely anytime soon, some statistics are available:
Combined Wheels and Conventional services between June 14 and February 15:
- Average trip duration: 9.91 minutes
- Total completed rides: over 24,000
- Total completed passengers: 27,000
- Total shared rides: 13,000 (56% overall, 63% conventional, 21% Wheels)
- Average ride rating: 4.72 [presumably out of 5?]
- Driver on time performance: 94.35%
The next step is to decide on what should be implemented and get Council approval. There is no indication of when that might happen.
Overall, it’s good that staff are working on these projects as a result of the KPMG Service Delivery Review and it’s also good that there are progress reports.
- Little Public Interest shown in Parking Changes – 7 Feb 2022
- Parking Rate Increases Planned – 18 January 2022
- Staff Report by Public Works on Parking
Storm Water Fees
- Cobourg Transit Changes – 10 Feb 2022
- Transit Fares to Increase – 2 Dec 2021
- Staff Report by Public Works on Transit