Draft 2024 Budget approved

On January 18, Council had their second day of budget review and it was apparent that an important reason for the large planned budget increase is the addition of more staff. Therefore they spent most time on that. But in the end not much changed. There were no significant deletions, only one new hire was eliminated and in fact some items were added including a small increase in Councillor salaries.  But some key decisions were made including on the beach lifeguards, Centennial Pool operation in 2024, a test of a fixed route Transit system and a number of other items. All Councillors participated in the debates but often failed to get support for their particular ideas to save money. And, as Lucas often says, it seems staff are in fact seen by Councillors as experts.

Additional Staff

As requested by Council, CAO Tracey Vaughan provided a prioritized list of the 18 staff to be hired (see full report in Resources). Three  of the 18 had been previously approved: Manager of the Office of the CAO formerly titled Manager of Customer Service and Strategic Initiatives, Manager of Procurement, and Financial Analyst. Two other positions were given Council pre-approval in 2023, the Principal Planner and Senior Engineering Technician. Tracey said that the other 13 positions “advance Council approved plans and strategies and/or are related to growth”. Previously, Adam Giddings said that the new positions add $866,368 to the budget providing 3.08% of the budget increase (see Gidding’s report here)

The following chart depicts the final ranking of the positions.

Rank Position
1 2 x Firefighter/Inspector
2 Manager of Procurement
3 Senior Engineering Technician
4 Principal Planner
5 Manager of the Office of the CAO
6 Program Support Financial Analyst
7 Municipal Law Enforcement and Licencing Clerk
8 Municipal Law Enforcement Officer
9 Environmental Technician II
10 Council and Committee Coordinator
11 Parks Student PT
12 Council Administrator *
13 Customer Service Representative
14 Sustainability Coordinator
15 Ec Development – Summer Student
16 GIS Summer Student
17 Communications Co-Ordinator PT *
18 Customer Service Representative PT- Student

* Subsequently merged. See below.

When it came time to review budget details, it was apparent that staff hiring was the major issue so Councillor Bureau moved that all 18 positions be approved. Councillor Brian Darling then moved that the sustainability officer be removed but his motion was defeated. Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty then moved to remove the Council Administrator but her motion failed with a recorded vote of 5 – 2. Councillor Mutton supported Nicole but then moved to merge 3 positions: Council Administrator, Customer Service Representative and Communications Co-Ordinator PT. After discussion that was revised to keep the Customer Service Representative and the motion to merge the other two (#12 and #17 in the list) passed 6-1 with Councillor Burchat against.

Other things to know

  • CAO Tracey Vaughan supports Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – there are multiple references in her report to development of KPIs.
  • A new user fee schedule was proposed by Director Geerts but there was no indication of its impact on the budget nor the amount of the average increase and although many items were increased by 6%, others were unchanged or had much bigger increases. (See Resources). Final approval of the new fees will be at the January 31 Regular Council meeting.
  • According to a note on their pay-check, Councillors get reminded that they are paid less than minimum wage. It seems that this is calculated assuming a 35 hour week. Therefore, Councillor Barber moved a motion to bring Councillor wages up from $14.93/hour to $16.55/hour which would mean an annual councillor salary of $30,121. He also moved that the Deputy Mayor and Mayor’s salary will have the same % increase. That’s a 10.8% increase.  Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty noted that this still did not reach the “living wage” for Northumberland County which would be $20.60/hour. Councillor Mutton seconded the motion and it passed with 2 abstentions (not named nor visible on the video).
  • There was a discussion about saving the $3,000 spent on the Mayor’s Levee but in the end it was decided to “re-imagine” the event.
  • The budget includes $27,500 for a new web site. This is additional to the $20,000 not spent from last year. It seems we’ll get a new web site this year.  Hopefully an improvement. The Town’s web site does not include an up to date organization chart – in fact, their contact information page is also out of date. I have tried to fill the gap on this page.
  • The Hybrid On Call/Fixed Transit route trial as discussed earlier (see Resources) was enthusiastically approved. Director Wills cautioned that it will take time to go through the process of RFPs etc. The cost will be $175,000. Mayor Cleveland said that after the trial is completed, he will want to put a cap on the cost of Transit.
  • Council approved contributing $15K to the walk-in medical clinic in Port Hope since many Cobourg people would use it.
  • Deputy Mayor Nicole Beatty won approval to move $50K from the Housing CIP to the Downtown Heritage CIP.
  • Funding for the Centennial pool to stay open in 2024 was approved. The amount was $139,529.
  • The list of Summer events did not include the Sand Castle Festival. It cost $27,213 in 2023.
  • There was a delegation to re-instate Lifeguards by Brenda and Robert Picard – their on-line petition had 415 signatures but the number of Cobourg taxpayers would be considerably less. Mayor Cleveland was against the idea because the Town would then be liable for any drownings. He was also concerned with the ability of the YMCA lifeguards who could be as young as 15. A motion to re-instate Lifeguards at a cost of $120,247 was defeated.
  • A motion by Mayor Cleveland to look at privatizing the Marina was defeated.
  • Council agreed to put the campground operating surplus into reserves in 2025. The amount is $150K in 2024.
  • It was not planned to print a Leisure guide in 2024 – it saved $20K. A motion by the Mayor to re-instate this amount was passed.

Revised Budget

The budget review was expected to result in a smaller tax levy but instead it was slightly higher. Spending increased by 10.04% but new assessment growth of 1.85% means that the expected levy increase will be 8.19% . This compares to the increase of 8.06% for the draft budget presented in December by staff. It’s not yet final since it is subject to approval at the regular Council meeting on 31 January – but don’t hold your breath for a significant change.

Editor’s Note: With the new Schedule of Council meetings, the next report on Council activities on this blog may well be late January; that is, there will likely be a large gap between reports.

Resources

Transit

  • First mention of Hybrid Transit System (Cobourg Blog Report) – 26 May 2023
  • Hybrid Transit system described in Survey (Cobourg Blog Report) – 16 December 2023  The fixed route would operate from Monday to Friday, with approximately 16 stops/1 hour and would visit high pedestrian generating locations.
  • Survey result: When asked “Do you believe a Fixed Route Service Pilot Project is a valuable service for the Town of Cobourg?”, 47.8% said yes

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Dave
1 month ago

There is a formula devised to assess a home for tax. Under MPAC a home is very often under valued of a difference of $100,000 under real sale value. One can apply for a devaluation under MPAC using the three lowest values in an immediate residential area to have your home reaassed at a lower value. The 2023 home average value for Cobourg was $277,300 which I understand from prior Blogs eliminates these owners of receiving the tax increase. Perhaps it is time for a change to this as home prices have increased greatly in recent years and MPAC lags behind and the valuation is not true. With more homes eligable for the increase perhaps the levy overall could be reduced as more would be assessed to pay the increase. In todays market it seems very unlikely the average value of a home in Cobourg is a mere $277,300. Olivia Chow in Toronto wished to change the formula though so people with higher value homes would pay more. The opposite.

