There were several contentious items brought to the regular Council meeting on Monday, 27 February. Apart from the budget and Councillor remuneration issues previously reported, there was also a major issue raised in correspondence from the Police board plus there were motions about 1) the action in response to the delegations on homelessness, 2) extending the sunshine list to the Library and 3) approval of affordable Housing CIP grants. In 3 of these 4, the vote was divided – more details follow. There were 13 items of correspondence which also had to be dealt with. It’s now clear that this council is quite divided: as commenter Informed says: “The Mayor might not be my favourite person but I certainly didn’t want a ‘yes’ man in there that bends over for every special interest group”.
Concern by Police
The Cobourg Police Board sent a letter to Council that said:
Due to misinformation disseminated by Mayor Cleveland and Mayor Ostrander to the public and Whereas neither the Board or Cobourg Council was aware of the County’s motion regarding the 2007 County Wide Policing Study update; and Whereas this has had great effect on our Staff and other segments of our policing model in Cobourg;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Cobourg Police Service Board does not support any further study on County wide policing.
Report on this in Cobourg News Blog.
Councillor Bureau was very supportive and moved that “Council does not support any further study of County wide Policing”.
In response, Mayor Cleveland emphatically said that he supported Cobourg Police and absolutely did not want OPP to take over. In fact, he wanted a County force to replicate Cobourg’s Police. When asked by Nicole Beatty why did he not first consult the board or the Council, Lucas responded that the subject was not on the Agenda so there was no advance notice. (The subject came up in budget deliberations). When the subject was raised, he was simply doing “big picture thinking” in voting for the review.
Adam’s motion passed with Lucas and Councillor Barber voting against. It will have no effect since the County motion has already passed.
Action on Delegations re Homelessness
At the CoW on 22 February, there were two decisions by Council: 1. To prepare a statement that would go to the County and the Province – this was deferred to the regular Council meeting on 27 February and 2. That the decision on sleeping cabins on Furnace street be moved to the April 3 CoW meeting to give time for consultation. The statement per resolution 1 was provided as promised and is available in Resources below. Basically it’s a motion by Nicole Beatty that says that there is a homelessness crisis in Cobourg and calls for action by the County and the Province. The motion passed 6 -1 with Mayor Cleveland opposed. He was opposed because the County is already acting on this issue.
Lucas asked that the Library board publish salary information on any of their staff paid $100K or more – as is done for all other public service employees in Ontario. His motion passed with Adam Bureau, Nicole Beatty and Aaron Burchat voting against. The result will be a request to the board, not a legal requirement.
Community Improvement Program (CIP)
As reported in an earlier Post Council were asked to approve $108,627 in CIP grants in the 2022 intake. Council voted to approve these with no debate. In addition, Council were asked to approve the committee to review and decide on grants for the 2023 intake. Instead Councillor Mutton made a motion that this task be delegated to Staff. Her motion was passed.
Correspondence – Agenda item 11
Here is a summary of correspondence received:
- Item 11.1 – letter from Police – see above
- Item 11.2 – letter from LUSI suggesting that the CCC needed additional generator capacity to properly serve as a warming or cooling centre in cases of emergency. Councillor Darling responded with a motion to ask staff to “report back with updated plans and recommendations by November 2023”. His motion passed.
- Item 11.3 – letter from Municipality of West Nipissing opposing Bill C-23. Received for info purposes.
- Items 11.4 thru 11.8 – letters asking for support on a request by the Town of Petrolia asking that conducting School Board Elections in Ontario be the responsibility of School boards and not Municipalities. Brent Larmer explained why school board elections are conducted by Cobourg but also that he does not see it as a problem for Cobourg.
- Item 11.9 – The Township of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh wants support for its request to the Province to improve the accuracy of the voters list. Received for info purposes.
- Item 11.10 thru 11.12 – letters from citizens wanting action re homelessness. Received for info purposes.
