As Dennis Nabieszko has said (see Resources below), Mayor Lucas Cleveland has achieved his objective of getting taxpayer feedback. At the Council meeting on 6 February, there were 5 delegations and 25 items of correspondence. Of these, most were about issues of concern to residents: 2 were about keeping the Centennial pool (1 delegation, 1 letter); 5 were about the Sleeping Cabins in the Memorial Arena parking lot (5 letters); 2 were about the need for more trees not fewer (1 delegation and 1 letter); 1 suggested that more compensation for councillors would be fair (delegation); one asked that Transit be a priority (1 letter). There were other concerns – see the full list below including what Council decided to do about them.
10.1 Deborah Black regarding Cobourg’s Tree Planting Program – she asked for $120K in the 2023 Budget. Referred to budget deliberations.
10.2 Terry Stopps was unhappy about the work of the Committee of Adjustment – Miriam Mutton proposed revisions to the relevant by-law which should resolve his concerns. Miriam’s motion passed.
10.3 Ken Prue asked for free parking at Municipal Lots because of an event lasting 4 ½ hours. A motion was passed to provide parking passes for $8 for all day parking in any municipal lot to be made available to attendees of the event (WHAM).
10.4 Bryan Lambert, asked that Municipal Council Compensation be increased substantially – this idea was referred to 2023 budget deliberations.
10.5 Meghan Thomas eloquently asked that the Centennial Pool not be closed – at least for 2023 pending public debate. She had a petition of over 2000 signatures, almost half from residents of Cobourg and nearby. Council referred a decision to 2023 budget deliberations.
Items 12.1 thru 12.6 were letters from the Province and other councils – they were mostly concerned about Bill C-23.
12.7 Correspondence from City of Brantford regarding VIA Rail Cancellations – they want one train service restored
12.8 Correspondence from Ontario Small Urban Municipalities (OSUM) regarding the Ontario Small Urban Annual Conference for 2023 – announces hosting of conference by Brant
12.9 Correspondence from Northumberland County Council regarding ‘CN Railway Contributions and Impacts on Municipal Drain Infrastructure’ – expressed unhappiness that CN will no longer contribute to the cost of drains
12.10 Correspondence from Barbara and Andrew Buntin regarding the Northumberland Sleeping Cabin Collective – wants Council to find ways to support this initiative
12.11 Correspondence from Theresa Rickerby regarding Public Transit – unhappy with Mayor’s calling Transit a luxury – wants Transit to be a priority
12.12 Correspondence from Jodi DeJong regarding Sleeping Cabins – Jodi supports the initiative
12.13 Correspondence from Keith Oliver regarding Sleeping Cabins – he suggests grouping cabins into one building and locating on recently purchased School playing field property
12.14 Dean Smith supports the Northumberland Sleeping Cabin Collective proposal
12.15 The Canadian Abilities Centre describes a proposed Long Table Brunch event to support Canadian Abilities Association
12.16 Richard and Elizabeth McLaughlin ask for an exemption the Stormwater Management Charges since they do not use any stormwater services provided by the Town.
12.17 Steve Lapp wants more trees not fewer
12.18 Lindsey Nickerson is unhappy with No Parking Signs on Westwood Cres – she needs to park on the street
12.19 Lorie Reynolds-Stroud is unhappy with snow plough blocking driveway multiple times
12.20 Clive Alexander wants to plant more trees plus is not happy with the transfer of costs of stormwater management from taxes to LUSI.
12.21 Jennifer Marani, regarding the proposal for Sleeping Cabins in Cobourg. Against the idea and lives on Furnace st
12.22 Kim Evans, wants Centennial Pool kept.
12.23 Carrie Williamson, regarding the proposal for Sleeping Cabins in Cobourg. Is against the idea and lives on Victoria St
12.24 Kim Greathead, regarding Northumberland Sleeping Cabins at Furnace Street in the Town of Cobourg. Is against the idea.
12.25 Stephanie and Dan Wilson, wants to keep the Centennial Pool.
The numbers are the agenda items – Council voted to accept all correspondence for information purposes. No decisions were made on correspondence items although many would come up anyway in budget deliberations.
Stay tuned for reports on the Budget deliberations.
- Letter to the editor from Dennis Nabieszko about budget feedback
- Cabins proposed to help Homeless – 16 December 2022
- Proposal by Bryan Lambert to increase Council compensation
Regarding the suggested increase of council renumeration, I have a couple of comments:
The report suggested increased remuneration allowing for greater accountability to address growing community expectations. I would prefer our municipal politicians stay true to the municipal mandate, and not wander off into areas that are not within their jurisdiction. Your suggestion would appear to run counter to this concept and encourage mission creep.