Your thoughts to those conversant with the taxation system?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

First, Dave, so that we use the right words: “levy” is the total of property taxes assessed by Cobourg and has nothing to do with MPAC valuations. The “mill rate” multiplied by a property’s valuation gives the amount that that property owner owes.

I agree that $277K for the average valuation is absurd. I don’t know if that is the correct number since to be the average means that many properties are valued at less.

If all properties are valued at far below market value the taxes that each pays is not affected. The inequity comes when some are valued lower than market and some reflect the true value. I’ve only looked at the details of my own place and my MPAC valuation is reasonable. Either I’m unique or the $277K number is seriously incorrect.

Ms. Chow’s idea that expensive properties should pay more than their share is absurd. Consider that wealthier owners likely use the bus and other almost free town services far less than those who are less fortunate. The opposite of equitable!

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Thanks Ken for your reply. I am sure you find it as odd as I do that the average price of a home in Cobourg is $277,300. When you consider the fact there is no home selling at that price or the ones below that evaluation to arrive at such an average when you consider the number of homes here selling for a million or more brought in to create the average the evaluation system seems rather wonky.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,
There seems to be some confusion here. The $277K is NOT the average market selling price, it is the average MPAC valuation which is somewhat below the average market price.

The average price for homes listed for sale in Cobourg is $635K.
Note that this is homes for sale, not all homes.

The average market price for all homes in Cobourg is more likely in the $400-450K range (my SWAG estimate) Perhaps a realter will reply and provide a better estimate.

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

I know Bryan – it is the value MPAC has attached and does not reflect the true value of the home.

My question to you Bryan is how do they come up with the MPAC figure as it has nothing to do with real value of the home?

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,

Sacred bureaucratic rituals, magic 8-ball and Ouija board

Bryan
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Dave,
Sorry Dave, couldn’t resist being facetious

https://www.mpac.ca/en/UnderstandingYourAssessment/ThreeApproachesValue

Per the MPAC web-site, MPAC uses 3 methods:
Direct Comparison Approach (most common)
Income Approach
Cost approach

Direct Comparison Approach
This is the most commonly known valuation approach. We analyze recent sales of comparable properties to determine the value of your property. In considering any sales evidence, we ensure that the property sold has a similar or identical use as the property to be valued.
The direct comparison approach is typically used for the following types of properties:

  • residential
  • condominiums
  • vacant land
Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Thanks Bryan – I went to the link and read about comparitive value on property sales on similar or in proximity properties.

I think your first response is closer to the mark. I have not seen a property selling for $277,500 or less in years here in Cobourg. Starting price is over $500,000 and goes up. The comparative factor. Most streets have had homes sold on them which allow comparison.

I agree with your first answer Bryan. Ungi Mungi, oh great swami – presto – seems more the method. $277,500 is the average – where are these properties? Where are the ones at lower than average? Never saw a home sold for that low in I don’t know how long.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave, due to COVID and other excuses, MPAC valuations are for property values on Jan 1, 2016.

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Hi Ken – friends of mine moved here in 2011. Their purchase price for a modest home was $250,000. Even in 2016 an average home price of $277,500 seems an undervaluation. I viewed prices at that time and found even condos were going for $200,000. and more. I think an overall is overdue and I know my property was undervalued in 2010 when I sold it by $100,000. in true value. If MPAC is not going to use the true value why would they place an artificial value in Ken? Comparative sales prices should be what they are using.

cornbread
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

News to me…What MPAC evaluation is the threshold at which that $ level and below do not get the town/county increase in annual property taxation?

John Draper
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Many people have difficulty understanding the Municipal tax system but I have explained it on this page: https://cobourginternet.com/council/municipal-taxes-in-cobourg

Dave
Reply to  John Draper
1 month ago

The link will be helpful for many John. The increase will only apply to those at or above the average is what was stated here previously and painstakingly explained by yourself previously. However the MPAC system seems a poor evaluation process for tax purpose creating a very uneven field overall. In viewing a home sold recently they were paying at the time of sale the tax rate provided for the average price yet it sold for $575,000. My own home was evaluated $100,000 under the value at the time of sale some 11 years ago before the great surgence of sales values.

Dave
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Correction from link – if lower than average may even go down.

Elmo
1 month ago

After reading the letter to the editor from John Hill today I am prompted to pose a question that has been on my mind each of the 13 years we have lived in Cobourg and always around budget time.
As I understand it Cobourg Council has no say in the Police Board annual budget and if council should chose to object to any element and wish to amend that budget there exists no right to doing so. That in the face of taxpayer reality that it is our tax levy that funds the police budget.
My point is not argue against the existing budget protocol but rather to
understand how the Town of Cobourg allowed this practise to begin and be entrenched in the budgetary process. Is this a protocol mandated by the provincial government and all towns and cities in Ontario follow suit or is it a unique to Cobourg creation?
If anyone knows the origin and history of the practise please share it with those of us who depend on this blog for information.

Bryan
Reply to  Elmo
1 month ago

Elmo,

Your concern is well taken.

The existence and powers of the Police Service Boards comes from the Ontario Police Act. The municipalities have no option but to follow it.

The police are a Town department. Their revenues, expenses and assets all belong to the Town. However…..the Police Act gives the local police services board control over the police. They set policy, staffing and the budget.

There of the 5 members of the CPSB. 3 are appointed by Council: 2 council members and 1 resident. The remaining 2 members are “appointed” by the provincial attorney/solicitor general. These are political patronage appointments. One would think (hope) that the 3 Town appointees would be a “team” and take their lead from Council. Doesn’t seem to work that way.

The CPSB prepares the cops budget and presents it to Council for approval: all or nothing, no nit-picking line by line. If Council does not approve (suggests changes), the board will consider the suggestions and perhaps make changes (or not). The budget is returned to Council for approval. If council doesn’t approve, it goes to arbitration. An expensive process that historically is unlikely to be successful for the municipality.

The Town had a small measure of success regarding the CPSB 2024 budget. There was an ask for 6 “new” cops (I believe there were 4 vacant positions and 2 new ones). The Town suggested 4 and the CPSB accepted.

Hope this helps

Rational
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Why then has the Toronto Mayor be able to make a cut to its Police Budget – while small it is for $12 million. The Toronto Police Chief is arguing against it etc. been on the news lately and being highlighted today.

Bryan
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Rational,
1, Toronto mayor is a super mayor
2, has the “cut” been accepted by the cops and approved by Council?
3, If the police chief is opposed, the cut has likely not been approved.
4, Arbitration is a distinct possibility

Rational
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

This is today’s latest news item. I read it as the city budget will cut $12 million from the proposed Police tabled budget. Looks like the final approval will be in February. Just have to follow I guess and see what happens.

https://www.cp24.com/news/chow-defends-proposed-toronto-police-budget-as-she-highlights-spending-on-emergency-services-1.6740341#:~:text=Your%20Toronto%20Police%20are%20receiving,a%20briefing%20note%20she's%20expecting.

