Mayor Cleveland Answers Questions

Mayor Lucas Cleveland started last night’s Town Hall meeting with a longer than promised review of the last 12 months. The meeting was held in the Gym at the CCC where about 400 chairs had been provided. The room was about half full. Lucas was nearly finished when an audience member interrupted because she wanted to get on with the question period. Lucas said there were 60 online questions – I counted a total of 18 questions were asked/answered including maybe 4 of the online questions. Key points made by Lucas were that: 1) Council needs to start with a strong foundation; 2)  He was elected on a mandate of change yet people do not like change; 3) People want more services yet don’t want the higher taxes needed; 4) 80% of costs are for mandated services so Council cannot reduce those.

But the purpose of the meeting was to address the concerns of citizens – Lucas promised that the new recently adopted Governance model included more Town Hall meetings. So what were the concerns?

Questions asked

Stormwater fees – several residents have large properties (10 – 30 acres) on the edge of Town and have now been billed up to $15,000 a year for Stormwater – yet their stormwater is not managed by the Town.  Lucas responded that the fee is the most equitable way to collect the cost of providing stormwater management for the whole town. The alternative is higher taxes for everyone. He said the fee is not a user fee. He seemed to give no hope that the fee would be reduced for these cases. If setting the fee were to be changed to consider property details, more staff would be required.

Mayor Lucas Cleveland

Managing Homelessness. Questions ranged from asking why action is not taken, to why not use the old Golden Plough Lodge, plus why not let NGOs help. Lucas pointed to action taken when encampments were on Town property at the West Beach but said that the Town does not have full jurisdiction over the Provincial property at Brookside. In response to a question of how to communicate concerns, Lucas suggested contacting the Provincial representative – MPP/Minister David Piccini. He also said that Council has no jurisdiction over Police operations – they take direction only from legislated laws and the Attorney General. And in response to questions about re-using the Lodge – Lucas said that 13 years ago a decision was made to demolish it and since then many related decisions have been made knowing the building will be demolished. Further, changing this decision would be costly and other County Councillors would likely not agree. Re NGOs, Lucas said he wanted professionals to help. He also pointed to the 21 campers who refused help.

Would Council agree to a ban on using drugs on Town property – like now done at the Library? Yes – the audience applauded this.

Are all councillors on the same page? No, and that’s good, we need a range of views. Further, it’s not Council’s job to manage operations, they just set policy.

Closing properties added to the problem (of homelessness). Lucas said that Council does not make these decisions, professionals do.

Why no Council meetings in July and August? To allow staff to take vacations.

Question was about the promise by Lucas to not raise taxes. Lucas said he did not make such a promise – he said he would work towards that. Once in office he found that over the years, staff had “trimmed all the fat”. There were no savings to be had. To avoid a tax increase he wanted to know which services should be cut.

What’s being done to fix transit? This needs more funding but Lucas does not hear that the community is ready for that.

Accessible parking should be free. The Town is currently doing a comprehensive study of all parking issues.

Why do we no longer have Lifeguards on the Beach? It’s a cost saving and it’s also a liability issue.

Other comments

In the process of presenting accomplishments and answering questions, Lucas made some other comments.

He has been told “nothing has changed in a year” – yet there has been a lot of work “laying the foundation” – notably a new strategic plan and a new governance model. The Strategic Plan is a tool to be used, not a political document.

People don’t like change but some is necessary because of growth so he needs to be willing to be unpopular. There is entrenchment on both sides of the political spectrum – low taxes vs more services. There is a need to compromise.

Nobody asked about the new Transition House, nor the Customer Service desk in Victoria Hall’s lobby, nor short term rental.  The questions listed above seem to be the hot issues of the day.

Resources

Town to now start Billing Stormwater Fees – 9 October 2023 – it seems few people knew about this before they got their LUSI bill.

Links to Event

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Rational
2 months ago

I just downloaded my Lakefront Utilities bill issued in December 2023 and the Stormwater Fee does not show up this month, whereas it has for the past two months.

Does anyone else see the same – or have seen any information on why the change? I didn’t see anything on their website.

KalaM
2 months ago

Heard a rumour down town that Trent University has purchased Brookside Youth Center. Can anyone confirm this rumour? Would certainly be a positive solution to the encampment problem.

Kevin
Reply to  KalaM
2 months ago

I’ve heard a rumour about using Brookside for a college. Just a rumour for now. The encampment may have to move but just moving it doesn’t solve the problem.

Dave
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

I hope the Trent University rumour is true. Also may benefit in younger people selecting to remain in Cobourg. Should the encampment move to a Town property they are then subject to the by-law infraction offense here and could be dealt with once again and not become so entrenched.