- Item 11.13 – letter from Glenn Yearwood. Does not feel safe walking the streets of Cobourg and “would be glad to know what your long-term vision is for addressing issues of safety in Cobourg.” Received for info purposes.
Council handled these letters by first extracting 11.1, 11.2 and 11.4 for individual consideration then passing the rest in a “Consent Agenda” process where they were all “Received for info purposes”.
- Letter from Police Board to Cobourg Council
- Sleeping Cabins Update – 22 Feb 2023 – see addendum for link to download statement by County on actions on affordable housing.
- Statement by Council on homelessness (in a motion)
- Video of Council Meeting
Anyone know the reason that OPP are now in charge of the shooting ?
Did the shooting happen outside of Cobourg or is this case too complex for CPS ?
Reading the Mayor’s monthly email regarding the sleeping cabin proposal it says “ …. In the coming weeks, Green Wood Coalition will engage with local area residents and the broader Cobourg Public, …….” It’s interesting that the people who will profit from the proposal are doing the study. I would have expected staff or an arms length entity to undertake a job like that. I think The results can be predicted.
The issues of PTSD claims and over 30% of front line officers off work, the duty to accommodate officers who are scarred of the dark, etc., etc., etc. were not the huge issues of today were not there in 2007. Yes, no police service is immune but larger size ones can absorb it better.. Bottom line OPP is much cheaper as they can spread the pain out. Similar sized municipalities with OPP are millions cheaper. Yes, they may have longer average response times but they are prompt in emergencies and have the resources. Small police service empires have priced themselves out. The play electric mustang is just but one example here.
How many PTSD cases are there currently on the Cobourg Police Kyle. I recall the mayor mentioning PTSD claims but he provided no stats on the number for Cobourg vs the other police forces. Do you have the stats Kyle on PTSD comparitively with the other forces. How many for Cobourg?
Or is this just a ploy by the mayor to have a cheaper less responsive Regional Police Force. Show me the Stats.
Don’t have headcount stats. the Chief or the CPSB likely does.
The Chief has indicated that the cost of these PTSD claims is $1M+ and upwards of $2M depending on which costs are included.
The CPSB (or the Chief) needs to make a detailed report on the issue. Headcount, costs and what is being done to resolve the issue.
That is a wide spread don’t you think Bryan – 1 – 2M with no head count provided or firm detailed report. I think the CPSB and County would bear the bean counting responsibility and production of a report with details. As a study was done in 2007 and it was then decided to keep the current model it would seem to indicate that a Regional Force would cost more now then it did then compartively. Myself I still think a local force with more knowledge of the area they are policing produces better protective services.
The police cost and service issues have been around for some years.
It’s interesting that all of the Northumberland municipalities report high satisfaction with the police service they receive.
Then you compare the costs.
At 2018, Cobourg police cost about 30% more than Port Hope and as much as 150% more than some smaller Northumberland towns, yet all are satisfied with the service received.
A further piece of information that would be of public interest would be a financial report detailing the cost of Cobourg’s police service is a “service bid” format. This would show the cost of “core policing” as defined by the Police Act plus the cost of the various “extras”. This format is similar to the OPP’s service bid. I believe such a report would show what police services Cobourg residents are actually paying for.
Bryan – got woke by a noisy car outside – to reply – Had a brother who lived in a town east of here under NHCounty, bored and retired he joined the auxillary police force there, he advised me the town was plagued by local youth and had many break-ins, vandalism and petty crime, no town police force. Visited another town further east under NHCounty. In driving their side streets, many small homes and run down homes, their lakefront populated with old residential structures, on their main street I found the local people very friendly yet of obvious much lower economic status many missing a good portion of their dental work, governed by the OPP. When recently married I took a 2nd job for weekends for extra money delivering pizzas and Italian food in a downtown then working class neighbourhood. I always went home with folding money from my tips. A couple of years later I did the same but for a place whose customer base were professionals – lawyers and such. I went home with a few clinks of silver only from tips. A typical tip was zero or small change – 11 cents from a well appointed home. I would go home thinking of that old joke. What does a 500 pound canary say? CHEAP!! Cobourg has many very wealthy homes – drive down that street off Burnham – the dead end one to the lake, mansions! All the swanky condos that have gone up at the lakefront. Areas of downtown with big beautiful homes. What I found is many of the well heeled really want their service. It is what they are used to. But they don’t want to pay for it. So I don’t know about people in other NHCounty towns being happy with their police… Read more »
Dave, consider that those in “mansions” along the lake pay dearly for services due to their extremely high property taxes. Why shouldn’t they have high expectations?
