Stormwater Fee not Fair for Some Taxpayers

A year ago, Council agreed to change the method used to collect the tax required to operate Cobourg’s Stormwater system.  Instead of it being included in the regular tax bill, it would be added to the Hydro/water bill issued by LUSI.  Further, the tax would now be called a “charge” and would vary depending on a formula intended to correspond to usage – except that the formula has a major flaw. The thought was that stormwater run-off would depend on the type of property and its area but it did not consider properties that made no usage of stormwater services such as acreages.  As a result, some properties have been billed charges that are simply not appropriate.  To make the… Read complete articleStormwater Fee not Fair for Some Taxpayers

Petition – Bring Back Lifeguards

In the currently proposed budget for 2024, there will once again be no lifeguards on Cobourg’s main beach but Brenda and Robert Picard have started a petition to bring them back. If I recall correctly, there were three reasons they were discontinued for 2021 and 2023: 1) To save money; 2) to avoid liability problems and 3) recruiting lifeguards was getting difficult.  But Brenda says in her change-org petition: “…water safety is of paramount importance to me. The absence of lifeguards at Cobourg main beach has left many of us feeling unsafe and anxious. Our beach is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, and it’s crucial that we have trained professionals on hand to respond to any potential… Read complete articlePetition – Bring Back Lifeguards

Cobourg’s Development Projects

Cobourg’s planning department seems to be overloaded and has many projects late.  However, they recently made a tool available that lists what they are working on.  The list is long and includes a good number of projects with new housing.  Below is a summary of the significant projects and a map showing where they are.  The table lists significant projects and summarizes the details – see the Development Dashboard in resources below for more details.  It’s not easy to add up the numbers but there’s well over 800 residential units “on the planning books”.  Many of the new units are townhouses or multiplex units so should be a lower price range if not fully “affordable”.  I hope that our utility… Read complete articleCobourg’s Development Projects

Encampment People Settling in for the Winter

It seems that the 18 people encamped outside Brookside have no intention of accepting Transition house as a place to live.  No doubt they have trouble accepting the rules so they are soliciting donations for heating equipment and firewood to allow them to stay where they are.  A Press Release today by Jenni Frenke linked to a Go Fund me page which has so far raised $13,486 of a $16,700 goal.  The money is used to buy winter tents, “Cobourg Fire Department approved stoves” and firewood.  Jenni reports that so far “we have been able to provide 9 individuals/couples with a hot tent and wood stove” plus “we also were able to purchase a large community tent with two stoves… Read complete articleEncampment People Settling in for the Winter

Predictions for 2024 –  Opinion

Judging by my previous efforts. I’m not very good at predicting what will happen in the next year but it’s fun to do, so why not?  But first, how did I do last year? Out of 12 Town predictions, I got 9 right.  Notable misses were that I thought the harbour would get repaired (wrong!) and the web site would get fixed (ever hopeful). Of 6 predictions on the economy, I got 3 wrong – no Cannabis stores closed in Cobourg (although one failed to open), inflation improved and there was no recession.  For 2024, once again I predict no action on the Harbour, Sidbrook, the Park Theatre, the Tannery or Downtown vitalization. There will be some action at Brookside but probably… Read complete articlePredictions for 2024 –  Opinion

Most Discussed Subjects in 2023

It’s a no brainer that the single most talked about subject in Cobourg this year was homelessness and the encampment. That’s also the message provided by the number of comments on posts.  But what came second and third?  Reader interest seems to put Council issues (Budget, Governance, Strategic Plan, remuneration of councillors) second and Police/Crime third. Cobourg residents also do care about public transport and the environment – but they have little to add to my reports on Entertainment. Maybe that’s good given that many comments are negative.  I should note that my numbers are biased since I have a strong focus on Council meetings so subjects discussed there dominate. This is not a scientific survey!  Overall, there were 118… Read complete articleMost Discussed Subjects in 2023

Merry Christmas from Cobourg News Blog – 2023

It seems that every year, Christmas comes upon us quicker than ever.  It’s also the end of another year and time for a review. The big international news is about two wars, National news is dominated by what people think of Trudeau and the local news is about the encampment by individuals who refuse the help provided by our generous social services.  But let’s not start ranting on about negative things – I do get tired of the seemingly endless criticisms by people commenting on this blog.  How do these people find anything to be happy about?  But Cobourg still has a thriving entertainment scene and life is good in Cobourg.  And Christmas is generally a happy season – especially… Read complete articleMerry Christmas from Cobourg News Blog – 2023

Police Approve 2024 Budget

Cobourg’s Police service is the single biggest line item on the Town’s budget but their increase in 2024 at 6.3% is less than Cobourg’s proposed increase of 8.06%.  A big plus for the Police is they partially support themselves with their business unit – in 2024, the business unit will contribute $2.1M or 22% of total cost. Another plus is that they provide a good amount of detail – including personnel count. This is important because I calculate that wages, salaries and benefits are 77% of Police costs. Separately, the Police provide detailed reports on their performance – see the Agendas of their monthly meetings. See link in Resources below for the statistics to November in December’s report. The board also hears… Read complete articlePolice Approve 2024 Budget

Town Publishes Budget Survey

If it’s like previous surveys, only a few hundred will participate although you’d think more would care about their tax increase. I don’t recall any budget surveys in previous years but then the proposed 8.06% hike is the biggest for some time.  The key question asked is about which services are important and there are only three specific budget items mentioned: the Centennial pool, the trial of fixed route Transit and the idea of a 1% infrastructure levy. It’s not a big survey but it might help Council understand what people are thinking. It starts with personal questions on age, income and how long you’ve lived in Cobourg then asks which services are important. One key service not included is… Read complete articleTown Publishes Budget Survey

Cobourg’s 2024 Draft Budget

Town Staff have now presented their draft budget to Council and it was in a different format to previous years. Instead of spreadsheets, each department used the same format highlighting key drivers, savings, large operating increases, special projects and capital requirements. But first, the new director of Finance, Adam Giddings provided a summary highlighting additional staff, main budget drivers, increases by department and the overall increase compared to inflation. Adam presented numbers to show that budget increases over the last 5 years have not kept pace with inflation. He also gave the total expected tax levy increase: 8.06% compared to 6.6% in 2023 – both numbers after accounting for growth. But this is what Town staff are asking for (recommending)… Read complete articleCobourg’s 2024 Draft Budget