KalaM
2 months ago

The mayor is concerned that most of the comments are negative in nature and he would prefer a one-on-one conversation with him.
John Drapers blog is an excellent site for communicating with others and sharing ideas, frustrations and different viewpoints on subjects that are important to the majority of the people in this town. It is comforting to know that we are not alone in our concerns.
Are the citizens of Cobourg really wanting change in this town?
This term of Council, 4 PREVIOUS COUNCILLORS WERE VOTED BACK INTO OFFICE, the same ones who voted last term for a PAY RAISE AND THE PRESENT SWR TAX STRUCTURE which is outrageous. This term they voted for A PENSION AND HIGHER TAXES(Approx. 12%) which included the SWR which is really unfair to the taxpayers of Cobourg.
Does anyone really think this council is working for the citizens of Cobourg? It seems we are just getting the same OLD STATUS QUO. ( higher taxes, more staff at town hall, less services and nothing to show for our tax dollars)
To prove a point, one of the previous mayors of Cobourg said if you don’t like the way we run things the road out of town is over there, much the same as what the present mayor is saying.

David
2 months ago

What would happens if we refused to pay our tax bills, sewer charges, not to mention county garbage tag charges. We all know the answer to that question. The mayor is over his head They are breaking the law he needs to state that and push for action. When they open the new centre what happens when they refuse to move to that centre. Providing support is important but laws must be enforced for the good of all our society.

Miriam Mutton
2 months ago

Here is how Guelph deals with SW fees:

Residential stormwater fees are calculated by measuring the hard surfaces that cause rain and melted snow to runoff into the City’s storm sewer system – roofs, driveways, and parking lots etc.
The average amount of hard surfaces on residential properties in Guelph is 188 square metres. We call that Guelph’s Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) and we use it to calculate monthly stormwater fees for all properties.

  • All residential property owners and tenants who pay electricity, water, and wastewater bills pay the same monthly stormwater fee.
  • Owners of multi-residential properties are billed based on the number of units in the building.

Industrial, commercial and institutional stormwater fees are based on the size of the hard surfaces on their property, divided by Guelph’s Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) of 188 square metres, and then multiplied by the monthly stormwater rate.

https://guelph.ca/living/environment/water/water-rates/#:~:text=Industrial%2C%20commercial%20and%20institutional%20stormwater,by%20the%20monthly%20stormwater%20rate.

Some fine tuning looks to be deserving of review here.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
2 months ago

Miriam, the Guelph scheme is vastly better than what Cobourg has done but even their system is unfair to some. The Guelph approach assumes that all water falling on “hard surfaces” has to be disposed of by the town. Depending on the property — large property that is mostly grass/gardens, property owner has large rain barrels or pond, property drains directly into Lake Ontario, etc — little water may go from the hard surfaces to the town’s disposal systems.

We must immediately pause Cobourg’s current stormwater fee structure and have a serious discussion of how we can change things to be fair to everyone. The solution is certainly not to tell people to sell their homes and move to an apartment if they cannot afford the current gross inequities!

Last edited 2 months ago by Ken Strauss
Kevin
Reply to  Ken Strauss
2 months ago

The Guelph scheme does seem to be more fair. Perhaps the, hopefully, few people who have outrageous SWM fees can have exceptions made. The fine tuning Miriam mentions. I agree with Ken, the solution is not to tell people to move. Sell their property and the new owners will have the same problem. At least we are not some countries where we would not be told to move, we would be moved by government, at least not yet.

Rob
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
2 months ago

Clr. Mutton – This is where you start speaking up for the taxpayers. This is where you start representing the people who elected you. This is where you listen and take action. All of you know what the right thing to do is now you just need to do it. Eliminate this program – a program which only 5 (large) cities have undertaken. It is hurting taxpayers at a time where people are barely hanging on.

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

Can we do better? I think so. And which 5 municipalities are you referring to?

https://www.auditor.on.ca/en/content/reporttopics/envreports/env16/Urban-Stormwater-Fees.pdf

From above 2016 Auditor General Report:

“Funding stormwater management out of municipal property taxes, the most popular method used in Ontario, simply has not worked. It has been too difficult for municipal councils to allocate the necessary funds, in competition with other priorities. Even more important, funding stormwater management out of taxes gives no incentive to public or private property owners to limit the runoff and pollution they create, and to protect the
natural areas and green infrastructure that absorb stormwater.”

Kevin
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
2 months ago

Does Cobourg’s SWM fee provide an “… incentive to public or private property owners to limit the runoff and pollution they create …”? Properties are charged based on size of property regardless of the amount of runoff.

Rob
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
2 months ago

Clr. Mutton one of the concerns I have with your answer is the lack of empathy and the sense of helplessness you seem to demontrate – it is almost as if you believe that you aren’t part of the solution. You are not a pedestrian. You are not a bystander. You are involved and need to play a role. Your constituents, the taxpayers of Cobourg, are telling you as well as the rest of Council to pause the program because it is damaging – what is your answer? I think so isn’t an answer.

