Changes to Council Procedures

On Monday January 28, a public meeting was held to accept public input on Council procedures for their meetings.  The original changes were suggested by Town Clerk, Brent Larmer but at the Committee of the Whole on January 7, Council made some changes (see report on 8 January – link below).  The intent was to then listen to public input and perhaps make further changes and present a final version at the Regular Council meeting on February 4.  At the Public meeting, there were 5 written submissions and 5 verbal submissions – details below.  Although there were several suggestions to move the Council time for meetings, the bylaw before Council for approval keeps times unchanged.  However, the Q & A… Read complete articleChanges to Council Procedures

First Public Cultural Plan Meeting

On February 6th, Cobourg invites citizens to a launch event for the Cultural Master Plan that is under development. It will be in the Concert Hall at Victoria Hall at 6:00pm and “the evening will feature an opportunity to see an overview of the Cultural Master Plan development process, a visioning and engagement exercise and an opportunity to provide valuable feedback.”  In the meantime, citizens are invited to participate in an online survey to complement input already received from culture and heritage groups and the business community.  Once completed, it is hoped that “the Cultural Master Plan will establish a cultural vision for the Town of Cobourg as well as identify concrete strategies and actions to support cultural and broader… Read complete articleFirst Public Cultural Plan Meeting

Changes recommended for Advisory committees

With a new Council in place, Town Clerk Brent Larmer has reviewed the number and roles of the Advisory committees and recommended changes.  Most are unchanged except for minor changes in their jobs but Brent recommends dissolution of the Economic Development Advisory Committee and splitting the Environmental/Active Transportation Advisory Committee into two: a Transportation Advisory Committee and an Environmental and Climate Change Advisory Committee. Brent says that the Economic Development Advisory Committee dealt mostly with Municipal Staff updates – that implies that citizens were not actually contributing but just listening to reports from staff.  The now dead CIVIC project aimed at downtown vitalization came from this committee as did most of the other Vitalization initiatives and although it’s hard to… Read complete articleChanges recommended for Advisory committees

Citizen Budget Requests – Part 2

Bryan Lambert gave a presentation at Monday’s Public Budget meeting that discussed “big picture” questions – he didn’t ask for anything specific to be included but instead asked questions about the budget overall.  He pointed out that the actual total budget was more than double the amount collected in taxes, he wanted reserves to be spelled out and staffing to be discussed.  He also pointed to a surplus and overspending – seemingly opposing items – and a trend in expense increases that are faster than inflation.  His information source was the publicly available Financial Information Report (FIR) from the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs which covers all revenue and spending in municipalities – for example in Cobourg, that includes electricity,… Read complete articleCitizen Budget Requests – Part 2

Citizen Budget Requests – Part One

As announced in the Council meeting on Monday, there will a significant number of opportunities for taxpayers to observe the Town’s process for setting its 2019 budget (see link below) but there is only one where feedback is allowed and that has already happened at the Public Meeting held for that purpose.  It was held at 6:00 pm after the Council Meeting on Monday.  As expected, there were requests to minimize tax increases or even reduce them but one request was especially unusual:  Edgar Carman of Trinity Housing asked the Town to subsidise Low Cost Housing and the amount was not small.  This was a major issue in the recent election campaign so perhaps Edgar was hoping the Council would… Read complete articleCitizen Budget Requests – Part One

More from January 14 Council Meeting

In addition to the surprise change in vote by Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin about opting-in on Cannabis retail stores, there were some other surprising moves made – notably by Councillor Emily Chorley.  Debbie Davis submitted a petition “on behalf of concerned parents from Terry Fox Public School, regarding amendments to the No Parking Restrictions on Riddell Street and the end of White Street.”  As expected, staff recommended that Council direct the petition to Public Works Staff for a report back to Council.   But unexpectedly, Emily successfully moved that a timely report be made given that there were many items that have been on unfinished business for many months.  Her motion specified a limit of 3 months.  Another surprise was a Notice… Read complete articleMore from January 14 Council Meeting

Update on Cannabis Opt-in Decision

Tonight was the first regular council meeting of the new council and they had a full plate.  But first, they had photographer Ted Amsden (no longer Poet Laureate) take photos of the Council and a second one of Council and senior staff.  Thanks to his setup, I managed to get one of him with the council and staff – see below.  Mandy Robinson then gave a presentation on the history of Town criers and how they were important in distributing news from the monarch.  Her presentation was followed by reports on some transactions for businesses coming to Lucas Point, an agreement on the draft procedural bylaw to go to the public meeting on January 28, some routine motions and then… Read complete articleUpdate on Cannabis Opt-in Decision

Highland Games wants Town’s Money

On Monday (January 14 at 6:00 pm), the Town of Cobourg is holding a public Meeting to solicit input on the 2019 budget.  On the spot submissions will be accepted as well as written submissions in advance.  One of these is by Edgar Carman, President of the Cobourg Highland Games Society – he wants $9000 in a cash grant plus a $3984 in-kind grant.  It’s not clear to me why Edgar is going this route instead of the Community Grant process which required applications by October 31st.  He points to the big tourism benefit which brings “over 1,000 competitors and vendors plus the attendees from across Ontario and Northern United States. They fill the local hotels, motels. There is a… Read complete articleHighland Games wants Town’s Money