I don’t understand why the Cobourg Police Services has such a controlling hold over the elected officials that ran on being the residents of Cobourg’s voice. Was it just to get our vote – with no substance behind it?

Also, why won’t Council request staff to seek an RFP from the OPP to determine if their are cost savings? When asked about this approach the Mayor and Council immediately reject such an idea. Again, I ask why does CPS have dominant control over Cobourg?

Bryan
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Rational,
Regarding the Toronto cops: nothing has been decided, Each side is still lobbing media grenades in the hopes of gaining public favour. The cops still have the arbitration option.

You wrote, “ran on being the residents of Cobourg’s voice” Not only is an election promise involved. The Municipal Act mandates representing the residents as “job one” for members of Council.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Bryan
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Rational,

To clarify my prior comment. Council can suggest changes to the cops budget but can not force them. The cops can accept the suggestions or not. The cops hold the “ace” card….arbitration

Rob
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

But ultimately Council holds the approval (or not) of increases in taxes therefore doesn’t the accountability fall on Council?

Bryan
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Rob,

Not for the cops budget. Council’s approval is mostly a rubber stamp, unless they are willing to go to arbitration (which is often a long shot desperation move).

I agree with you that Council is ultimately responsible for approving the budget (net of cops). Staff however also hold a significant responsibility.

Rational
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

I think I know what the answer is going to be, but if Council passed a By Law to provide them authority to override line items in the Police Budget could this not be done. Especially as the Town is paying them through taxes collected. If the CPS didn’t like the change then that would be their problem.

Maybe Council should just reject the Police Budget and let them go to arbitration. This would send a message at least to show stronger fiscal restraint.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Bryan
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Rational,
A Town by-law can not trump a provincial statute. The Police Act prevails.

Regarding arbitration, you could be right. I think LC has the stones to do it, where previous mayors did not. He has only one vote however and would need to get 3 other Council members to vote with him.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Rational, you seem to be ignoring the obvious way to rein in the police budget: Council appoints a majority of the PSB members so Council could influence their votes.

cornbread
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Town Council must vote to entertain a Policing Proposal from the OPP…then, make a decision. Does Town Council have the courage to fully represent the citizens of Cobourg??? We shall see.

Rational
Reply to  cornbread
1 month ago

Following is from a posting I did under the “Budget 2024” Nov. 25th topic posting. It is not the full comment which has links and additional information.

“The OPP establish its Municipality cost based on number of households in the municipality. Based on two OPP links I pulled up, the average annual Municipality cost per household is $347 Based on 295 municipalities they service in Ontario and includes based price plus chosen service add ons. It has been in this range for the past 7 years. This compares to $765 per household for the Cobourg Police Services annual cost. OPP have a basic household charge. There are 9,135 households in Cobourg based on the 2021 Census.

So again, why would Council not want to request an RFP to know if there are real savings? And why does CPS have such dominating control over Council – as when this topic comes up it is an immediate NO by Council.

KalaM
1 month ago

Totally agree with Rational, how do we call for an early election? This budget is going to be approved next week and the mayor and council have no appetite to control the budget. They will only follow what the senior staff dictate.
The council sets a tax levy but the town staff informs the council what they want and the mayor and council have no backbone to say the word NO! We cannot likely do anything about it for the year 2024. Two more years of the same mayor, council and senior staff will be making the same unrealistic tax hikes again. WE AS TAXPAYERS will be having the same conversations and concerns as we are all having today and still will have the same outcomes.
The only thing I can say this mayor and council have done so far since election is given themselves a pay raise and keep adding to the towns staff.
The last person leaving town, please turn out the lights.

Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

Once again Cobourg has received what/who they voted for.

Geo
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
1 month ago

I wish council would take some money and fix and paint the Gazebo down at the beach. It is starting to show it’s age and some wood should be replaced

Bryan
Reply to  Geo
1 month ago

Geo,
Gazebo repair is in the 2024 Parks budget

Kathleen
1 month ago

JD’S so correct when he said not to hold our breaths for any significant change to the Budget on Jan. 31. … Town staff have already taken it upon themselves to advertise the summer students on-line.

Rob
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Cleveland said the Town was financially broke, yet Council is adding nearly $1m in new wages and giving themselves a 10% increase in pay, while squabbling about saving $3,000 on the Mayor’s levy. Their solution to this conundrum – print more money

This group needs to go.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rob
Bryan
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Rob,
You wrote: “yet Council is adding nearly $1m in new wages and giving themselves a 10% increase in pay”
Staff are responsible for the budget. They prepare and proposed it. Council approves (or not) as part of their statutory oversight duty.

I don’t recall the Mayor voting for the staff additions, but the Fab 4 (Kathleen’s term) likely did. After all, staff are the experts.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Rob
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Council provides the policy and direction through the CAO…Council can direct staff to return a budget without any headcount increases and a specific target increase to taxes. As far as I can see the Corporation lacks experts and common sense.

Bryan
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Rob,
Council passed a motion directing a 5% levy increase for 2024. What did we get……9.9% plus a 3.8% SWM fee (tax) increase
So much for staff following Council’s direction

Rational
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

It follows then that Cobourg does not need a Mayor or Council given how ineffective they are…..or at least we don’t need he current group. How do residents initiate an early election call?

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Sandpiper
1 month ago

One thing is for sure this Council under its present leadership has not resolved or brought a solution / conclusion to any of the Town issues Homeless ness , Short Term rentals , Storm Water Billings , Servicing issues , Slow Planning Dept Affordable Anything etc etc

Rob
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Agreed – I would challenge anyone to give 2-3 examples of anything Council has done in the last 15 months that makes a substantive and positive difference in the lives of taxpayers.

I’m struggling to think of anything but please prove me wrong…

Old Sailor
1 month ago

We need to end our “no Council savings and lots of Council discretionary spendings cycle”, which has been going on for a long time. No money set aside for reserves for capital expenditures – like for the the marina, trailer park and other capital needs.

The Cobourg 2022 published consolidated financial statements reflect in Note 9 “reserves” of:

$1 million for general government
$3.7 million for protection srvices
$1.1 milliion for transportaion services
$1.4 million for environmental services
$0.6 million for cultural services
$1.1 million for planning and development.

I don’t know how the above reserves are funded, whether they are all still needed for their original purposes or whether they only apply to Cobourg’s subsidiary Lakefront Utilities Inc.

https://www.cobourg.ca/en/our-government/resources/Finance/2022-12-31-Town-of-Cobourg-Cons-wFS.pdf

We need an annual dose of zero based budgeting. And what is left at the end of each year after 8% tax increases, would go into reserves. To ensure that result may require replacing many of our current Council members.

