Waterfront Parking Survey Results

At the next Committee of the Whole (CoW) meeting on 21 February, Council will receive a staff report on the latest survey about waterfront parking.  This issue goes back to 2021 when there was concern about managing crowds at the Beach.  The Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee recommended a major increase in parking fees at the waterfront with passes available to residents.  There were a number of meetings and surveys to get residents’ feedback before implementation for the 2022 season.  Then in January this year, a follow up survey was done to review the changes.  A total of 465 people responded to the online survey which mostly asked about how well the changes were understood and details about resident passes…. Read complete articleWaterfront Parking Survey Results

Affordable and Rental CIP for 2022

In the summer of 2022, applications were opened for Cobourg’s Community Improvement Plan which is intended to “help stimulate the provision of affordable and rental housing in the community”.  The deadline for applications was 30 September 2022 with the announced budget being $125,000 although unused amounts are carried forward.  At the Committee of the Whole Meeting on 21 February, 2023, the committee reviewing applications will provide their recommendations to Council.  All six applicants are to be approved for a total of $108,627.  Details of the awards (assuming recommendations are approved) are listed below.  The committee also recommends that the same committee members work on the 2023 CIP which is anticipated to be approved in the 2023 budget. (List of Committee members… Read complete articleAffordable and Rental CIP for 2022

Last Year for Community Grants?

Although Council approved grants to 17 community groups, it may be the last year that this is done.  When Council approved the grants, an additional sentence was added: “And further that Council direct staff to review the Community Grant Policy including options to cease the program, streamline the application process for more efficient decision making or offer special rental and parking rates for non-profit organizations;  And further that a report be brought back to Council by June 2023.”  Mayor Cleveland and Councillor Barber were against any grants and Councillor Brian Darling was against cash grants. Brian was also reluctant to approve in-kind grants to waive fees for Victoria Hall since Victoria Hall is already subsidized.  Councillors also suggested that more… Read complete articleLast Year for Community Grants?

Second Meeting to Review 2023 budget

Councillors covered a lot of ground in reviewing the budget for 2023.  Key issues were an increase in compensation for Councillors, Community Grants, Centennial pool, tree planting and of course, the tax rate or levy.  In the interest of minimizing the length of this report, I am leaving a report on community grants until tomorrow – but they were not cancelled.  Although there might be some minor changes if arithmetic errors are discovered, the tax levy increase will be 6.6%.  There is an 8% increase in the budget but because of growth in the Town resulting in an increased value of taxable properties of 1.5%, your taxes will go up by 6.6% in 2023 compared to 2022. For comparison, the… Read complete articleSecond Meeting to Review 2023 budget

First Budget Review meeting

In the first 2023 budget review session, Council made no decisions but lots of ideas were suggested.  The meeting on Tuesday (7 Feb) was chaired by Mayor Cleveland although assisted somewhat by Deputy Mayor Beatty – budget responsibility has not so far been delegated to the Deputy Mayor;  that awaits the Governance review.  There was not a line by line review – instead the Mayor asked Councillors to talk about any items they wanted to discuss and if there were any changes to be made, that would be noted on a virtual whiteboard for decision at the end of the meeting.  Most suggestions required spending more money and a few were for savings.  The total was estimated at $600K which… Read complete articleFirst Budget Review meeting

Residents Express Views to Council

As Dennis Nabieszko has said (see Resources below), Mayor Lucas Cleveland has achieved his objective of getting taxpayer feedback.  At the Council meeting on 6 February, there were 5 delegations and 25 items of correspondence.  Of these, most were about issues of concern to residents:  2 were about keeping the Centennial pool (1 delegation, 1 letter); 5 were about the Sleeping Cabins in the Memorial Arena parking lot (5 letters); 2 were about the need for more trees not fewer (1 delegation and 1 letter);  1 suggested that more compensation for councillors would be fair (delegation); one asked that Transit be a priority (1 letter).  There were other concerns – see the full list below including what Council decided to… Read complete articleResidents Express Views to Council

Council Responds to Delegations

At the committee of the Whole Council meeting on Monday, there were two delegations: Carol Anne Bell-Smith asked that the mat at the Beach be upgraded because of deficiencies in the existing mat and Lauren Quinto, President of the Cobourg Farmers’ Market Association asked for better terms for their agreement with the Town.  They want a 5 year lease, parking passes and storage space. And Council responded with actions.  Summaries of their presentations are below but both delegations were well received.  The cost of upgrading the mat would be approx. $30K plus installation – a decision was deferred to current budget deliberations; after debate, Councillor Brian Darling’s request to leave to Staff the details of the farmers’ market lease etc… Read complete articleCouncil Responds to Delegations

By-Law Enforcement Annual Report

At the Committee of the Whole meeting on January 30th, Brent Larmer’s By-Law department will publish their 2022 Annual Report – it’s their first. Their official name is now “Municipal Law Enforcement and Licensing Services” and during 2022, they moved out of Victoria Hall to the adjacent Market building. There are no longer any seniors’ programs there and after renovations they plan that up to 10 employees will work there. The Annual report provides details on what the officers have been doing and what is planned for 2023. The report clearly indicates that the department will be measuring their work by implementing Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These are stated levels of performance to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – that is,… Read complete articleBy-Law Enforcement Annual Report

Report on Winter (Christmas) Storm

No doubt in the interest of transparency, at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Brent Larmer will present a report on how the Christmas storm emergency was managed.  I didn’t see any announcement but Brent (Director of Legislative Services) is now the “Community Emergency Management Coordinator” (CEMC) and Fire Chief Ellard Beavan is the alternate CEMC.  Other members of the team (for the Storm emergency) were: CAO (Tracey Vaughan,  Fire Chief (Ellard Beavan), Police Chief (Paul VandeGraaf), Public Works (Laurie Wills), LUSI (Dereck Paul), Communications (Kara Euale) and Manager of Facilities (Jason Johns).  They met in 13 meetings over the period December 23 to 25 and Brent reports that during the Holiday “over 50 Front line Staff worked, assisted and… Read complete articleReport on Winter (Christmas) Storm

First look at 2023 Budget

At the budget meetings on January 25 and 26, staff presented to Council the details of the budget that they had come up with. The tax levy required for this budget would be 5.86% – this is after a growth amount of 1.5% due to an increased assessment. The total tax bill is also impacted by an increase of the County portion (6.0%) although the School board increase will be zero. You need to read the full presentation available in Resources below to see where the money will go but it was not only Councillors who were learning from the process, there were a good number of things that others can learn – many not really budget related. This report… Read complete articleFirst look at 2023 Budget

More Public Input on Budget

Council held a special meeting on Monday, 23 January, to accept public input on the budget. As well as receiving the report about the online survey per my previous report, there was a presentation by Johnny Percolides wanting a second dog park (at Donegan Park) and presentations from Community groups requesting a grant. The total requested is $87K but unlike previous years, no target total has been announced. Last year’s total was $30K but some previous years were $50K. No decisions were made at Monday’s meeting but there were 14 presentations plus 4 others who did not make a presentation. I sorted the applications based on whether they were new for 2023 and whether they made a presentation. For those… Read complete articleMore Public Input on Budget