Why don’t you tell me what other comparable sized municipalities have implemented a SWM plan and how our plan compares to the overreach in taxation that Cobourg ratepayers are facing?

Rob
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

edit:

“….how our plan compares with the overreach in taxation that Cobourg ratepayers are facing?”

Miriam Mutton
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

Rob,
‘I think so’ as in ‘In my opinion, we can do better’. And, it is less about what other comparables of the same size are doing, it must be more about what is the most effective way to achieve goals for our particular circumstances here in Cobourg, I am doing my research and will make any recommendations known in due time.
And, you did not answer my question.

Rob
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
2 months ago

Clr. Mutton I think we both know the answer to your question: Hamilton (pop. 580,000), Mississauga (pop. 829,000), Richmond Hill (pop. 208,000), Brampton (pop. 603,000) and London (pop. 405,000).

IMO: Cobourg was far too eager to implement a new source of taxation. In general, there is very little (virtually nothing) that is either progressive or leading edge about Cobourg and how the municipality conducts business, so why this? Why did we think we needed to be one of the first communities out of the gate to tax its citizens?

gwt
Reply to  Rob
2 months ago

I totally agree we need to scrap this tax grab… how do you think people are going to survive this winter when food, rents are sky high. Its OK for the people that don’t live pay check to pay check but for seniors and low income people this is a bit much. Come on politicians get your act together and speak up for the voters!!

Frank Aiello
Reply to  Miriam Mutton
2 months ago

Miriam, thank you for looking into how Guelph handles their storm water. This is by far more fair and equitable for all residents in that everyone would pay the same amount. I am willing to pay my fair share even though my property does not run off water to the storm sewers. Can you bring this up at council meetings to have the Guelph system implemented. I understand sanitary sewer rates are to rise as well and this current system for storm water is to be implemented for that also. Please work to find an alternate system for sanitary sewer charges because if it isn’t working and fair for storm water then it certainly will not work and be fair for this. I don’t see why the current charges for sanitary sewer based on water usage cannot still be used going forward – if more money is required to cover the sanitary sewer then increase the cost of water for this which would be fair to all residents. Thank you.

Scottie
2 months ago

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that Bill 23 passed earlier this year by the provincial govt. put the “development” fees for new constructions on the municipality, NOT the developers. Not sure if this would include the water/sewer upgrades that you’ve mentioned but I think it does. As far as the SW charges, – yes they do seem to be unfair to many landowners … hopefully with enough public outcry, adjustments will be made. Unfortunately when this whole SW issue was passed (sneaked through?!!) by the previous Council in June of 2022, people didn’t realize the implications and so it passed without questions being asked by the poor schmucks (i.e. US taxpayers!!) who are footing the bill.

ben
Reply to  Scottie
2 months ago

There were plenty of questions put to Council but Council ignored them.

Dam_213
2 months ago

I just finished watching the town hall. The SW issue and how the mayor handled it was just plain terrible. I was unaware that people in our community are being so negatively affected by this fee. The mayors answer of if you can’t afford it so move was disgusting. These people may have owned that property for years or generations or maybe just bought it. Generally people work hard to obtain and maintain that land. To put such a fee on them is borderline criminal. The mayor said he could not sleep at night if he felt he was not working for the residents of Cobourg. He seems to sleep ok knowing people will most likely lose their properties/homes. The mayor states if they sell that property in the future to a developer tax payers will have to fund infrastructure fees. Developers pay for upgrades in sewer and water in developments. It is not even assumed by the municipality until construction is over. With the residents of that new development a tax base grows helping to pay for treatment of water, sewage and storm. Plus also saying we are doing this now so “if” they sell in the future, isn’t that some kind of Minority Report type of situation. There was so much in that town hall that left me shaking my head in disbelief but the SW really stuck out.

Rob
2 months ago

Full credit to the Mayor for placing himself in the eye of the storm – I suspect he thought he could smooth things over but likely underestimated the vocal frustration, vitriol and preparedness of the audience. While disappointing for attendees, the strategy to deliver what essentially equates to a live podcast for the first 2/3 of the event, probably saved the Mayor even more discomfort. As a rule, when you know you’re entering a hostile environment, its best not to spend 60-70 minutes telling everyone about the great job that everyone is doing. Attendees came to have questions answered and to be heard.

Another observation is that the Mayor has a tendency to quickly threaten nondescript service and program cuts as the only way to save money. Firstly, if taxpayers had more details about what program(s) would be cut, for how long, what the savings would be, where the savings would be allocated, property tax implications, etc… perhaps we would support them. The immediate threat of service and program reductions when challenged is a scare tactic employed by inexperienced politicians and its designed to muffle the noise.