Last edited 1 month ago by Old Sailor
Bryan
Reply to  Old Sailor
1 month ago

Old Sailor,

The reserves shown are discretionary reserves and are funded primarily from operations: tax levy, HOLDCO interest/dividends and business unit surplus (Northam, police crimcheck, marina, campground, parking). Total about $11.6M

Added to this are the statutory reserves (deferred revenue Development Charges) totaling about $12M

These are Town accounts and have nothing to do with LUSI.

I agree with your call for zero based budgeting,

See the excellent article on municipal budgeting by the CD Howe Institute
https://cobourgtaxpayers.ca/2015-report-card-on-city-budgets-cd-howe-report/

Rational
1 month ago

So on it goes. The decision makers and Mayor of Cobourg must be researching on a new book How to Waste Taxpayers Money. If they don’t think voters will not remember this at the next election they are dreaming. #Get the Mayor and Council OUT.

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2024/01/22/two-port-a-potties-located-outside-perfectly-good-washrooms-costing-taxpayers-thousands/

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

In the past being a bus stop/shelter with toilet facility there was never any need for port-a potties.
Since occupancy was taken over to becoming a doss house damaged internally until the occupants were evicted.
Now off limits and unusable to tax paying residents
What is wrong with this picture and priorities.?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Rational, you are probably wrong.

Our previous Council approved a 14.5% (levy increase + the new stormwater “fee”) tax increase for 2023. Yet we re-elected the 4 Councillors who approved the increase. The previous Deputy Mayor campaigned on fiscal responsibility and was defeated!

Michael
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

But the previous deputy mayor and the previous mayor were unable to get simple common sense bylaws proposed, let alone passed. The job isn’t exactly attractive to the highest flyers or the most capable.

Bryan
Reply to  Michael
1 month ago

Michael,
And the DM and Mayor had only one vote each. The Fab 4 (Kathleen’s term) typically voted against….and they were re-elected.

Keith Simpson
1 month ago

Is the irony and conflict of interest lost only on me? The Green Wood Coalition and it’s board and employees directly and indirectly (through the GoFundMe campaign etc) are supporting and growing the Brookside encampment, which has and continues to put an ever increasing strain on our municipal services (EMS, fire, policing, bylaw enforcement, maintenance, garbage etc) being delivered to a small but growing group who snub their nose at our laws and social norms. This undoubtedly comes with an increase in taxes and/or a diminution of services to the taxpayers, who Council should be prioritizing. And yet Council has given a grant in the 2024 budget to the GWC. What symbolic message does that deliver to hardworking, law abiding, tax paying citizens? What were they thinking?

small town Ontario
Reply to  Keith Simpson
1 month ago

My concerns as well. GWC has not even made public as yet their 2022 Annual Report.

https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-against-city-over-clearing-of-homeless-encampments-1.6728330

Some good news. A Coalition for Justice and Human Rights lawsuit was filed last year claiming eviction of homeless people from encampments violates their human rights. The judge ruled Jan 16, 2024. Encampments in the city were shut down. More good news people ask for help and were put in shelters.

So, why can’t the powers that be shut down the Cobourg encampment, shelter space here is available for them?

Are my tax dollars through grants indirectly going to this group, A Coalition for Justice and Human Rights? Is this the group who dropped flyers off at the encampment a few weeks ago?

Geo
Reply to  Keith Simpson
1 month ago

I totally agree with Keith on these issues as why we have to pay for all these services especially when they are camping on Provincial land. We have a fire truck called to the camp to put out a fire but that fire truck could be used for a more serious house fire or car accident.

Rob
1 month ago

This group should enjoy their final days of their (in some cases first and..) final term.

Jade
1 month ago

What in God’s name is going on with this council !
Non confidence vote all the way.
Absolutely horrible council

Bill Thompson
Reply to  Jade
1 month ago

Suzanne Seguin ex -DM where are you ! ?

Bryan
Reply to  Bill Thompson
1 month ago

Bill T,

Her talents and dedication weren’t appreciated by the majority of those that voted. Instead, they elected the Nicole Beatty, along with 3 other incumbents. These four are the Council’s shining lights

Kathleen
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

My hope is now that JD’s Blog has increased readership, voters will be enlightened and spread the word come next election.

Bryan
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Kathleen,
Amen.
As you suggest, hopefully JD readers will remember the antics and spread the word.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Clarity please, incumbents, NB, Burchat, Bureau, Darling were already holding office. Barber, Cleveland, Mutton, new to council, although Mutton was on council in the past. I agree Seguin was a very good elected representative we need more with her common sense and excellent work ethic.
So, are you saying the four who were reelected are shining lights meaning good reps for the taxpayers? If so, not so much from my point of view.

Kathleen
Reply to  small town Ontario
1 month ago

Bryan was just being facetious.
The Fab 4 are Failures – not shining lights.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Thanks

Bryan
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Kathleen,
Smart lady……..No BS, direct and to the point
Fab 4 indeed!

VeeTee
Reply to  Bill Thompson
1 month ago

Bill,

I posted several months ago, on this blog, I could just imagine Suzanne Sequin somewhere laying on a beach in the sun, with a margarita in her hand and a big smile on her face!!

Bet she’s still there!

Bryan
Reply to  VeeTee
1 month ago

VeeTee,
A beach perhaps, at this time of year. the rest of the year you’ll likely find her in the Burlington area

Kevin
Reply to  VeeTee
1 month ago

Suzanne worked hard and listened to people. She really cared. If anybody deserves to relax on a beach Suzanne does, if that is what she wants.

For the next election, I really hope voters will remember what the purpose of council is and vote for people who act in the best interests of voters.

Aleta
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

You are absolutely correct–my biggest worry is we won’t get any good people to run. We need to encourage some of the people on this blog to run in the next election!

Michael
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

listening and caring are great. What were the accomplishments? I found the ousted mayor and DM were both great at listening and signalling concern – with no action. Very light on getting things done. Simple common sense bylaws not enacted, basic stuff.

Kevin
Reply to  Michael
1 month ago

Michael, good point. The DM did try to make changes but when the town employees will not follow their own by-laws/rules and other council members go along with the town employees there was little she could do. At least on one issue in particular. There seems to be a group on councillor who often vote together. I did hear something rather disturbing yesterday. Gift cards have been given out to homeless people to buy food. The certificates were sold for cash, at a discount, possibly at a certain local business. The homeless person used the cash for other purposes. The gift cards could then be resold or used personally at a profit. I really hope this is not true. But there could be some truth to it as I do know gift cards have been given out. There really seems to be some more than questionable decisions by council and town employees.