The report in the conclusion states that an unreasonable amount of volunteerism is expected of councillors. Who is requesting this volunteerism? How much is volunteerism and how much is actually campaigning for the next election? Maybe the days of expecting mayors and/or council to show up for non council business are over.
I appreciate the budget offset suggestions.
The dude that proposed more for mayor and council is none other than the treasure for Cobourg Taxpayers Association !!
That’s correct. Sounds crazy that the Taxpayers Association would want yo
Increase costs to the taxpayers. Yet not only the Treasure but the President of the Taxpayers Association supports increased salaries for the Mayor and Council members. See Mr. Strauss’ comment to my earlier post.
This is wrong. The Tax Payers Association role is not to propose salary increases for elected officials. They need to stay on their own lane.
Rationale & Jade,
First off, my delegation was done on my behalf as a concerned Cobourg resident, not as a director of the CTA.
Second, I think that you mis-understand the CTA’s objective. The CTA is interested in promoting good cost efficient municipal governance. It should be transparent, accountable and listen to the residents. If small or no tax increases result, so much the better.
You seem to focus on the increase ($110K), but ignore the offsetting “savings” suggestions (up to $500K) which would more than cover the compensation increases.
A serious question to you both: would you work at a complex 35hr/wk job, requiring multi-topic knowledge, frequent evening hours, on-call 24/7 and personal abuse sometimes? Imagine, all this for minimum wage and certainly less than a “living wage”.
With your answer, please share your reasoning.
In addition to the my delegation document linked above in Resources at the end of JD’ article, see Nasmith’s article
Hahahah millions of people work for so much less AND do all those things you ask. It’s probably part of the job description, and if they want and enjoy the job , there would be no problem. Some of us has always done this in the workforce.
The mayor and council already make well above the average for a municipality this size, so what is the reasoning for raising their compensation to be equal to cities with 5 times the budget and 4 times the people?
Cobourg is not in competition with peer municipalities regarding Council compensation, so its of little importance if Cobourg council is paid more or less than the council members of other towns.
Just a wild thought here.
Have you ever considered that these peer communities have got it wrong?
Do they endorse the concepts of living wage, diversity and inclusion like Cobourg does?
Do they believe in fair pay for the job?
If so, then why do they expect their elected civic representatives to work for a pittance?
Cobourgers are better than that.
Two comments Rationale:
I have been involved with the Cobourg Taxpayers Association since its beginnings. However, I am not currently and never have been the group’s President.
The CTA has never opposed justifiable expenditures. We have consistently fought for government that transparently makes decisions in the best interests of Cobourg’s residents.
And your point is??
I find it very odd that a private citizen brings forward a substantial increase to Council compensation at a time they should be looking for budgetary cuts to maintain existing services. This should not find its way to any discussion given the currently economic challenges – they ran for the position(s) with a clear understanding of what the compensation was. Maybe review it next year assuming economic conditions improve and they have demonstrated the ability to perform in their respective roles. Certainly the Mayor hasn’t demonstrated anything yet…
Can’t help but think a little politicking might be going on here with members of Council and said private citizen.
Rob, doesn’t everyone take a position with a clear understanding of the compensation? Times are tough but I haven’t heard of town staff declining their hoped for increases.
In my view you cannot compare Town Staff remuneration increases to the Mayor and Council getting increases. For Town Staff this is their full time job. For the Mayor and Council this is a part time job. They have income from their full time jobs or businesses or if retired have pension income. The remuneration in my view is extra or found money in addition to their existing income. The proposed increases are excessive and should not be included with the budget negotiations
Rationale, for Ms Chorley (who decided not to run this time) and Ms Seguin it was their full time jobs. I believe that it is the full time job for Ms. Beatty. Most with whom I’ve discussed their work say that it requires 30-50 hours per week to prepare for meetings, attend meetings and respond to resident issues. In any case, we should pay for work performed rather than mention that some of our Councillors have other incomes. Should a town staff worker who has an inheritance or lottery win be paid less than others doing similar work?
Ken – my advice to Council is simply, read the room. This consideration demonstrates a gratuitous lack of awareness. I’m not suggesting an increase isn’t appropriate, however there has to be a readiness. Mr. Cleveland thus far has done NOTHING (I repeat, nothing) to demonstrate he is a capable leader, effective politician, or anything to suggest he is worthy of an increase…this isn’t his fault it is simply a matter of time. I’m hopeful for him – his success is our success.
In what other world, does one get to accept a NEW job and then after only a few preliminary months of orientation, undertake a renegotiation of their remuneration. Get real. Get busy. Get something done.