You miss the point.
Quite likely, Dave. What was the point that I missed?
Police will not release numbers claiming privacy, operational……the Ontario Ombudsman’s report cited 2021 OPP numbers in the 30 percent area. As pointed out by Dave the numbers the Chief mentioned here are alarming.
I do not support the OPP taking over, but a combined County Police Force makes absolute sense. Two Empires merging should reduce the costs in both the top echelons and support costs. Basic economics 101.
The number of ” on the beat” officers should probably not decease, but 30% of them on PSTD is a joke.
The public needs to have transparency on this PSTB epidemic. What, why and how do officers suffer from this. There have been many, many rumours that this is connected to our wildly overpaid Chief of Police in Cobourg. There was dissent from all corners both inside, and outside the force, when he was appointed. Pete Fisher the local reporter upset VandeGraff, because he asked him legitimate questions years ago, when he was deputy, and Pete was “forbidden” from being up close to accidents/incidents when they happened and this stifled “freedom of speech” and “freedom of the press”.
Check with Pete Fisher. He posted it at the time on his Facebook page about 4-5 years ago.
Any light that anyone can shed on the PSTD issue, and VandeGraff himself, would enlighten us all.
Interesting we haven t heard anything against the amalgamation from Pt Hope Council or the Pt Hope Police Services Board?? Is Cobourg the outlier here?
I have found the response time for the police in my immediate area has been great along with follow up to resolve some people plaguing the neighbourhood. They were here at night and in the day patrolling, getting out of their cars and doing a walkabout. The problem of homeless? people breaking into cars and other mischief is now almost non-existant. Additionally I like the fact of a Town police force, Regional removes the aspects of knowing the community as well as that of the local force. In other cities people have reported they often have much longer wait times. Would a Regional force or a pressed OPP be able to provide such service? I don’t think so. The bus shelter was also cleared out nicely without further habitation,
Section 4(1) of the Police Services Act
Police services in municipalities
4 (1) Every municipality to which this subsection applies shall provide adequate and effective police services in accordance with its needs. 1997, c. 8, s. 3.
In Cobourg that means it is up to the The Town Council representing the citizens of Cobourg to determine the policing they want.
-Cobourg can have their own stand alone police service.
– they can amalgamate with Port Hope.
– they can disband CPS and contract out to either Port Hope or the OPP
-Or they can work with other County Municipalities to have one unified police service.
In this case that means the OPP for Northumberland County. I think it would be too much for either Pt Hope or Cobourg to scale up to meet the county needs.
What is being suggested by County Council is similar, but not exactly the same, to what was done in Oxford County when OPP took over all policing in the County except for Woodstock.
Perhaps you and the others that advocate the OPP or a Regional Force should look at the conclusions of the last study instead of just crunching numbers. The main conclusion from Cobourg’s discussions was that the OPP even with a dedicated service could not guarantee the same service response time as the CPS of the time. This was because although the OPP said they would Staff Cobourg with officers they could not guarantee that they would not pulled away for County policing.
So maybe all the debate has the wrong premise – we should be talking about the level of service Cobourg wants first, not the amount of money it wants to spend, before we go any further!
Ben, like everything there are tradeoffs. What is the relationship between response times and cost?
Specifying a required response time without knowing the cost implications is backwards. If reducing the response time by a few seconds costs millions of dollars then we should save the money. On the other hand, if paying for a local force reduces response times by an hour then most would decide paying more is warranted. Almost certainly neither extreme is the case.