Secondly, telling taxpayers if the don’t like/can’t afford it, they are free to move isn’t constructive. Also, comparing affordability in Singapore to affordability in Cobourg is like chalk and cheese. Singapore is a world case city of 5.5 million people and Cobourg is Ontario’s own Mayberry, except with a homelessness and drug problem. These comments seem to demonstrate a lack of understanding, empathy and community connectedness – these are important characteristics that a Mayor must have and show. I think they were made out of frustration as the event wasn’t going so well.

While the Town is broken, all is not lost. Tax increases aren’t going to help, in fact they are only going to hurt. Being the first small town out of the gate to charge unprecedentedly high SW fees doesn’t do anything to support taxpayers, in fact it incredibly damaging. Town leadership playing the victim isn’t useful, in fact it erodes our confidence in Council.

What we need are critical thinkers, problem solvers, challenging and differing opinions with a singular focus. People who ask themselves before making any decision, is this in the best interest of the taxpayer? If it isn’t, we do not proceed. If it is, then you must be able to explain how.

Dave
2 months ago

Christmas is coming where there are needy people. However I also thing of the encampment video displaying donated food destined for the garbage. Not good enough for these people who haven’t the ability to support themselves. I hope they will be barred from the food bank and it be publicly known as there are people that appreciate AND need what is donated.

downtowner
Reply to  Dave
2 months ago

Also a cache of food left abandoned in the north alcove of Trinity Church…reported in Today’s Northumberland…Why take something you are going to discard without thought for who may have used it? No one, now,could have use of these items as we are often warned of the potential harm of the substances used by our league of town travellers and now food that is potentially dangerous must be destroyed……what a waste.

Rational
2 months ago

IMO the Town Hall confirmed Cobourg’s downward spiral since the Oct. 2022 election, and only going to worsen over the next 3 years without changes in Leadership and/or strategies. 

Since the election, Enablers/organizations i.e. TweakEasy, GWC etc. identified weak leadership,/enforcement, realizing here’s a free pass to do what they want, no repercussions.  Tiny cabins became heavily pushed for drug addicts and is sure to resurface, Drug Tents started, Henley Arcade Friday Night Drug/Pizza parties took 5 months to stop, lawless Encampments started (West Beach, William Street, (WS) and now Brookside (BS) , WS and BS implemented security, BS eviction notices ignored, Division Street/Chapel Street/Warming Centre Triangle – a drug addict nightmare and unsafe zone, BS sends in clean up service as residents won’t, Peterborough implements no drugs in Public Places while CPS/ Mayor just wait and watch, shovel swinging on King Street, bus stops are the new drug hangout, residents say they are afraid – but Leaders say they shouldn’t be – and it goes on. 

Tuesday’s meeting was to be 30 minutes on the Mayor and Council but became 75 minutes until asked to stop – he did – reluctantly. The Q&A period swathe Mayor continually shuffling papers and pulling out scripted answers as a topic was mentioned; before the full question was known. 
The future looks dismal and reconfirmed at the Town Hall .  The top Leader suggests everyone is to blame but him; i.e. IO, other outside Governments’ policies, previous councils (re SWF but I am sure this too), says he has no authority – can’t even ask the Police Chief to patrol certain areas when asked by a retired Durham police officer – that’s for the Police Chief – but points out an “exceptional” relationship with the Chief. The Mayor suggests he really has no powers or authority – only 1 vote and has to be careful what is said as the Enabling Groups are watching – and it goes on. 
 
In my view not gettin a lot of confidence from the podium. The problems Cobourg is currently facing are far beyond the capabilities and qualifications of existing Leadership. Is an early election needed? 3 more years is too long.

Beachwalker
Reply to  Rational
2 months ago

Why don’t you run for mayor? You seem to have all the answers.

downtowner
Reply to  Beachwalker
2 months ago

Facetious or serious question? Remember this is a site for opinions and offering armchair suggestions for all to digest, with the hopes of seeing all sides of issues……….and maybe calming anxieties with possible comfort

Rod
2 months ago

We really need the new SWM tax to improve present overall sewage systems. Sooner or later all that B S coming out of City Hall Administration might (God forbid) spill over into the SWM system.

Sandpiper
2 months ago

The City of Kawartha Lakes just announced a 4.5 % tax increase and it covers a huge area
and No hidden additions like Cobourg’s Storm Water Tax / Fee .
Apparently we have no Money to Fix, repair or add New with out Cutbacks and Higher Taxes
yet we have had 2 or 3 years not of Higher than average / other communities that Cobourg likes to compare itself to Tax Increases . Are We that Broke or Mismanaged and over staffed ??
the Mayors speech good , bad or indifferent make it sound like we are just Plain Broke !

Dave
Reply to  Sandpiper
2 months ago

Or is the fact the district of Kawartha Lakes is much more populated than Cobourg? Able to slice the pie of taxes thinner amongst the populace? I asked Ken Strauss this but have not received an answer on populace vs individual tax responsibility. Anyone able to answer this?