We ALL have to tighten our belts with the high cost of living. Perhaps council should do the same!!!
I would really like to know the rationale for downvoting such an apparently factual and obviously reasonable comment such as yours.
Are there that many individuals trying to think using their emotions instead of their intellect?
You wrote “…you cannot compare Town Staff remuneration increases to the Mayor and Council getting increases…”
Why not? Council oversees senior staff who well paid ($125-200K)
Some Council members have other income sources. So what! It is not relevant. Council work should be judged in the merits of the job content and responsibility level.
How is being a member of council, especially the mayor and DM a part time job. Ben Burd’s 2015 council hours survey clearly shows that it these are full time jobs.
Aside from the hours, look at the job content: making decisions and policies for a $60M corporation, employing 300+ staff, and affecting over 20,000 people
You also wrote “…The remuneration in my view is extra or found money in addition to their existing income….”
How very demeaning and condescending of you that you give no value to the work done and no value to their skill. You expect them to work for nothing.
How generous of you.
Well for one thing Bryan to be qualified to run for Council all you really need is an 18 year old Canadian face and a local address. You require no previous experience in politics, sitting on a board, understanding Robert’s Rules or even a basic understanding of how Government runs. Further, candidates require no designation, they do not require a degree/college diploma or high school education. I don’t think the same can be said for any salaried or hourly employee. I’m sure even the EA that Cleveland fought so hard to get for himself, was going to require ~5-7 years experience and likely a college education. The Town likely employees AZ Licensed drivers or a P. Eng. in Public Works … I’m sure the Director of Finance is a CMA or CGA with an undergrad. These take many years to achieve and maintain in good standing. There is a big difference in the qualifications required to be successful in ones application to become an employee
What Town was Cleveland a Mayor in prior to Cobourg? Where was he a Councilor? What experience made him uniquely qualified for this role? Would Cleveland have been hired for this position if it was posted on Indeed/LinkedIn and he had to apply, along with candidates from across the Province, and go through a multi-step interview process, based on his qualifications? He was barely elected and there were only two candidates for the job.
That is the level of competition all staff face when they are hired – corporations must pay for those qualifications and experience.
Rob, our Councillors are currently paid less than minimum wage. Do candidates for other minimum wage jobs require a designation, degree/college diploma or high school education, previous experience in politics, sitting on a board, understanding Robert’s Rules or even a basic understanding of how government runs?
Why shouldn’t our Councillors, some of whom have advanced degrees, designations and significant business experience, be paid at least minimum wage?
Are the actual strict time requirements for the council equal to 40 hour weeks every week? I know some/many councilors put in a lot of time doing volunteer work, interfacing with people in ways that aren’t specifically required by the position, but if you’re going to calculate the hourly wage of council, you need to be looking at the actually obligated time only.
How much per hour would a ‘work to rule’ councilor be making? I bet it’s more than minimum wage.
Dan, that is a ridiculous and irrelevant question!
Yes, there are only about 30 Council meetings per year and each lasts perhaps 3 hours on average so maybe a total of 100 hours per year. On the other hand the agenda and associated material for each meeting is often 300 or more pages (10,000 pages per year) to read and consider and research implications; there are board, committee and advisory group meetings to attend; there are questions and concerns raised by constituents that must be addressed; there are conferences (AMO and others) to attend in order to learn about how other towns are solving similar problems; there are special training sessions to learn about legislative changes; there are budget meetings; etc, etc.
Would you hire a “work to rule” employee? Would you vote for someone running on a platform of refusing to even attempt to do a competent job?
I don’t think it is either ridiculous or irrelevant if you consider the context of comparing Council wages/hours to those required as a fulltime employee of the Town (2080 hours plus overtime as necessary). I’m not suggesting being a member of Council is a walk in the park, but even the Deputy Mayor acknowledged that being in a position other than Mayor is “less than fulltime”. I would suggest that some believe that the hours of work are important, as the comparison to Councilors making less than minimum wages came as a result of someone’s mathematical calculation (salary/hours of work).
Conferences and offsite training are a bonus and in many organizations, are a form of reward/recognition…they are enjoyable optional networking opportunities which, several Councilors opted out of this year.
Rob, perhaps you are right, but more compensation could/should lead to more and/or better people running for council. A better council could make better decisions which would more than offset the increase in compensation. A ‘penny wise, pound foolish’ type of thing. There are those who think the town employees run the town. If true, it is very backwards. A strong council should be able to take control of the town. If not now, then when should there be an increase? Would it be better to have an increase in a few years so it is closer to the end of the term? Then we better start talking about it now so it might happen.
No politicking at all.
Low Council compensation has been an ongoing topic for at least 20 years.