Let’s get all the current facts before we reach any conclusions about what approach is best.
Sounds like your satisfied with the service your receiving and the cost for that service?
Any suggestions on what the level of Service should be or not be?
As for your statement,
… although the OPP said they would Staff Cobourg with officers they could not guarantee that they would not pulled away for County policing.
What you neglect to say Ben is that officers that are in the County could be pulled into Cobourg.
Policing is such that you send resources where they are needed.
Your idea that officers stay within in boundaries that exist only on paper doesnt work in an effective policing model.
Criminals dont respect boundaries and boundaries arent walls
“As for your statement,
… although the OPP said they would Staff Cobourg with officers they could not guarantee that they would not pulled away for County policing.”
If you knew how thinly spread the OPP is between accidents on the 401 and contracted municipal areas you could be shocked. Just ask your friends who live in the rural areas how often they see the Police and how long the average response time is. There are, as Bryan says above pros and cons to everything. Just how much are you willing to pay. But first ask yourself what you want in the way of response times.
“Any suggestions on what the level of Service should be or not be?”
According to some on this Board a lot better than we have! I would be quite happy to stay with the status quo – something like less than five minutes.
Do you think the OPP could do any better than this – https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2023/03/02/two-people-arrested-following-armed-robbery-in-cobourg/
When you say 5 min response times in Cobourg are you referring to when any citizen calls in for service or just high priority calls -like the one you referenced in your reply.
Because there are people in Town who would say their calls have gone way past 5 mins, some who could attest no officer showing and only getting a phone call.
Lets be honest all police services Opp Toronto, Durham, Cobourg triage their calls for service and stack calls in order of priority.
And why because of staffing issues due to illness, injuries on and off the job, PTSD and a generation mind shift towards a more balanced work-life balance
I believe there are some Cobourg OPP officers that would respond definitively that they could do just the same.
Ben as much as you may want try to make this a competition between Services, the goal for all involved is to get the best policing for the best buck. No matter who the service is
“Just ask your friends who live in the rural areas how often they see the Police and how long the average response time is”
Ben, why not ask your friends who live in the urban areas serviced by the OPP how often they see the Police and how long the average response time is, as that is what we might expect.
There are workarounds ..OPP would just have to hire more staff to meet adequate response time. 16 years later….Almagamation should be at least revisited and not dismissed out of hand.
Would OPP or an Amalgamated Force responded in time to have captured these two armed robbers two days ago on Wednesday night?
I am not certain they would have, which is why Cobourg requires its own dedicated Police Force.
Are the two still in custody or have they been released?
What response Times — Cobourg is we will show up to take a report
Ask any of the residents that have called along the water front .
south of King over the last yr . We need them to show up when the Crime is taking place . No matter how large or small .
Yes there are Priority situations but I have to say our Condo Board has been very dissatisfied and have resorted to Private Security and More cameras for both protection and in order to keep our Insurance rates down . Wonder if a Tax reduction is in order .
The Cobourg Police Service us the civilian governing body of the Police Service. Its responsibilities include establishing objectives for policing in consultation with the Chief of Police, setting policies for the effective management of the Police Service, and hiring and monitoring the performance of the Chief of Police.
The Board does not determine which Service polices the Community. That decision rest with the citizens of Cobourg thru their elected council.
Attributed to Sir Robert Peel is the following statement:
“To recognize always that the power of the police to fulfill their functions and duties is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behavior, and on their ability to secure and maintain public respect”
I would suggest the Board respect the responsibilities and role of Town Council and County Council in determining what policing will be in the Town and the County
As I recall one of the issues facing Cobourg when we looked at OPP taking over was that OPP would only take on the officers but not the civilians working for the CPS ( from my recollection 20+ civilians ) …. The severance cost would have greatly impacted Cobourg financially.
Does that 20+ number include the security checks group over at V-13?