Kevin
2 months ago

I was disappointed for what seemed to me like ‘political talk’. Mayor Cleveland mentioned Cobourg voted for change and used that to justify work on ‘foundations’ and the Strategic Plan. Yet when it comes to reducing tax or changing past decisions it is all business as usual. Taxes go up ever year because all the fat is gone. Really? We can’t change a decision that is 13 years old because it would cost money. Then why would we spend money on a new strategic plan if we aren’t going to make changes?

The seemingly unwillingness to consider special cases when implementing the SWM fee was also disappointing. If parts of these properties really have creeks and can never be developed then sever that part off, donate it to the town with conditions. The current owner has full access and enjoyment of the property for as long as they wish or until the remaining property is sold. The donated property becomes protected public wet land. The SWM fee is only paid on the other part of the property. Maybe this is a terrible idea but at least it could help make the SWM a little more fair.

There were likely no questions about the new location for Transition House because it is so new. If the beds at Transition House are not full now then do they really need more space? I think it is a good idea, in some ways, to not need to use motels as overflow for TH, making a larger building a reasonable goal. However, some of the people using TH and the current warming room do not get along very well. Having the option of separating certain people by putting them into motels can be a benefit. Purchasing a building costs money. Demolition of a building costs money. Maybe using an existing building would be a better idea.

If Council cannot direct the police then who will enforce rules about not using drugs on town property? The police have not enforced laws about public use of illegal drugs. Will we need to hire more by-law officers?

In a few decades we have gone from 1/2 day Kindergarten to 2 years of all day with public daycare. There is a limit to how many services governments can provide by continually increasing taxes. I think most of us would be happier if Cobourg just did the basics and did them well.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

Maybe the Police are not doing anything on several levels is due to the fact they are out of money as well Their hands will be held out very soon looking for more Tax Dollars .
But when you have such a Large Portion of the Force receiving full pay to stay at home with PTSD what can you expect . PTSD in Cobourg ??

cornbread
Reply to  Sandpiper
2 months ago

Like I said…Switch to OPP and Volunteer Fire Dept. and save a bundle and perhaps lower the tax rate…Time For Change!

ben
Reply to  cornbread
2 months ago

Really please cost it and I might take the suggestion seriously

Rational
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

Based on the 2021 Census and Cobourg’s 2023 Budget, the Cobourg Police Services cost per household is $765 ($6,994K net police budget/9,135 households).

The OPP establish its Municipality cost based on number of households in the municipality. Based on two OPP links I pulled up, the average Municipality cost per household is $347 per month and over the last 7 years varied between $350 – $362. OPP have a basic household charge and then add on for other services selected. The following links takes you to other supporting information, including an excel report of all Municipalities (296) in Ontario and their costs over the past 7 years under.

If Council/Finance Department doesn’t have its interest perked enough to request an RFP and see if Cobourg can be better served then they need to explain why. This could offset the SWM tax.

https://www.opp.ca/index.php?id=115&entryid=56b7d20e8f94ac9f5828d198

https://www.opp.ca/index.php?&lng=en&id=115&entryid=58179f628f94acf555bef561

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rational
2 months ago

Rational, you’re ignoring the cost of catch-and-release. Based on Cobourg’s costs that must be far more expensive that actually jailing criminals. Or do I misunderstand?

ben
Reply to  Rational
2 months ago

Hate to tell you this but a proper comparison level would the level of service offered by the OPP. If you want to phone in the theft of a lawn mower and then never hear about it again then go for it. Rural service is different from urban service – compare apples to apples and then get back to me!

Rational
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

That’s exactly why an RFP needs to be undertaken. With factual cost data and services provided then an apples to apples comparison can effectively be carried out.

downtowner
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

ln my experience of late with issues dealing with the night wanders…same service from our urban police force.

Sandpiper
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

I DO NOT AGREE
The OPP are operating in many other communities with out all these Complaints and Sympathetic service . They Have a Much more diversified Band and Width of experienced people and resources to draw from .
The come in do the job once and do it wright .

Rational
Reply to  ben
2 months ago

Actually in Pete Fisher’s video of Nov 7th at the 4:10 mark (below) during a Town Inspection on the same date a newish looking lawn mower is outside a residents’ tent – and Police were present for this video. So I guess this mitigates your point.

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2023/12/08/town-of-cobourg-officials-conduct-a-walk-thru-encampment-looking-for-safety-violations/

Last edited 2 months ago by Rational
Dam_213
Reply to  Kevin
2 months ago

I like your idea regarding the SW. I thought his attitude towards those people was just horrible. Easy for me to like it, I’m sure people who have owned that land for possibly generations may feel different. Reminds me of play by John B Keane The Field. However I like that it could be at least an option in an otherwise terrible situation.

Dave Chomitz
2 months ago

Give him credit for trying – he walked into the lions den. HOWEVER – I found the sewer tax explanation hypocritical.