Kathleen
Reply to  Kevin
1 month ago

This definitely happens. Think about it. Why would a homeless drug addict go to No Frills with his/her gift card, when they can get food for Free at the Foodbank or a lunch/dinner at St. Peter’s and other other places? People who give addicts any discount cards are unwittingly buying their drugs for them.

There are poverty-stricken, elderly people living in very poor conditions in this Town. Community Care and Foodshare know who they are. Gift Cards should go to these people. Not drug addicts.

Rob
Reply to  Jade
1 month ago

The CAO is proving to be far out of her depth and only too happy to watch taxes and budgets increase without the slightest hint of fiscal restraint. The entire group needs to go, including the CAO.

Bryan
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Rob,
“The entire group including the CAO”?
By entire group are you referring to Council or executive staff? Or both?

Rob
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

I’m suggesting, Council and the CAO.

small town Ontario
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

The Senior Leadership Team. It has been mentioned in the past, and concerns are there. How many actually live here and pay Cobourg taxes? Would it affect their decision making when preparing budgets?

Michael
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

Indeed she does.

Kathleen
Reply to  Rob
1 month ago

When the CAO tells The Mayor that it isn’t her job to basically oversee Department spending, then you know the Taxpayer is doomed.

Bryan
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Kathleen,
If that’s what the CAO told the Mayor, it indicates to me that she doesn’t understand her job responsibilities (remember, no KPIs). As the ranking executive officer of the corporation, it is absolutely the CAO’s responsibility to oversee everything. The CAO is responsible for all activity (and non-activity) in and of the corporation.

cornbread
1 month ago

The expenses in the Town of Cobourg are “Out of Control”. When everyone in town is cutting back, the town continues to spend at an increased rate. Do we really need 2 more new Firefighters as an example?

Rational
Reply to  cornbread
1 month ago

Cornbread – Yes expenses are out of control. The Mayor and Council do not have priorities, but rather personal agendas.

However, the Fire Department is the one area that needs additional fire fighters and full support. Every call they go out on is a direct result of an emergency call. They save lives.

The Cobourg Police Services is the primary department out of control and their 4 staff increase does not show up here as it is rolled into the Police Budget. Given what I have seen over the past year they have not lived up to expectations. They ride around town and ignore obvious reasons where they should stop and ask questions.

The second department where additional staff are not necessary is the By Law Department. They also do not live up to expectations. Most recent example – the Henley Arcade Friday Night Drug Party has simply continued in Victoria Park. The article below also is concerning – but crickets out of the Mayor/Council or Enforcement. Also, they simply let the PJ Preacher wander off last week – in his state that night who knows what he might do to harm someone.

https://todaysnorthumberland.ca/2024/01/19/minors-welcome-to-attend-unsanctioned-overdose-prevention-site-in-cobourg/#google_vignette

The Mayor/Council are not demonstrating they deserve their postings as they continue to promote meaningless technical changes and ignore the real issues. They are simply in over their heads.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
cornbread
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Then how come Port Hope gets by with a Volunteer Fire Dept at about 1/2 the cost per household versus Cobourg.

Rational
Reply to  cornbread
1 month ago

Cornbread – Port Hope’s Fire cost is significantly greater than Cobourg’s. Comparing apples to apples Port Hopes fire budget would be $3.5 million dollars greater than Cobourg’s.

Based on the Port Hope “Fire Master Plan” and the latest information I could easily find, for 2021 PH Fire had 586 calls. For the 5 years prior it averaged 599 calls. Taking the latest Port Hope Fire Budget amount for 2024 costs are estimated at $1,876,080 with a Volunteer Fire Department concept.

Based on latest information I could find on Cobourg, Fire Chief Beaven said in a Jan. 10, 2024 interview in Northumberland’s Today that in 2022 there were 1,409 calls, 2023 – 1,914 calls and estimated for 2,024 – 2,500 calls. The 2023 costs are $4,007,944 with Cobourg’s full time/volunteer Fire Department Concept.

IMO number of calls is the common denominator when comparing the these two Fire Departments. Cobourg’s calls are 4 times that of Port Hope. It follows then if Port Hope FD has the same number of calls as Cobourg then they would be looking at an annual budget of approximately $7,504,336 as compared to Cobourg’s budget of $4,007,944.

Cobourg’s Fire Department is effectively managed, with the Full Time/partial Part Time concept justifiable.

Leweez
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

How about we leave the medical calls to our county ambulance service and leave our fire department to fight fires?
if the ambulance service is unable to attend a call, then our fire department can be dispatched and the cost of this call can be sent to the county?

Rational
Reply to  Leweez
1 month ago

The fire department is there as you may need jaws of life if a car accident to get at the injured person, access to facilities or buildings, there could be gases or monoxide issues etc. You don’t know until you get to the scene. Another example is there was a rear ended last fall at Elgin and Ontario street. Turned out a propane tank was being used and started leaking. Anything can happen.

Leweez
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Yes, but the fire department does not need to respond to the purely medical calls.
An example is responding to seniors facilities for medical calls.
It was a daily occurrence at the former seniors home on Division Street and with the new tenants moving in soon I don’t think it will change

Paul
Reply to  Leweez
1 month ago

There are very few fires now. They are justifying their existence. If I am correct we went from 3 per the four shifts to 4 just a couple of years ago. The council should step in but they are not here to fight the battles for the taxpayer. The CAO doesn’t feel she should be driving cost reduction, so council needs to put that in her job description with regular evaluations through the year. If there is progress great!! If not we lol for a new CAO that has the skill set required.
The councillors have a personal agenda, for sure. Council should freeze all new hires until they get a plan in place. The new sustainability manger needs to be an efficiency manager to teach staff about efficiency and to drive it across all departments. Efficiency has to be in every manager/ supervisors job description with evaluations through put the year tied to their job performance and pay increases.Then we could start reducing cost through attrition.

cornbread
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Makework calls perhaps…How many fires???

Sandpiper
1 month ago

Seeing the Trailer park has been the only Town operation doing well financially ,
and it does attract Tourism
that actually stay for more than 1 night so they Shop and spend locally
Why not Turn the Sports field at the west end of the Beach into another Trailer park
minimal servicing required for a seasonal operation and at present there is a huge waiting list for our existing Trailer Resort / Hotel with a fast approval it could be open this year .

Sandpiper
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Ok Taxes go up even more in the West end
as this Council dos not know how to Reduce , Cut Back , or
find any Cost cutting measures even with in the Town Hall .

Kathleen
1 month ago

CPP Cost of Living 4.4%
Cobourg Taxes 8.19%
Additional retirees added to the Foodbank line??

I vote No Confidence in our Council.

Cut Staff Hires from #11 down.

