Town of Cobourg’s Potential Lost Revenue

You’ve heard the prediction from Ford on what the Covid-19 virus will do to health provincially, but what about the hit to the Town’s finances?  Only 63% of revenue comes from municipal taxes, the rest from other sources.  So what is the risk that at least some of these other sources will not happen during the virus crisis?  Given what we know and listing the budget revenue items at risk (see below), either 1) the Town will have to go into debt to cover the operating budget or 2) there will be a large tax increase or 3) some things will not get done or 4) a combination of these.  We know that transit fares will not be collected, parking… Read complete articleTown of Cobourg’s Potential Lost Revenue

All Cobourg Parks are now closed

Residents are encouraged although not mandated to stay home.  For a start, policing the exceptions like buying groceries or picking up take-out meals would be difficult. In addition, many people go for a walk to get fresh air or walk their dogs.  But now, to increase the pressure to stay home, the Government of Ontario is ordering the closure of all outdoor recreational amenities and this means that the Town of Cobourg is doing the same.  On March 23, the Town closed all play equipment and play structures but now, effective immediately, the Town of Cobourg is closing all outdoor recreational amenities including the dog park, beach, skateboard park and tennis courts.  Closing our “Blue Flag” beach (see photo and… Read complete articleAll Cobourg Parks are now closed

Cobourg in Partial Lockdown

With most stores closed, all entertainment closed, most restaurants doing takeout only, many businesses sending their workers to work from home and others encouraged to stay at home, Cobourg is in virtual lockdown.  I ventured out today (it was a glorious day!) and looked at what’s happening Downtown, at the Mall and at No-Frills.  The first thing you notice is that there’s no problem getting parking anywhere – although it’s free on municipal meters and parking lots.  The next thing is that since stores and banks are limiting the number who can be inside at one time, there are orderly queues outside. One example was a bit strange: Staples looked closed but on closer inspection they had a sign that… Read complete articleCobourg in Partial Lockdown

Two Special Council Meetings

Council cancelled their regular meeting last night but at short notice, they scheduled two “special” meetings, one after the other starting at 3:00 pm.  However, given the Covid-19 virus issue, they were held using video-conferencing with all Councillors plus Interim CAO Ian Davey and Town Clerk Brent Larmer also connected.  It was then streamed so the public could view it, and I did!  The technology worked quite well although there were a few glitches (that’s technical jargon for “malfunctions”).  The sound was clear but cut out for about 20 minutes and the video froze a few times on individuals.  The two meetings each had a single topic agenda – the first was to take advantage of very recent legislation allowing… Read complete articleTwo Special Council Meetings

Town planning to Financially help re Covid-19

With many businesses closed, many others getting less income and a lot of people losing their jobs, at least temporarily, the Town  is planning to provide relief of various kinds.  Although the Provincial and Federal Governments are planning to provide relief, it may come later than needed and may not be sufficient in many cases so the Town is wanting to help out.  This will include free transit, free parking, delayed payment of taxes and generally being sensitive to the difficult circumstances many residents will find themselves in.  Some of the problem is caused by the fact that the public cannot enter Victoria Hall but it’s not just that. Below is a list of what’s being planned and the rationale. … Read complete articleTown planning to Financially help re Covid-19

Last Council meeting in March

At the Council meeting on March 16, Councillors decided to cancel the following meeting scheduled for March 30 so that the next meeting will be April 6 which is about the date when most of the Covid-19 restrictions will either stop or be renewed.  At the March 16 meeting, Interim CAO Ian Davey reported on what the Town has been doing – most of which has been already reported publicly.  There was nobody in the public gallery and no media were there – no doubt they heeded the advice to watch the meeting online.  But Police Chief Paul VandeGraaf was there and in response to questions from Councillor Emily Chorley, spoke about how the Police were responding, particularly in regard… Read complete articleLast Council meeting in March

More Funding for an Efficiency Review

The County recently received funding from the Province to find efficiencies in the multiple Fire Departments in the County (see report in link below) and at the Committee of the Whole meeting on 9 March 2020, Town Clerk Brent Larmer announced that the Town itself had received a grant of $86,496 from the Province to do a review of “service delivery” so as to achieve cost savings and efficiencies.  Brent’s memo to Council said that “This Provincial program [Ontario’s new Municipal Modernization Program] is intended to help municipalities become more efficient and modernize service delivery while protecting front line jobs.”  The report must be made available to the public by September 18, 2020.  The work will be done by the… Read complete articleMore Funding for an Efficiency Review

Town closes CCC and postpones Municipal Events

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Town of Cobourg is postponing all Town-events, programs and classes taking place at the Cobourg Community Centre, Concert Hall at Victoria Hall, Venture13 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre and Victoria Hall. This includes all classes, recreational programs, facility spaces, March Break camps, gymnasiums, rinks and walking spaces. The CCC will be closed effective 8:00 am Friday 13. Minor Hockey will also be suspended.  Full refunds will be issued for all payments that have been received for cancelled programs. Victoria Hall and other Municipal buildings will remain open but citizens are discouraged from gathering there.  As yet there is no word on whether entertainment events booked at Victoria Hall are affected (they do involve gatherings!) –… Read complete articleTown closes CCC and postpones Municipal Events