First… We have to institute this new tax that will be a tremendous burden to some because the decisions that were made in the past were not proper and they need to be corrected.

Then …We can’t save the Golden Plow because 14 years ago they decided to tear it down.

I get that no one has a crystal ball but the ability to adjust should be consistent as time goes forward.

I was also surprised that there were only 5 communities in the province to adopt the sewer tax switcheroo and Cobourg was by far the smallest of them all. I think staff has a complex, they always compare Cobourg with larger cities.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave Chomitz
2 months ago

Dave C,

Perhaps the reason was to avoid a 12%+ tax levy increase.
Interesting that LC says the SWM FEE is not a user fee. At least someone acknowledges that the SWM fee is a TAX

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave Chomitz
2 months ago

Dave, Lucas’s comments on the new stormwater “fee” are far more deceitful than you imply.

Lucas claimed that we need the new tax because we didn’t spend enough in the past. However, he didn’t mention that those properties most affected by the huge new tax were overcharged in the past. They paid for the stormwater management of the rest of Cobourg in their property taxes yet got absolutely nothing for their tax dollars.

Then he has the audacity to repeatedly claim that the new system is “equitable” and that those with larger properties can afford to pay thousands of dollars more than is fair. If they can’t afford to pay the additional taxes then they should move to an apartment!

Dam_213
Reply to  Ken Strauss
2 months ago

Agree 100% I was disgusted by his attitude towards those land owners. Could not be more out of touch. Lucky for him in his one bedroom apartment it won’t affect him.

Liz
Reply to  Dave Chomitz
2 months ago

I could not attend the Town Hall meeting. One question that was not asked was “What is the new purpose for the Golden Plough?” What is so important that people are living in their cars when they could be in a warm apartment. Answer that Mayer!

small town Ontario
Reply to  Dave Chomitz
2 months ago

https://cobourginternet.com/council/the-new-golden-plough-lodge

Northumberland County Website- Construction updates- Phase 2- Demolition of existing GPL Oct. 2024
Phase 3- completion of site campus, Oct. 2024- 89.7 radio, Aug. 2017-“The campus-style site plan reveals a park-like setting with accessible trails connecting the new facility to County headquarters and Halcyon Place as well as surrounding amenities.”

It sounds like a wonderful place to spend those final years.

Kevin
Reply to  small town Ontario
2 months ago

Perhaps is will be a wonderful place for the few who get in. What about the ones on the outside? The people who cannot afford private care, have mental illness, etc. and no place to live. What do we do with them? We could build fences and hire security to keep them out I suppose. Could they park in the parking lot, or setup a tent in the ‘park-like setting’? Should we be building ‘wonderful places’ for a few or trying to house as many as we can with limited resources? In the meantime our federal government has brought in new policies. One is to provide menstrual products in all washrooms, including men’s rooms. Menstrual products are for people who menstruate, we used to call these people women, and girls who reached puberty. Military washrooms and some universities, schools, and other institutions will have these available. Don’t forget to add in the cost of the disposal bins in washroom stalls, labour to install, and vandalism. Expensive for something that is not needed. We do need housing. The federal minister of housing has said we have homeless people because there is not enough affordable housing. Does that mean we need the private sector to build more ‘affordable housing’? The private sector supplies 96% of housing. Do we need more government regulations to make this happen? Some people think the housing crisis is in part due to decades of government policy. Do all levels of government need to provide more housing? In Cobourg we know some of our encampment residents recently had housing they destroyed. The cost to supply housing for these people is extremely high. How much longer are tax payers going to keep paying for those who are not working and do not like the options we are currently providing them? Too bad our housing minister and immigration minister didn’t have a little talk about where all the immigrants are going to live. More people puts more pressure on the housing market driving up prices. If only there was somebody in charge of these ministers, some kind of super minister or prime ministry, to coordinate things. At least we now know there is very little Cobourg government waste, because our Mayor told us. Will we soon have tampons available in men’s washrooms?

Mrs. Anonymous
2 months ago

I watched the event on line. Mayor Cleveland could have used a good editor for his speech at the beginning. For the most part however, I found it interesting and well done. He addressed difficult issues fairly (imo) and in a forthright manner.

Concerned citizen
2 months ago

I dont buy the cost saving/liability argument in regards to not having lifeguards. This summer we toured quite a few “beach towns” and they all had lifeguards!.
Cobourg should be proud of its beach and as such should be properly staffed. Concerned citizens should picket the beach this summer to demand lifeguards.
Is the mayor going to wait for an incident at the beach which surely trigger a liability to Cobourg, even without lifeguards? This needs to be fixed as this is an embarrassment to Cobourg and the mayor who needs to promote a safe Cobourg including the beach!