Mrs Bigley
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

l totally agree with Kathleen

Paul
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

After going thru the budgets for five years there seems to be a 3 to one cost re wages and supplies verses the amount taken in forthe service. That holds true for the CCC, ( and mamy if the people using the CCC are from out of town), transit, and Victoria hall. Interesting the library has grants ( meaning) and a cost of $1.5 million per year? There is no breakdown of wages supplies etc in the budget for the Library. The one group Holdco or our utilities group has not ever given the owners , the tax payer any transparency as far as costs wages number of employees etc. They do give money to various programs so obviously there is a profit, the council is using to fund whatever they feel fit. Is there a reserve we are paying for in our utility costs and don’t know about?? The taxpayers need to push for a clear accounting of Holdco thru the council. This silence has gone on long enough. The police department has their corporate services group that searches for criminal clearances etc and they bring in, from what I can see $$4.8 million per year and cost us $2.6 million. Are there more dollars in their reserve??? There are lots of areas to look at our costs. There has to be the will .

Leweez
Reply to  Paul
1 month ago

I’ve been asking about Lusi/ Holdco for a couple years now.
our council was told that senior management wages would be divulged, but nothing yet.
the secrecy surrounding Lakefront is a joke!!

Anne
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

Cutting the Mayor out should be first priority!
He certainly doesn’t represent himself well with his superior narcissistic complex!
He breaks the rules, is disrespectful and expects respect from the people in our town in return!

Last edited 1 month ago by Anne
Kathleen
Reply to  Anne
1 month ago

Well, I can see why the Fab 4 got elected. Smiling and waving seem to be the important thing to voters.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kathleen
mcpissed
1 month ago

I would like to know why there is talk of privatizing the marina coming from Cleveland? Although it was defeated we should look at this closer to find his reason for the motion.

Sandpiper
Reply to  mcpissed
1 month ago

Great Idea Privatize the Marina others have —Just the Same as being a member of a GOLF Club or other
personal interest user group
It is not essential to Cobourg only to Private Boat Owners
We are as a Town No longer operating a Fairy service to the USA as once upon a time

Kathleen
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Totally agree. It was a great suggestion by the Mayor – voted down by Council.

Diana
Reply to  Sandpiper
1 month ago

Fairy service? Really???

small town Ontario
Reply to  Diana
1 month ago

Just a simple mistake in spelling I think, Ferry Service

MikeH
Reply to  mcpissed
1 month ago

Watch the recorded Budget Meeting video online…

The Mayor raised privatization of the Marina as a means to open a discussion on the topic.

Whitby operates their own marina. Belleville operates Meyer’s Pier Marina. However Bluffer’s Park Marina in Scarborough is operated by a lessee and so are others.

The Mayor was looking at ways to reduce the future Town employee count. It’s not like he was advocating leasing out the Marina any time soon. The Motion was very reasonable.

Kathleen
Reply to  MikeH
1 month ago

I wonder if Council voted it down because it was the Mayor who suggested it.
He seems to be the lone wolf trying to suggest savings. The rest just don’t care at all how much taxes rise.

Bryan
Reply to  Kathleen
1 month ago

MikeH &Kathleen,

Interesting that the mayor would suggest selling the marina. The sale would generate some cash (fix the harbour maybe) and reduce staff a bit, but its effect on the budget would be nil. The marina’s operations are self sufficient and capital requirements have been funded by the marina reserve (funded by operations).

ben
1 month ago

 Mayor Cleveland said that after the trial is completed, he will want to put a cap on the cost of Transit.”

With an extensive career in the oilfields and the costs of running a business the Mayor must be realistic when a large portion of the Transit budget is dependent on the input costs (fuel, insurance, wages) which are all rising with inflation.

If this statement is to be believed than the Mayor is proposing service cuts for every year beyond this one.

Unbelievable!

John Draper
Reply to  ben
1 month ago

Perhaps he wants to raise fares. And he did not specify what the cap would be – maybe it allows for inflation.

John st resident
Reply to  John Draper
1 month ago

They already did *just* raise fares for 2024 from $2.25 to $2.50 plus if you use a pass and pay by credit card they charge a .38 fee on top (which Toronto does not charge) so I paid =$2.88 compare to Toronto $3.25 and there you obviously you get way more for your fare on TTC plus you can ride for 2 hours on one fare.

Yesterday I had to run some errands all in 2 hours and I paid $8.64 for 2 hours (3 trips) they really can’t justify raising them more for such limited service. They should look at making it a 2 hour fare here as well. I will say every single bus driver here are the nicest most helpful people at least, I really notice that every time I take transit. Yesterday the buses were all filled as well it was well used.

Last edited 1 month ago by John st resident
Ken Strauss
Reply to  John st resident
1 month ago

John St Resident, you complain about about paying $2.88 for your trip. Do you realize that your excursion cost the taxpayers approximately $60?

Jade
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Seriously Ken you do have issues with people NEEDING transit. That’s all you ever talk about.
Hope the hell you or a loved one never needs this service. Why not bitch about the encampment and all the resources relating to it that u paid taxes for. Give it a break with the transit taxes

Bryan
Reply to  Jade
1 month ago

Jade,

Why should Cobourg taxpayers be subsidizing transit riders $20+ per ride. There are only about 150 individuals using transit. About half of Cobourg’s peer communities do not have transit. It is not a need that benefits most of Cobourg’s residents. It is a want for a relative few.

That said, we have it, so let’s find ways to provide the service on a more cost effective basis. Trenton uses a non-profit company for their transit needs. Innisfil uses UBER type services.

It’s time for creative out-of-the-box thinking and solutions. It’s unlikely these will come from staff.

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Taxpayers in any town/city subsidize public transit. It is a common service which also provides ability to support businesses. Prior to COVID and the on call bus service here transit was much more used. Fixed route was much more dependable and I knew many who used it. John St. resident points out the bus service was full the day he used it.
For those lucky enough to have cars and homes they should count their blessings. Those I do know in that category are far from hurting enjoying many luxuries and they don;t need a “rich uncle” they are the rich uncle.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Yes, Dave, before COVID ridership was about twice as high as today. In those years the bus service cost taxpayers only about $30 per trip which I think is still a ridiculous expense.

Try a little simple arithmetic:

There were about 60,000 rides last year. Most people go somewhere and return so that means 30,000 roundtrips. The bus cost the taxpayers about $1.8M including all expenses. Simple division says that each roundtrip cost $60.

Assume that each regular rider uses the bus most weekdays for 250 roundtrips per year. Then each regular rider paid $1000 for 500 rides but cost the taxpayers $15,000. That subsidy is considerably more than the lease on a late model car + insurance + gasoline. How is that reasonable?

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

As I said Ken every town/city subsidizes public transit. it is for those that do not have a car, are due to medical reasons or age unable to drive and includes a large number of people on the lower end of the economic scale. A fixed route needs to be returned. Businesses here desire workers and with housing costs today whether rental/owned can not afford a car and it is not because they are living high off the hog or need further expenses added to a stretched budget.
If you are feeling the pinch Ken financially there are such things as a reverse mortgage and you may be able to bet entitlement to the Food Bank if you are feeling that pressed as so many issues you don’t want a dime spent.

