Longest Council meeting – 26 June

I have been following Council meetings for a number of years but last night’s was the longest – it finished at 12:27 am. That’s right, after midnight. The reason of course is because the next meeting will be in September – no longer are there regular meetings in summer. A number of items needed to be passed, and they were, although the issue of stormwater fees triggered a long debate with a large public gallery. Other major items passed included the non-union salary increases, delegation of powers to staff, the new customer service strategy, the non-core asset management plan, a new “operational plan”, approval of an $8M debenture required by waterworks, and more – see a list below. Mayor Cleveland took time to emphasize that there were absolutely no plans to repeal the contentious “Emergency Care Establishments” by-Law.

But if you are waiting for an update on plans for 117 Durham Street, or news about the sale of Brookside, or the hiring of a replacement Planning Director, you’d be disappointed. However, although Council is taking the summer off, Town staff are not. So maybe we’ll hear news on these items soon.

Meanwhile, let me document what happened last night.

Delegations/Presentations

  • Legion Village asked Council to approve a letter of support for Provincial Federal Grants for their planned expansion (more on this project here – review of selected major projects) They did not ask for money.
  • Tammy Robinson, CEO of Cobourg Library gave a report on the first 5 months at the Library.
  • Watson & Associates presented the non-core Asset management plan – Cobourg Blog report here
  • Six residents were “speakers” on the subject of Stormwater rates.
  • Watson & Associates presented the Stormwater Rate Structure Review – Cobourg Blog Report here
  • Chris Challenger presented a new “Operational Plan” (This will be the subject of a post soon on Cobourg Blog)

Major topics with decisions

  • The Police Board asked that the Town work with them to renew the MOU for the Police Business unit. Council approved that Staff work with the Board and report back in September
  • The non-core Asset Management Plan was approved but there was a debate about whether reserve funding was adequate for replacement of all the Town’s infrastructure (that is, core and non-core assets). Council passed a motion to ask staff to recommend a suitable percentage for this in the 2025 budget.
  • There was extensive discussion about Stormwater rates including a new option C suggested by the consultant. But with few details of this option, in the end Council elected to go with option B. See the motion passed. It’s an addendum to the Cobourg Blog report on this topic.
  • The HR policies for non-union benefits and Flexible working arrangements were approved. Download these policies here. Non Union Benefits Policy. Flexible working arrangements Policy. Also approved were hiring a head-hunter to help with hiring in the planning department and the new non-union salaries as reported here.
  • The Procurement policy was updated to allow higher thresholds for when a Council approval is required. Now, small value procurements can be approved by Directors. Also approved was an increase in the delegation of authority to staff as recommended in the 2021 KPMG Organizational Review.
  • Council approved the award of a contract to construct sidewalks for $402K
  • The customer Service Strategy as reported here was approved.
  • The new “Operational Plan” as presented by Chris Challenger was approved  (This will be the subject of a post soon on Cobourg Blog)
  • LUSI asked for urgent approval of a debenture for $8,214,169 for use on Waterworks “growth related infrastructure”. Despite a move by Councillor Bureau to delay approval to September, Council did approve the borrowing.

There were more but this is a report on highlights! There were no notable rejections of requests.

The next scheduled Council meeting is 25 September although there are some Standing Committee meetings in early September. But I would not be surprised if some “Special” Council meetings happened before then.

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carol
25 days ago

I don’t know about anyone else but I am sure sick and tired of all the consultants being hired for everything that comes up. Is there no one at the town that can make a decision on anything even though they have been hired because they are experienced in their field. Having attended the council meeting the other night I am really very discouraged with our council and town staff. Now we are going to give everyone a raise for what? we even had to hire a consultant to decide that for us.

Sandpiper
Reply to  carol
25 days ago

I agree seems like every Department came forth with a study and a Consultants report
didn’t it .

I am wondering if John or anyone else has any Idea as to exactly how much was spent on Consultants and how many different firms It seems to me that 1 Firm is getting a lot of $$$
out of this town & Tax payers
May be we could eliminate a few staff and just retain the Consultant .
Obviously our Staff are Not capable or think of them selves as Qualified

Rod
Reply to  carol
23 days ago

Wait the day will come when we need to have a consultant to report on which next consultant to hire. Then another consultant for the final decision.

George Taylor
Reply to  Rod
23 days ago

seems like General Foods many years ago? Management would have a meeting to decide on when to have another meeting? (BUT, at least they where not using Tax Payers Dollars)

Small town lover
25 days ago

regarding Storm Water charge. Option B. From what I understand, a flat fee for all properties up to one acre residential. Additional charges applied to over one acre for commercial, industrial and institutional properties. What about residential properties over an acre? Confused. We are considering buying a 3 acre property with a home on it but are hesitant until we know for sure what the fee will be.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Small town lover
25 days ago

Small Town, same charge for all residential regardless of size under OptionB approved by Council,

Sandpiper
25 days ago

I thought that LUCI was denied the $8. Mil by Council in discussions prior to 11 PM as brought forth by Mr. Paul and was well argued by Adam B to hold off until further info had been tabled and partialy due to the fact the Finance Dept . let it out that the Developer was reluctant to pay more up front costs due to lagging sales . Did this come back up after a partial clearing of the room by the Mayor and after most of the spectators left ??

Leslie
25 days ago

Positive — “Mayor Cleveland took time to emphasize that there were absolutely no plans to repeal the contentious “Emergency Care Establishments” by-Law.” Thank you Mr. Draper

ben
25 days ago

Of course not mentioned by any of the participants was the big reason for this marathon – Councillors are not using the standing committees for discussion and as predicted the Regular meeting lasts way longer than it used to because all Councillors want to have their say on all topics – even those resolved in committee.

Obviously the answer is to listen to the public, who were ignored during the ‘public consultation’ and do what was suggested by the public and have all Councillors sitting on the standing committees not just three. The others not at the committees will speak up at the Council meeting.

Just another failure in the procedural changes.