Bryan
Reply to  Concerned citizen
2 months ago

Concerned Citizen,
The lifeguard liability issue is counter intuitive. Having life guards at the beach is an admission by the Town of liability. Not having lifeguards and posting “use at own risk” places the liability where it belongs, on the beach users

Kevin
Reply to  Concerned citizen
2 months ago

There was a drowning last summer. There is no way to know if lifeguards would have made a difference. To a certain degree people need to take responsibility for themselves and accept that things can go wrong. The only guarantee in life is there will be an end. Oh, higher taxes, that is practically a guarantee as well. Maybe we can sell our relatively new lifeguard stations to recover some of the costs.

Marie
Reply to  Concerned citizen
2 months ago

If having lifeguards is a liability issue, then why did we spend all the money to replace the huts a few years ago? and why are we placing them on the beach making it look as if we had lifeguards.
I admire the strategic plan behind these actions …..

Rational
Reply to  Concerned citizen
2 months ago

Lucas Cleveland explained at the Town Hall that lifeguards make are a potential liability to the Town (along with his real life experience). But the Encampment fire methods are not a liability to the Town? Toronto shut down an Encampment for this very reason two weeks ago. Oh and the taxpayer cost for the fire department having to make this call?

Cobourg’s nightmare continues.

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2023/12/07/video-cobourg-fire-department-responds-to-unauthorized-fire-inside-tent-at-encampment/

Last edited 2 months ago by Rational
Cobourg taxpayer
2 months ago

I give the mayor credit for trying this approach. It’s unfortunate and unfair to the public his presentation went way past the promised time resulting in few questions being answered. I challenge all players in this game, and it has become a game, to hold a question/answer period with following people on a panel: Chief Vandegraaf, Warden Mandy Martin, Dr N Bocking HKPR, MPP Piccini, MP Phil Lawrence, MPP Kinga Surma Minister of Infrastructure Ontario and all members of Cobourg Council. To make things really interesting let’s have Missy McLean, David Sheffield and a representative from the Legal Help Centre included as well. Open microphone, limit 1 question per person with a time limit of 5 minutes per question/answer.

Spotted Piper
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
2 months ago

I agree that it took guts for Mayor Cleveland to have this conversation at this time. Communication is a necessary duty of responsible civic leadership. What I heard is that The Mayor based his conversation on facts. For example money spent in a municipality is mandated by other higher levels of government. I think we should acknowledge that the Mayor took steps to bring us together. If we are together there is a better chance of understanding each other and being tolerant of various perspectives of thought AND coming up with new ideas to make things work. It was important for me to hear the positive initiatives of Cobourg Council and Northumberland County, The initiatives now have some visibility. I noted that some of these are 300 housing starts compared to last year, a system court to address traffic violations so the province does not need to get involved, environment. The list was long. And another point I heard is that the municipality “has lanes to operate in”. I would like to have heard Infrastructure Ontario and others talk about what help they can offer with the current social issues so the “lanes” merge. Also if there is a lane to operate in, is it possible to move out of that lane to start collaborating at a combined provincial and federal level? So some further follow up communication is necessary. The town hall sessions and maybe community forums held in smaller groups could work. Is it possible to take some learnings from Mayor Olivia Chow, Toronto. Or course Cobourg does not have the same leverage as Toronto, however Mayor Cleveland may get some insight from Mayor Chow. I came away informed and appreciated the shared learnings that everyone brought to the table. That is how we make positive differences, listening and learning.

michael hanlon, cobourg
2 months ago

The onstage screens said the mayor would speak for 30 minutes. After we’d been subjected to more than an hour of his bafflegab and gobbedygook, the lady begged him to get to the rest of the agenda. Her plea, understandably, was greeted with wide applause. He yielded the podium, not with what might be regarded as good grace. His answers to questions later were muddled, repetitious and almost unintelligible.

Lucas Cleveland
Reply to  michael hanlon, cobourg
2 months ago

Hey Michael Hanuon.

Thank you for the honest feedback. I definitely could have done a better job and have gotten lots of feedback in how to improve it next year.

Fair enough ! I’m really sorry you found it so bad and that I wasted your time. Not the intention but intent doesn’t matter right…. It’s the results. Perhaps come in and let’s have a chat and give me a second chance. I tend to do better one on one. I will try and keep the gobbly gook to a minimum this time.

The Same offer goes to all of you and it’s especially extended to all of those on here who only post negative comments and criticism or those who continually give these comments support. Perhaps if one or two of you found something to be positive about it would shift the perspective for yourself or others . another day.

No judgement of course. I understand there is always lots to complain about and you are all free to continue spreading the negativity. I know that it’s very contagious, easy to relate to and is something that happens when you no longer feel safe or in control. I also know how hard it is to remain positive and focus on being grateful.