Rational
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave – are you missing the point – just asking. The Cobourg transit system cost $60 per round trip. The rider pays $2.50 each way. The difference is added to taxes that the taxpayer pays. Comments suggest 150 people out of 20,000 use the bus.

It doesn’t make financial business sense to run a bus system. You comments about feeling the prince or food bank are distractions to discussing the transit system.

Last edited 1 month ago by Rational
Ken
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Dave, a further distortion is your mention that many lower income families cannot afford a car. Welfare is not the responsibility of a lower tier municipality such as Cobourg. If more families require welfare then they should look to the county and the province rather than to Cobourg’s property tax payers to fund an inefficient and overly expensive bus service.

Alternatively, why not advocate for giving each deserving family a Mercedes + insurance + gasoline? It would cost the same as our current bus service.

Dave
Reply to  Ken
1 month ago

Ken – I guess you are out of touch. There are many working people who can not afford a car. I certainly did not state people on Welfare whom I would presume do not have a car at all and use the public transit.
Your last suggestion is certainly one I would not advocate for but Ken, you surprise me at your suggestion but by all means if that is what you want to do go for it!

Dave
Reply to  Rational
1 month ago

Public Transit service is provided in many centres Rational. If it were dollars and cents only there wouldn’t be public transit anywhere. It is a public service period.

As for the other Rational, always like to be non-judgemental. Has stated he does not support the most common services tax payer funded. He has stated he is a retired home owner. I certainly was getting the idea that they may be strapped financially, unaware of help that he could access.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,
You wrote: “every town/city subsidizes public transit”
They do not!
Upwards of 50% of Cobourg’s peers do not have transit.
Transit is not a need. It is a want for under 150 individual users.

I agree that fixed routes have to be returned.

Further, there are more cost effective ways to provide the service. Innisfil uses an “uber” type service. Trenton outsources to a non-profit (small bus) service.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Every town that has public transit Bryan – I thought that would be clear to you.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,
That may have been your intended thought, but that’s not what you wrote “every town/city subsidizes public transit”.

Frenchy
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Where does that “under 150 individual users” number come from?

Bryan
Reply to  Frenchy
1 month ago

Frenchy,

As I replied to NAI, “The 150 individual users estimate is a calculated number based on the Town’s ridership, revenue data and fare schedule. Some well reasoned assumptions are also used.”

Ken
Reply to  Jade
1 month ago

Jade, I’ve given up on the encampment. It is a waste of time for anyone to fight against “human rights” such as the right for criminals to be supported by society and allowed to do whatever they want except consume alcohol in public..

Jade
Reply to  Ken
1 month ago

Well there I have to agree. The town is held hostage by these undesirable misfits. And it’s the rest of us that pay. In taxes, stolen property and assaults

John st resident
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 month ago

Ken, have you ever taken transit? I’m guessing not. Yesterday there was a blind man getting groceries and two elderly women in their 90s, and me a working professional making double the median income yet my housing costs are half my pay and I can’t afford a car on top. Do you want endless traffic and congestion and pollution like Toronto? Traffic is already getting bad some days in town, transit is an essential service for many residents and it’s far more than 150 residents and those resident need this service.

Last edited 1 month ago by John st resident
Bryan
Reply to  John st resident
1 month ago

John St. resident,

You didn’t answer the main question: why should Cobourg taxpayers give you a $20+ subsidy each time you take transit?

Further, you wrote: ” transit is an essential service for many residents and it’s far more than 150 residents and those resident need this service.”
It’s not an essential service (need). You have options sech as cabs/Uber/ride share, bike, walk. For you and some Cobourgers, transit service is a want.
You state that there are far more than 150 residents using the transit service. Have you done an analysis that you care to share? How many is “far more than 150”? If not, your statement is uninformed speculation.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Jade
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Oh ok then.. the blind can ride a bike and the seniors as well right ? Maybe you should start a ride share to take these people that take transit ? BTW many MANY people take transit to spend hard earned cash at other businesses around here. They also take it to get work ! This must be coming from a privilege background

Bryan
Reply to  Jade
1 month ago

Jade,
You and john St. resident should get together, compare notes and get your story straight before making meaningless comments like “many MANY people take transit….” How many is many MANY? Do you have data and analysis to share?

Yes, some (likely most) transit users use transit to go shopping and travel to/from work

That doesn’t change the math.
In 2022, the Town estimated 55K rides (somewhat optimistic) My estimate, using their data, is 46K rides.
At Dec 13 2023, why doesn’t the Town have accurate ridership and numbers for 2022 and where is the 2023 ridership data?

NAI
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

If not, your statement is uninformed speculation.”

Like your 150 number?

Bryan
Reply to  NAI
1 month ago

NAI,
What number do you suggest for the number of individuals using Cobourg transit?
Regular readers know that I am a numbers guy and rarely speculate.
150 is a good estimate, overstated if anything.

NAI
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

My point is you asked for justification for more – we can ask the same for your number.

Reading the comments, it struck me that there are 2 sides to this argument – one which leans towards this cost is justifiable based on a sense of social contract people think a town has in regards to a baseline service it ought to provide (for the record, I do not believe in implied social contracts myself), and the other side is a simple cost-benefit approach.

I don’t know which is right or wrong – I can see when the ‘ought to do’ argument makes sense even with the cost is ‘prohibitive’ (police, fire, rescue falls into this category) and there are times the ‘ought to do’ doesn’t make sense (I personally agree with the decision to remove lifeguards – I have lived in other towns with waterfront beaches that did not provide lifeguards)

All I was getting at is before asking for references/sources/data from someone else, be ready to be challenged for the same references/sources/data. I did not see where your SWAG came from, hence my tongue in cheek comment.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  NAI
1 month ago

NAI, thanks for your perspective. Another way of looking at things is that few of us have a rich uncle so the taxes that each can afford is limited; we must strive for the maximum benefit to the residents for what they can afford. Our fire department and bus service have similar costs. Should we eliminate the buses or the fire department? With similar costs, should we eliminate the buses or both the library and the CCC?

Bryan
Reply to  NAI
1 month ago

NAI,

My estimate of the number of individuals using Cobourg transit is anything but SWAG. Its a calculated number based on the Town’s ridership and revenue data. Some well reasoned assumptions are also used.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
NAI
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Appreciate the background, thanks! It’d be interesting if the town actually has ridership numbers……

Bryan
Reply to  NAI
1 month ago

NAI,
Ridership data (2009-2022) is available In the transit section of each year’s OPS budget including the 2024 OPS budget.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  John st resident
1 month ago

John, that is a rather feeble attempt at humour! Get serious regarding Toronto traffic in Cobourg within my lifetime.

Your comments clearly indicate that we may need a better cab service, Uber or whatever.

