County Council Considering Large Grants to Hospitals

On June 7, 2021 the two County Hospitals – Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) and Campbellford Memorial Hospital (CMH) – asked County Council to grant them $1M annually for 10 years.  It would be divided 75% to NHH and 25% to CMH.  A special meeting was convened on September 29 to discuss the request but County Council asked for more information.  The next step was that the Hospitals made a revised proposal on October 7 which changed the request to 1% of the County levy annually over an 8 year period.  This is estimated to be a minimum of $5.9M.  The money would be used for capital equipment and not for operations or interest.  There is no mandate from the Province… Read complete articleCounty Council Considering Large Grants to Hospitals

County to Recycle Housing Material from Demolition

The County has announced several Affordable Housing projects recently but one that got a lot of attention was the demolition of eight units at 265 -327 Elgin Street East to build 20 new ones.  Some people commented on this blog and others participated in a County survey with the message – why can’t these units be salvaged?  Well it turns out they can – at least partially.  The County has now announced that “Key items such as doors, cabinets and plumbing fixtures that are in good condition and able to be reused will be donated to ReStore – Habitat for Humanity’s non-profit home improvement centre. The materials will be sold at a discounted price to generate revenue in support of… Read complete articleCounty to Recycle Housing Material from Demolition

County wants Input for 2022 Budget

The County has already started developing their budget for 2022 and they are now ready to seek citizen input with their online survey (see links below).  This year they are providing an online interactive tool where you can see what happens if you increase or decrease spending or revenue in all the categories.  The tool only allows an increase or decrease and not which aspect of specific services should be affected.  For example, if you want less spending on tourism but just in Cobourg, you have to put that into a comment – although that’s easy to do. One thing that had to be explained to me (thanks Jennifer) was that Capital Projects are included in the relevant department.  So… Read complete articleCounty wants Input for 2022 Budget

County Annual Report – 2020

Northumberland County has just released their annual report (for 2020) and they show expenditures of $107M and revenues of $119M of which taxes are $58.8M.  For all this money, few residents would be able to list what it’s spent on so a report is good.  Cobourg Councillors are directly elected by taxpayers which means that there is a strong democratic connection.  But County Councillors consist of the Mayors of each of the constituent municipalities – in the case of Cobourg, that’s Mayor John Henderson – so it’s an indirect representation.  There are no separate County elections.  Most will probably know the County looks after garbage and some major roads and recently there’s been a focus on affordable housing – but… Read complete articleCounty Annual Report – 2020

Many Old Municipal Documents No Longer Available Online

At the beginning of this year (January 1), legislation passed in 2005 required new standards for accessibility for web sites provided by Ontario municipalities (amongst others). This means that online documents must meet standards that were not previously mandatory.  But Northumberland County and probably the Town of Cobourg have thousands of documents that don’t meet those standards.  Since this is a significant amount of work, the county has taken these documents off-line as has the Town although for a different stated reason.   That means that the public can only access most bylaws or earlier agendas and minutes by emailed request (details below).  The County is asking the Province to change the legislation and the Town is saying that the issue… Read complete articleMany Old Municipal Documents No Longer Available Online

County Safety and Well Being Survey

Northumberland County has a mandate for community services such as Affordable Housing, Paramedics, the Golden Plough and income support (welfare) as well as county roads, garbage and economic development. To better understand what residents see as priorities for a range of such services, a survey was conducted from 25 June to 31 July.  Public surveys usually get few participants and this was no exception with only 143 responses received. Of these, 61 were Cobourg residents. Of the 143, 46 were over 59 years of age, 60 were 39 to 58 and 29 were 18 to 38. The results are interesting and will guide the County’s “Community Safety and Well-being Plan”. Major categories were “Personal Safety”, “Feelings about Crime”, and “Environment and Culture” – details… Read complete articleCounty Safety and Well Being Survey

Town and County want Input from Residents

Both the Town of Cobourg and Northumberland County are using online surveys to solicit input from residents.  Participation is not especially high but in this Covid-19 era, how else can input be obtained?  From my experience, live Town Hall meetings don’t have a great record of success anyway – typically 30-50 show up at Town meetings and around 10-15 at County meetings.  Does this mean the majority of citizens don’t care what is decided or do they have faith in councillors or perhaps Municipal staff?  The County use one day Zoom sessions as well as surveys while the Town uses “Bang the Table” software to do surveys lasting several weeks.  The topics covered range from how to design the East… Read complete articleTown and County want Input from Residents

GPL and Mason Homes Developments Approved

At Monday’s C.O.W. Council meeting, as well as the Coast Guard re-development, two other projects were also approved: the Golden Plough Lodge (GPL) and the 27 Townhomes by Mason Homes at 425 King East (pre-servicing and sub-division agreement).  Mr. Mason was there to suggest that a chain link fence would be better than a wooden one but was otherwise happy and thought that construction would start next Spring.  He said that chain link blends better with trees and lasts longer but neighbours wanted privacy and wood is better for that so wood will be used.  (See links below for the full Planning report and earlier articles).  The GPL project was first initiated in 2016 and residents should move in during… Read complete articleGPL and Mason Homes Developments Approved

County and Town Citizen Surveys

Over the summer, both the Town and the County surveyed citizens and asked them what they thought of their services and their cost.  Unfortunately, participation was poor.  The County’s survey was from July 10 to 31 and they got 54 responses; the Town’s started on August 10 and when KPMG reported to Council on August 24, they said there were only 122 responses as of August 18.  The Town’s survey was supposed to finish on Aug 24 but as of August 27 it was still active.  One reason for the municipalities to ask for input is that the pandemic will put a big strain on budgets so maybe services should be cut or should taxes get a big hike?  Although… Read complete articleCounty and Town Citizen Surveys

County Annual report – 2019

Northumberland County has now released their Annual Report – not just Financial but also a review of what they have been doing.  The County’s organization and budget are bigger than Cobourg’s ($112M compared to $50M) but they get less attention.  They look after Waste Collection and Management, County roads, Social Services (Welfare and the Golden Plough), Affordable Housing, Economic development and Tourism promotion, Paramedics (Ambulances), County Forests and Archives. You can  download the full 86 page report from the link below but I have summarized the highlights for you.  It’s hard not to compare the County report to what is done by Cobourg.  Unlike the County, Cobourg does not do an annual report but simply reports on finances and so… Read complete articleCounty Annual report – 2019