But what I might so humbly ask is that when you feel you need to be negative come on down and vent, if you need to yell or just speak to me it’s okay. I would much prefer you share the negativity, vitriol and complaints with me instead of posting it all on here where it seems to just foster more and more negativity,

I didn’t last 10years on an oil rig by not being able to take a little negativity and frustration. I really don’t mind and would be happy to try and help. Life is too short to always be complaining.

There are always choices we can make. I mean Susan Sequin left town because she was worried …. That’s a woman who I can respect because she doesn’t waste a second complaining….she takes control and goes out to find happiness.

NRoD
Reply to  Lucas Cleveland
2 months ago

I think a thank you, and a congratulations are in order for having the stones to get up in front of all of those miserable people to answer tough questions and give us our first Townhall with you as our new mayor.

It deserves a great big thank you for willing to be the pin cushion for the town for the night followed by a lengthy budget meeting the very next day at county Council.

I would also like to say thank you for standing up for Town Of Cobourg about the concerns around the new proposed shelter at 310 division. It is very refreshing to have a community leader such as yourself take such a stand for your community.

Thank you: Jeff McLean

Founder: No Hard Drugs, Let’s Talk: Cobourg

NRoD
Reply to  NRoD
2 months ago

And I would like to correct the author of this blog, as my question was not to ban public Drug use on town property.

My question was word very specifically as not to ask for a blanket approach to the addiction crisis, but rather just a small amendment to the byelaws to give people safe places to use public services.

Here is my ACTUAL question:

Cobourg residents are increasingly concerned with public drug use and the paraphernalia, that gets left behind in our bus stops, playgrounds and public parks putting our community and children at risk every day.


With the rules of the Cobourg library, being recently updated: selling, using, or being under the influence of drugs is not permitted on library property resulting in a six month ban. 



The library is definitley taking this problem seriously and applying action!



Will you the Mayor of the Town Of Cobourg consider following suit by putting forward a motion to ban selling, using, or being under the influence of drugs in any public bus shelter, park or playground using municipal by-law services to enforce these rules.

Last edited 2 months ago by NRoD
Sandpiper
Reply to  NRoD
2 months ago

I agreed only a couple of weeks a go the local police picked up a woman for Public intoxication and took her away and charged her
Why not Equal application of the Rules For all
Public Intoxication is just that and is also Self inflicted .
Whats the Difference

Rational
Reply to  NRoD
2 months ago

Is your request specific to just a bus shelter, park or playground; or is it to be broader to include all Public Locations i.e. store fronts, sidewalks, parking lots, Victoria Hall, Washrooms etc.?

I believe a ban should apply to all Public Locations. Peterborough Police Services have done this, but Cobourg Police Chief VandeGraff continues to take a “wait and see” approach. Why is the Mayor not doing his job as a Leader and pressing CPSs?

Last edited 2 months ago by Rational
NRoD
Reply to  Rational
2 months ago

Currently just bus stops playgrounds & parks, see how it works, if it is successful then add to it accordingly.

Fines are not necessary but giving bylaw the authority to simply move them along so it isn’t to be taken as an attack against any particular group it is just giving the community safety & security in these particular places.

We don’t respect smoking cigarettes or the butts on the ground so why would we tolerate any drug use in these places primarily for children & seniors.

Sandpiper
Reply to  NRoD
2 months ago

Your sympathy has not solved a single problem on our streets
over the last 3 yrs

New to Cobourg
Reply to  NRoD
2 months ago

I agree. Congrats on being able to weather the storm of negativity and complaints. There is no magic answer to fix the problems that Cobourg and Canada are facing right now. But we don’t have bombs landing at our feet, we have clean water and freedom of speech.

downtowner
Reply to  Lucas Cleveland
2 months ago

Susan Sequin may not be the best example or may not appreciate being a center of focus as to how she handled her worries
Packing up and leaving town would definitely not be a viable option for the larger part of our Town’s population ,or , for that matter, any population as this action requires a safe place to go to, a livelihood available, transport at the ready and the understanding that this venture may include leaving behind all that is familiar and loved..family included.
Also somewhat of a financial security blanket.
Most of us citizens are mainly striving for transparency as Cobourg Taxpayer above suggests and less of the switcheroo as Dave mentions. We can take it on the chin without the double speak.

Aleta
Reply to  downtowner
2 months ago

I was thinking exactly the same thing (actually her name is Suzanne) and wonder why a past Councilor would be mentioned in that context. Is there an insinuation that we should stop complaining, and move if we don’t like what is happening here in Cobourg?

downtowner
Reply to  Aleta
2 months ago

I apologize for the mis spelling…no disrespect intended, followed the Mayor’s text.
Just like the answer to the waste water tax…too much for you ..sell.
Don’t like living in a town allowing open drug use, indulgence of vandals, loitering , outbursts by drug compromised individuals, violence in the streets, encamped protesters…..move
Strong insinuation that many of our citizens are appearing privileged…not true, just proud of our home and Town and want to remain so.