Public Input on County Budget

After really bad public participation in County budget open houses in 2017 and 2018 (approx. 11 and 5 attendees respectively), this year the County elected to go online only.  The results of 374 responses were presented to County Council at their meeting on August 28.  Go to Links below to download the complete report – this post gives highlights.  Charts showing top issues are provided and other concerns are summarized. See also the three links to comments pages – it seems that people get quite vocal when they are offered a chance to give anonymous comments. The first two questions were revealing – 53% were not at all familiar with the process the County uses to develop their budget and… Read complete articlePublic Input on County Budget

New Recycling Programs Postponed

Northumberland County has advised that “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the collection contractor will not be able to offer the new programs starting in September as originally planned.”  This is especially important for the green bins – do not use the new green bin for food waste until December 2nd, 2019.  Instead you can continue to use a maximum of three garbage (black) bags instead of the new 2 bag limit.  However, you should use the new Blue and Grey boxes although their contents will initially go into the trucks together.  Meanwhile, using the boxes means fewer plastic bags in the waste system. Delivery of bins and boxes continues: All Green Bins are anticipated to be delivered by the end of… Read complete articleNew Recycling Programs Postponed

County Releases 2018 Financial Report

At their recent Council meeting, Northumberland County released their Financial report for 2018. The report for this year has a format similar to previous reports – with the same problems:  the report includes details of where the County is, who the players are, what was achieved and what’s planned for 2019 but most of it is detail which I would guess is of little interest to most taxpayers.  The report says very little about Capital projects and a lot about operational items which no doubt keep staff busy.  CAO Jennifer Moore seems to be making good progress in increasing efficiency and wants to improve transparency but I think taxpayers are mostly interested in what services are provided for the taxes paid.  On… Read complete articleCounty Releases 2018 Financial Report

Student Entrepreneur Summer program – 2019

Entrepreneurship in Northumberland is alive and well – seven students were at Staples this morning where they explained what their start-up businesses were about.  Funded by the Province to the tune of $3000 for each student and organized by the County’s Business and Entrepreneurship centre, Manager Rob Day said that 142 summer businesses have been started since 2001.  The idea is that some individuals like the idea of being an entrepreneur and may well be good at it, but lack experience or financing.  The program provides first hand knowledge on what’s needed to succeed – or at least point them in the right direction.  As well as cash, the program helps them with their business plan and assesses the viability… Read complete articleStudent Entrepreneur Summer program – 2019

County Holds the Line on Tax Increase

County taxes for 2020 are a bigger problem than usual.  The Province has reduced the amount of money they plan to transfer to Municipalities and the County estimates that they will need to find an extra $1.4M in revenue because of that.  That would mean an additional 2.5% increase in the levy. Inflation for capital projects is best measured by the Non-residential Construction Price Index which is currently running at more than 5% – that is, higher than CPI (1.9% excluding gas).  So because of inflation, the total operating and capital budget would require a 2.8% increase in the levy. However, staff plan to find efficiencies of 1% so the planned net increase in the total budget (because of inflation)… Read complete articleCounty Holds the Line on Tax Increase

County Stops Roundup Use in 2019

At a special County Council meeting on Friday June 7, County Council voted to discontinue the use of Roundup for vegetation control along County road guide rails and within the County Forest, for 2019.  A delegation by Faye McFarlane, Tom Shea, and Bruce Bellaire, Volunteers with Blue Dot Northumberland, made the case that the arguments used to win the Monsanto court case in California apply and that Roundup use should cease.  Staff argued that Health Canada and all pesticide regulators said it was OK but nevertheless deferred a decision to Council.  It seems that scientists don’t all agree – besides it’s become a political hot potato. Most vegetation control currently uses mowers “and other forms of preventive maintenance” so Roundup… Read complete articleCounty Stops Roundup Use in 2019

John Logel Taking Leave of Absence

John is Mayor of Alnwick/Haldimand Township and also Warden of Northumberland County and is now taking a leave of absence “in order to address a personal matter”.  As John says in a statement: “the roles of Mayor and Warden require – and deserve nothing less than – an individual’s full attention and energy to see these through.” So he says that “to make a necessary shift in focus to a personal matter, I will be taking a tem­porary step back so that the business of both councils can continue at full pace.”  His role as Warden will be taken over by Port Hope Mayor Bob Sanderson since he is the longest serving member on County Council – there is no… Read complete articleJohn Logel Taking Leave of Absence

Major changes in Recycling and Garbage collection

This year, the County is making major changes in recycling and garbage collection.  For recycling, instead of using clear plastic bags, you will get a blue box and a grey box. And garbage will be changed too – you’ll get a green box for organic stuff that can be composted.  In addition, there will be more places to dispose of hazardous waste.  There will be an extensive education program which has already started – read the Waste and Recycling Collection calendar which every household should have received at the beginning of the year (via Northumberland News).  At Cobourg’s Committee of the Whole Council meeting on May 13, Adam McCue from the County will make a presentation on this subject.  Some… Read complete articleMajor changes in Recycling and Garbage collection