In 2015 Cobourg Police closed their dispatch centre laying off/severancing at least 10 to 12 staff and terminating dispatch contracts with area fire services.
Cobourg entered into a 5 yr contract with Owen Sound Police Service for dispatch services, which has been renewed.
So severances did happen after the fact.
The question being if The OPP had the contract for policing, how much would dispatch cost be? Would it be included inthe over all cost?
Could there be a savings of a 1/2 million?
Cost gets spread across the whole of the 7 communities.
This is why and amalgamated county police service needs to be properly and fairly studied.
And who knows maybe the math doesnt work , but to keep going back to a study done 15 yrs ago and saying an amalgamated wont work does a disservice to us all
Council approved 108K for the 2022 intake of CIP grants. “Council were asked to approve the committee to review and decide on grants for the 2023 intake.” Instead Councillors approved a motion to have Staff decide on the grants for the 2023 intake. Do the Councillors no longer want to take the heat for these growing number of expenditures funded by taxpayers?
The Policing Board is pointing to a study done in 2007, 16 YEARS AGO!!. Times have changed and costs are going up for all the municipalities. Time to have a new study done independently from the Police Board which has their own agenda to stay in place. A new study could look at other Municipalities like in areas like York Region that has a police force that handles multiple major municipalities. This issue has been around since 2007 and longer with no movement to reduce the cost to taxpayers. It makes no sense to have two police forces between Cobourg and Port Hope, 11 KM apart.
Sometimes I wonder just how many homeless people are from Cobourg versus others who showed up at our town for a hand out.
…build it and they will come!
With all her good intentions, Nichole Beatty (and her gang) are unwittingly contributing to the unaffordable housing situation by constantly voting to put more strain on the Cobourg Taxpayer!
30% of us are retired! And as Ken previously mentioned – Cobourg’s collective annual salaries are only just over $57k.
Nichole et all vote for the One Root Cause of how people start to lose their homes. They become too unaffordable to live in.
And I stand behind those 30+ residents who do not wish their homes devalued by inserting a Shanty Town that will ultimately be torn down a few years later.
My 2 cents.
I agree with you Kathleen. Critical thinking eludes N. Beatty. She doesn’t see the consequences of her choices.
Wow …. We haven’t had so much excitement for years …. I read in another post that our Deputy Mayor raised the fact the our current Mayor should have let Council know about discussing County policing before doing so …… I remember when the Deputy Mayor (then Councillor) and a former Councillor appeared in Ottawa a year ago at the municipal meetings and made a presentation and surprised our MPP as they didn’t let other Councillors or former mayor know about it …. How quickly she forgot …. BTW. …. Some of the CP Board members have been there for a long time ….. time for a change. I can’t believe that our Police Force and Board would even contemplate looking for alternatives for the Town or County …. Not in their best interest. Looks like our new Mayor has turned over a few stones that were not meant to be turned over.
What’s the old saying….’let sleeping dogs lie’, or ‘don’t stir the pot’…..know what I mean?
I believe some of our New & Old Councilors campaigned on Transparency
any of those Voting against it in the case of the Library salaries .???
I truly do not give a hoot if the CPSB does not support a study of County wide policing. I as a Cobourg taxpayer 100% support a study on this, too much money goes to the CPS as the result of staff growth out of proportion to population growth in Cobourg.
Library staff who are on the sunshine list should be reported to the public.
As far as decisions now being delegated to staff such as CIP I hope that staff is still required to report on decisions made to council and the public so there is transparency and this is not done behind closed doors.
I agree with what you have said, Cobourg Taxpayer. It is time to revamp the CPSB. Certain members have been on that Board far too long. I guess that they enjoy the perks (monetary) of the appointment and that includes counsellors who are appointed as well.
Bill, Councillors no longer receive additional payments for sitting on the CPSB.
Sorry! My mistake.
Cobourg Police Service Board totally overstepped their mandate. Who polices a community is determined by Council not a PSB. Their mandate is policing governance. They need to take off their cheer leader outfits or resign. The Mayor should look at replacing the three Council has the authority to change.
