Town of Cobourg Correspondence

Up until this year, Official Correspondence received by the Town was provided to Council and the Public as part of the Agenda of the regular Council meeting. But with the new Governance structure, all Correspondence is now handled differently – it’s listed every Friday at 4 pm on the escribe calendar. Correspondence items are listed as a “Consent Agenda” with links so you can see the full text. The intent is that they all will be received for “Information purposes” unless extracted for attention in the Council meeting at the end of the month. A note on the Correspondence Agenda says that this can be done by a member of Council or Director at any time. So let’s look at what all this means.

What Correspondence is typically received?

During 2023, a typical correspondence list was around 20 items. These are typically in three categories:

  1. Letters or emails from residents
  2. Letters or emails from organizations with some kind of connection; e.g. GRCA, other levels of Government (Federal, Provincial or County)
  3. Letters or emails from other Municipalities who have copied Cobourg on their correspondence. These are typically requests to other levels of Government asking for a change in legislation and seeking Cobourg’s support.

Differences

  • Instead of being made available every three weeks, it’s now available each week on Friday at 4:00 pm. So there are now four (or occasionally five) lists of correspondence per month instead of one every three weeks.
  • It’s only discussed at Council if specifically requested by a Director or Councillor. The public won’t know which ones are discussed until the Council meeting at the end of the month. Previously only a Councillor could request an item be discussed.

So let’s look at an example – Correspondence listed on January 12 (go to Escribe link here for full texts)

January 12 Correspondence

  1. Correspondence from Jean Wiebe, resident of Cobourg, regarding Christmas Tree Pick-up:
    A handwritten note complaining about tax money being spent on Christmas tree pickup when Lifeguards are not affordable.
  2. Correspondence from the Township of Wainfleet – Cemetery Administration Management Support:
    A notification of a Council motion from Wainfleet supporting letters from Townships of Clearview and Tay concerning Cemetery Transfer/Abandonment Administration. See also #6 below.
  3. Correspondence from Jim Glover, resident of Cobourg regarding the need for an Agreement governing the uses of 310 Division Street:
    Asks that the Town, the County and the 310 Division Street Board create an agreement on management of 310 Division similar to the one Whitby has with Durham Region for 1635 Dundas.
  4. Correspondence from the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors regarding Potential Municipal Equipment Operator Course.
    Prompted by a labour shortage, the Association of Ontario Road Supervisors wants the Province to support and fund training of Municipal employees to Operate heavy equipment.
  5. Correspondence from the Township of Larder Lake regarding a request for the province to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act to clarify the definition of “employer” to exclude owners that have contracted with a constructor for a project:
    Asking Cobourg to support the request by Sudbury.
  6. Correspondence from the Township of Alnwick/Haldimand regarding a request for Provincial Cemetery Management Support:
    Looking for funding to manage cemeteries abandoned by Churches. See also #2 above.
  7. Correspondence from the Township of Hamilton regarding Comments for Draft Official Plan Amendment No. 13 and Public Notice:
    Looking for comments on Hamilton Township’s new Official Plan.

Note that only two items are from residents.

Four items are correspondence from other municipalities asking for support on an issue; these are quite common because towns often copy all 444 municipalities in Ontario.

It remains to be seen how many of the seven will have any Council action other than “received for information”.

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Rob
4 months ago

I’m concerned that perhaps we are being lulled to sleep with these seemingly insignificant changes which, I’d suggest, most people couldn’t care less about. What we really want is:

(a) a responsible budgetary process where efficiencies and cost savings are identified and presented from the onset
(b) challenging Council members who do not accept first pass budget numbers from any department and demand business cases for any/all year over year increases in spending
(c) Council members who begin and end every decision by questioning “is this in the best interest of taxpayers”
(d) elected officials who begin to hold the CAO and Town Management accountable (this is not happening) – where are the KPI’s…no KPI’s, no accountability.
(e) Council members who passionately work on the things that matter most to most taxpayers and leave their personal agendas behind
(f) a Council that recognizes that the tax well has run dry and you cannot ask for any new money – run the Town like a private business

Try doing these things….get the basics right! You are losing us!