I stand by my delegation and firmly believe that Council members are significantly underpaid for the work content and responsibility. They make policy and oversee a $60M municipal corporation.
Also note that I suggested several ways to fund the $110K increase that will not only offset the compensation increase, but provide a measure of “savings” as well.
Closing V13 would more than cover the compensation increase. V13 has never met its targets or provided a benefit to Cobourg. There is no business case available that supports keeping it open. Port Hope closed the Idea Hub for similar reasons. Cobourg should do the same with V13.
Use the space to house Town staff instead of makeshift facilities in the Market Building.
The 2023 Storm Water user fee is set at $1.6M and is not part of the property tax levy. However, the available funding is almost $2.2M. $600K higher than is required to cover the SW ops and capital costs.
Council should reduce the SW user fee to $1.1M. This will not lower the tax levy. However, a property owner is indifferent as to which amount is increased or decreased. They are both paid out of the same wallet.
A SW decrease of $500K and a levy increase of $110K result in a $390K saving to the property owners..
This should be done prior to an election not once a new Council is elected…timing and readiness is everything. If this Council would like to move that compensation for the next Municipal election shall be increased, I view that as quite different.
The Mayor hasn’t proven a thing…in fact he’s had a rough start by most accounts.
“ I wonder why only 1/2 of the signatures re:Centennial Pool closing were local residents. Who were the rest?”
What’s the beef here? Almost all of the responses to any topic about the Beach call for non-residents to pay a fee.
In the case of the pool everybody, including non-residents pays to use it – except Y members.
The answer is simple to the shortfall – make everybody pay and maybe increase the fee to offset the shortfall!
Perhaps the 50% non-residents are Y members it is the “Northumberland YMCA” No reason why they couldn’t sign the petition to keep the pool open
Of the Resources I reviewed the Ask for increased compensation for Council in general stood out for me. In particular a specific conclusion “Salaries should reflect the level of responsibility, leadership and skill required”. I would ask that performance be added to this list. I envision a process that measures performance based on the prior years efforts or the lack of it. To me seeking parity is not enough reason to be increasing salaries. An example would be the police salaries, adjudicated by a mooted Police Service Board, is always comparing against Toronto. There is no improved service, no improve quality in this formula. That is what I feel is missing in the discussion of the compensation to Council members.
From comments/complaints made about the recent “no parking” changes in various areas of Cobourg, I would have thought there would have been more delegations about that, than about the proposed sleepings cabins. So, I’ll start the discussion, why do you, Lindsey Nickerson, need to park on the street?
Lindsey described why at length in her letter which is available on the Agenda on the Town’s web site. Her partner has a large work van which won’t fit on their driveway. The reason for no parking is that the crescent is narrow with room for parking on only one side of the street.
Thank you John. Can you provide me a link to that please.
As JD indicated, the letter is in the Jan 6 COW agenda, It is in the Consent Agenda: Correspondence section; item 12.18
It seems many are hopeful that this partially new council will consider the delegates opinions. The council response to accept all for information purposes is standard. I’d think that if each delegation had a petition to back their proposals this would lend credibility. I wonder why only 1/2 of the signatures re:Centennial Pool closing were local residents. Who were the rest?
I agree with Taxpayer on this and will go one step further and suggest that Non-residents should NOT have a voice with regards to Cobourg’s budget/expenditures.
As Meghan Thomas indicated in her delegation, many (most) of the non-Cobourg petition signers were from neighboring communities such as Grafton, Baltimore, etc
Puzzled Bryan – It seems inappropriate that people not residing or paying taxes in Cobourg should be presenting to Council. Should it not be just Cobourg residents that are providing input to Council? Some of these people presenting to Council do not live here. Should this not be for Cobourg residents only?
Agree with you about non-Cobourgers presenting to Council.
I ask however, who are the non-Cobourgers that you claim(??) presented to Council?
Certainly not Meghan Thomas. She clearly identified herself as a concerned Cobourg resident
Who said anything about Meghan Thomas Bryan? I note others who placed complaints had their address listed here in Cobourg. Not the people who were making the delegation they were complaining about. Should a proposal be put forth for enactment in Cobourg that has potential to impact residents if from outside the area and also perhaps increased tax payer services that delegation should not be before Council. What is wrong with proposing it in their own home towns? If a resident wishes to propose an action that is a different matter along with petitions from citizens of other areas that don’t live here nor pay taxes here.
As for the swimming pool they might consider going to an area that offers one such as Port Hope if their own municipality does not have one? Why should we be expected to build one for outside citizens? We’re told by the Mayor transit is a luxury and we can’t afford our town police force, therefore deep consideration should by given to all tax payer funded services.