Do you seriously think that the taxpayers should subsidize your travel by $60/trip? And you quibble at paying a tiny surcharge for using your credit card? You should be embarrassed to admit that as a double median income worker you actually think that other taxpayers should fund your travel!

Liz
Reply to  John st resident
1 month ago

I live in the west end of Cobourg, Pebble Beach area. I would gladly take public transit when going to town, the mall or Walmart. We don’t even get transit out here. We are not on the bus route, never have been.

Dave
Reply to  Liz
1 month ago

I am glad to hear that Liz. There are some on Pebble Beach Road that abhor there is a bus service. Most likely as prominent citizens have written many letters of complaint to Council that there is a bus service. In traversing Pebble Beach Road the large and impressive homes often with several cars in the driveway for many make a bus service redundent unlike many of the citizens in the rest of Cobourg without vehicles living much closer to the economic line.

Michael
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

The politics of envy rears its ugly head!

Dave
Reply to  Michael
1 month ago

Sorry Michael I don’t understand what your comment is directed to. “the politics of envy”?? The people in the Pebble Beach area who would like to have transit as opposed to those that do?

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,

There are fewer than 150 individuals using Cobourg transit. Why should the Cobourg taxpayers provide such a large subsidy to so few people?

There are more cost effective alternatives and the transit riders should pay a larger share (a “fair” share) of the service cost. The average fare is about $1.60 per ride, due to deep discount monthly passes. Fares need to be increased to $3 (perhaps $3.25) and the deep discounts significantly reduced.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Prior to COVID and the on call bus system there were many more bus users Bryan. And they are beginning to return to its use. Cobourg continues to grow as some here are upset by. Time stands still for no man Bryan and Cobourg has had a bus service for 11 plus years now when the population was much smaller.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,
Agreed that prior to covid thee were more individual transit users. My 2019 estimate was 300-325
As for ridership increasing post covid, what data and analysis do you base that on?
The 2013 transit fare study indicates that Cobourg transit has been in operation for 16+ years

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

Bryan – I knew it was longer but based it on when I moved here. I recalled it being here prior in visits. Thanks for verifying the exact time Cobourg felt it was time to have public transit.
Yes, there are some alternatives if UBER is what you are referring to but the cities in which it is operational are having problems with it as the drivers can be unreliable. Go to YouTube and read some of the accounts. Drivers that don’t know how to get places which have resulted in terrible accidents which they have caused, drivers that have assaulted their passengers, others that should not be in such positions losing patience and dumping passengers out into dangerous situations, drivers that have raped their passengers. These are not uncommon incidents and have been very problematic. W5 did an investigative program as well on the subject of UBER drivers. It was most eye opening.
But all in all public service to citizens is part of the package along with highways, infrastructure, hospitals, jails and yes even public transit. Although I agree taking large chunks out of the taxpayer to fund government jobs that pay better with fully paid benefit plans and the cadillac of retirement plans along with out of country vacations for politicans requiring private jets and security. These things need to be looked at more so than providing public transit for those without cars or in crowded centres with little parking. I hope you will think about where the tax dollars go that don’t benefit the citizen Bryan rather than picking at services you don’t use.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,

It’s not about services that I don’t use. It’s about the services that the vast majority of Cobourg residents don’t use, but are paying for.

Some places may be using Uber and having problems. Innisfil initially used Uber and had a huge increase in cost due to “creative” use of the service (trips of 500 yards). These have apparently been resolved and Innisfil’s “transit” service seems to meet the demand at a reasonable cost.

You include transit with other basic services such as highways and hospitals….the needs. For larger municipalities I agree. I can’t see Toronto functioning without the TTC. For smaller towns, I don’t agree. It is a want. As I noted, upwards of 50% of Cobourg’s peers do not have transit. There is a tipping point at which transit becomes a need. I don’t know what that point is. Perhaps a “dense” urban population of 25K.

Nonetheless, Cobourg has a transit service and it’s not likely to go away. The objective should be to provide the service in as cost efficient manner as possible.

Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

The last census seemed rather unbelievable Bryan setting Cobourg’s population at 20,519 a mere 2000 more people from the 18,500 which had been posted at Hwy 45 and the 401 well over 11 years ago. Since then we have had multiple unit housing going over in a number of locations, many condo buildings added plus a scattering of multi-unit rental housing apparently at the prices charged not meeting demands.
The Federal Government has been rather lax when you consider the CRA employees dismissed for applying for COVID benefits, the late response despite greatly increased immigration to core needs of all kinds caused by their policies, various scandals swept under the rug. Therefore why would I have confidence in the census numbers and if there ever was follow up?
I believe Bryan you would find Cobourg is at or pretty close to the 25,000 in town population you say requires public transit which should be fixed regular route. John St resident said it was well used today recovering from post COVID. Cobourg has grown considerably and from further building will continue to grow rapidly.

Bryan
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Dave,

You wrote: ” to the 25,000 in town population you say requires public transit…..”. That’s not what I said.
I wrote: “There is a tipping point at which transit becomes a need. I don’t know what that point is. Perhaps a “dense” urban population of 25K.”

There is a vast difference between my speculation and your representation as a “hard fact”

I agree that the Feds (and other governments as well) have had (and have) credibility issues. I doubt issues at CRA, immigration, etc have (or had) any cause-effect or association effects on StatsCan. I have confidence in their numbers and the numbers seem consistent with the reported development activity (Town’s FIR). Cobourg’s growth has been fairly consistent at about 1% per year.

Cobourg pop StatsCan
2021 20,519 +5.6%
2016 19,440 +5%
2011 18,514 +1.7%
2006 18,210 +6.0%
2001 17,172 +6.1%
1996 16,185 +7.3%

If the trend continues the 2026 census will report Cobourg’s population at about 21,600.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan
Dave
Reply to  Bryan
1 month ago

You’re welcome to believe Cobourg only grew 2000 people since 2011 Bryan. Frankly I do not. 11 years ago only the first phase of Westpark was going up, many condos had yet to be built, the east side developments were not up and of course there is the multi level rental housing, Munroe Street – 2 large buildings gone up plus the new townhomes on Munroe, further town homes on the other side of Spencer – Believe what you will Bryan but the numbers for all that housing do not add up to a mere 2000 people.

Dave
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Meant to add it has been 3 years full of residential development in Cobourg with additional multi unit rental housing I have not mentioned since the least census. I felt the bus service was appropriate when I moved here 11 long years ago. However since you have arbritrarily said the magic number for you is 25,000 I believe you will find it has been reached. You do realize many baby boomers reached retirement and as reported in the newspaper are fleeing larger centres to communities such as ours and will continue over the next several years. People up there in age that will no longer be driving.

Bill Thompson
Reply to  ben
1 month ago

The town could start with the cancelling of the rarely ever used empty and costly bus service during the “tourist” season from Northumberland Mall to Victoria Park Beach.