I for one would like to know why Nichole Beatty and gang didn’t resolve the Homeless issues and affordability / sustainability problem that she pushed and campaigned so hard on in her last term . Affordability starts within the Taxpayers pockets . Explanations and accounting
is Mandatory, not an Item to be voted on and Buried .
Cobourg Library employees are paid with our tax dollars. Why should they be treated differently than every other government employee — town staff, hospital staff, teachers, Ontario Hydro workers, etc — in Ontario? Perhaps a more important question is why do Aaron, Adam and Nicole think that library staff should be exempt from the normal rules? Is there a hidden agenda?
Over due library books?🙃
Why does anyone care what people are paid ?
Everyone who wants to see the library employees wage should also post their income .
Also $100,000 in 1996 is equivalent to $190,000 today
When you are a public employee and your wages and subsidies come from tax dollars it is a given that you post when you are on the sunshine list. It is not the responsibility of private citizens to post thei wages/income.
Same reason LUSI has not made public their salaries, something to hide?
Last time LUSI board was at council meeting, they said they would consider exposing salaries and get back to council on it?
LUSI is somewhat different from the library in that it is a corporation apart from the Town, even though the Town owns it as a sub of Holdco. LUSI uses this as a means to “hide” certain info.
That aside, I agree with you and believe that LUSI should be subject to the disclosure rules.
For those of us who do not know…Why do we have LUCI and not Hydro One? Is it more cost efficient to have LUCI? And can’t the Water portion of our bill be put on our taxes like other places? Thanks.
Not Bryan but…
Paying water/sewer fees as part of property taxes would be simpler but unfair. For example, some use far more water than others. Some do not even have sanitary sewers. Property taxes are based on the value of a property but water/sewer usage is not.
The simple answer to your question about why not Hydro One is “It is complicated!”.
Lakefront is a remanent of Cobourg’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) that was readied for privatization around the year 2000 but never sold. Our rates are relatively low so we probably wouldn’t save a lot. A significant factor is that profits on electricity usage (higher than necessary rates) have been used as a slush fund by our politicians and they are loath to give that up.
Libraries are definitely to be included on the sunshine list, not sure why Cobourg is not. This is not a library board decision.
If it’s not a library board decision, then whose is it?
Because provincial policies dictate they are not required to. They can but aren’t required to.
Many towns including Toronto disclose library salaries.
Trick question (but probably relevant to Cobourg): Does the head of Toronto’s libraries make more or less than her boss, Mayor John Tory?
Answer: She makes about 1/3 more than Tory.
Exactly how much does she make Ken? As you quoted Toronto how is it relevant?
The relevance is that it represents the general case.
As for Cobourg:
Do you believe the library CEO makes over $100K?, 125K? 150K?
Should the library staff salaries over $100K by disclosed?
Why or why not?
Looks like the tag team are coming for you Dave. In my view they are representing the CTA in an unprofessional way. Quite embarrassing.
Where do you get the idea that my comments are on behalf of or represent the CTA. Nowhere do I say “representing” or “on behalf of” the CTA.
My comments are mine personally, just as your comments are. Or do you represent some undisclosed group?
Linda has stated it is not a Library Board decision Bryan. Nice to hear from you as well as Ken.
Was checking a sunshine list – call me unrelevent! for another jurisdiction for a person I knew was making over $100,000 – guess what they were not on the list! I don’t look at everything as a deep dark plot Bryan – what I will say I was amazed at how many oversights and errors are made in every day business.
Read the policy individual salaries don’t matter in this case provincial funding does, that is why the Mayor requested and didn’t demand, he knows the policy.
Yes, Concerned, I understand the funding level issue. Aside from it not being required to divulge do you agree that all town staff should be treated equally? If not, why is an exemption for library workers defensible?
No I don’t. If we were treating every one equally then we would get to know every employees salary. But I guess the sharks only come after top earners.