Surprise Council Reversal re Salary increase

At last week’s Committee of the Whole, Council voted to schedule an increase in their salaries on Jan 1, 2020 subject to budget deliberations this fall. The vote was 6-1 in favour but at the full Council meeting when the motion would normally be routinely confirmed, Councillors opened the motion for debate. Suzanne Séguin changed the motion in the Agenda to include a review of Police Board compensation and also other groups such as Holdco and GRCA boards.  Brian Darling then asked that a full review should also be done for Councillors.  Treasurer Ian Davey advised that Council had no control over the compensation of “other” boards so the amendment was then rejected.  Susanne said that in any event, increases… Read complete articleSurprise Council Reversal re Salary increase

Two Contentious Waterfront Decisions

Currently, each summer, Green Canoe Outfitters (GCO) rent out Kayaks and Paddleboards from the beach in front of the Breakers Motel but Bart Spiewak of GCO asked Council at Monday’s Committee of the Whole for permission to move west and position themselves on Victoria Park Beach.  They would want a kiosk not unlike the new lifeguard stations so that they could house their equipment.  They would cover all costs and offered a 10% revenue share.  Given the contentious rejection of the Water Park just 2 months ago, approval seemed unlikely.  But Councillor Chorley suggested a trial this year followed by a full, open procurement process in 2020 and said that the situation is different.  She moved a long detailed motion… Read complete articleTwo Contentious Waterfront Decisions

Council Proposes Salary Increase to Match Port Hope

When Council salaries were increased last year with effect at the start of this Council’s term, it was agreed that there would be a review “if and when the tax free allowance was removed”.  As expected, this did happen on January first.  Perhaps using this as a cue, the Cobourg Taxpayers Association in the person of Paul Pagnuelo, made a presentation to Council  last night suggesting that Councillors should be paid fairly so as to encourage talented individuals to run other than those independently wealthy and/or retired.  Paul pointed to the salary paid to Port Hope’s Mayor and said that Cobourg’s should be paid the same.  Paul also suggested that the Deputy Mayor should get 90% of this and Councillors… Read complete articleCouncil Proposes Salary Increase to Match Port Hope

Another Amendment to Strategic Plan?

Cobourg’s Strategic Plan has had an unusual amount of input from the public and has had significant changes after it was supposedly complete.  At the Committee of the Whole Council meeting on April 23, a number of changes were made, notably to kill the idea that there might be boat slips added into the West Harbour.  This idea is of course part of the Waterfront master plan which has a number of other ideas for the Waterfront.  At Monday’s regular Council meeting (April 29), when the strategic plan (with amendments) came up for final approval, Councillor Brian Darling moved an amendment wanting to loosen the restriction on use of the West Harbour.  There was a good discussion before there was… Read complete articleAnother Amendment to Strategic Plan?

Council Planning to upgrade Notifications to Residents

Over the past few years, there have been concerns raised by citizens about the notification process for actions planned by Council that might affect them.  This was a major issue in the rezoning of land to permit a French language school at New Amherst – see links below.  At that time, Council asked staff to come up with a definitive policy that would improve this type of communication with the public.  At the Committee of the Whole Meeting of Council on April 23, 2019, staff provided a 42 page report including some recommended upgrades and it was approved by Council for implementation subject to consultation with the public.  This will involve an online survey available from May 6 to May… Read complete articleCouncil Planning to upgrade Notifications to Residents

Council responds to input on Strategic Plan

Tonight’s Committee of the Whole Council meeting was the first chance Council had to respond to comments made by the public on the proposed Strategic Plan.  There was a public meeting on April 7 where a large number of written and verbal comments were made (see link below for report) and tonight the council showed that they listened.  Several Councillors moved amendments and all were passed.  Brian Darling was the first; he pointed to the Strategic Action that said: ”Review the expansion of boat slips into the west harbour recommendation contained in the waterfront master plan” and wanted it removed.  That motion passed.  A short while later, Emily Chorley moved that instead of being simply deleted, the action should be… Read complete articleCouncil responds to input on Strategic Plan

What’s happening about getting a Poet Laureate?

Last October, Council initiated setting up an Ad Hoc Committee to decide on who should be appointed to be the Poet Laureate for the next 4 years.  This is needed since Ted Amsden’s 8 year term has expired. Candidates for the citizen position were solicited with four applications received but then nothing happened.  This week, Poet Wally Keeler emailed Mayor John Henderson and other councillors asking “Is there a Poet Laureate Ad Hoc Committee?” and adds a comment: “A bit of openness and transparency is called for here, or some action taken.”  Others copied on the email were supportive.  John Henderson responded and pointed out that the upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting on April 23 has this issue on… Read complete articleWhat’s happening about getting a Poet Laureate?

Paying for Sewer Service

A lot of people advocate “user pay” – that is, if you use something you should pay for it.  That is difficult for a public beach but is implemented for some roads using tolls.  It is also normal for electricity, gas and water use.  In many municipalities and certainly in Cobourg, your sewer usage is also “user pays”.  But since there is no way to measure waste water, the amount of waste water consumed is assumed to be directly related to the water usage as measured by your water meter.  This is true as long as you don’t use a lot of water on your garden or lawn.  In that case it gets absorbed and does not show up in… Read complete articlePaying for Sewer Service