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,… Read complete articleDraft 2024 Budget approved

Community Grants Requests Get Trimmed

One of the things that happens in Cobourg’s budget is a line item devoted to “Community Grants” – staff recommended $20K plus another $10K for “Contingency Grants During Year” but council ended up approving grants for $33,025 (or was it $37,025?).  The approval came at the end of a long second day reviewing the budget.  The meeting was scheduled to end at 4:00 pm and Mayor Cleveland and Councillor Mutton excused themselves around that time so the meeting continued with a quorum of five.  Before he left, Mayor Cleveland said that he did not approve of any grants at all – although perhaps in-kind grants would be OK – so he did not think he would be needed during the… Read complete articleCommunity Grants Requests Get Trimmed

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… Read complete articleTown of Cobourg Correspondence

Third Shooting Suspect Arrested

On Wednesday, 16 August 2023, at approximately 4:45 pm, officers were called to the south end of Hibernia Street regarding sounds of gunshots. Police investigation identified three suspects. On 25 August, one suspect was arrested; on 29 August a second suspect was arrested and on 11 January, the third suspect was arrested.  All were charged with a large number of offences including attempted murder.  The most recent arrest (of Elijah Kerridge-Lall) was made by “a partner police service” and previous Police information is that he and the other suspects live in the Durham region.  The shooting occurred at a West Beach encampment of homeless individuals who subsequently moved to County property on William street then moved to their current location… Read complete articleThird Shooting Suspect Arrested

First Day of 2024 Budget Review

In previous years, council scheduled 2 or 3 days to review the budget but this year only one day was scheduled and no surprise, it was not enough. So there’s no decision yet on the 2024 budget although we did get some answers. The Police budget will be as submitted – 6.3%; there were few useful results from the budget survey with few respondents and no unexpected results.  Mayor Cleveland pushed the idea that staff are the experts so their recommendations should be accepted or we should be ready to accept a reduction in services. Unfortunately Lucas is having a hard time getting a prioritized list of which services might be reduced or eliminated.  It’s not clear Lucas wants to… Read complete articleFirst Day of 2024 Budget Review

Stormwater Fee not Fair for Some Taxpayers

A year ago, Council agreed to change the method used to collect the tax required to operate Cobourg’s Stormwater system.  Instead of it being included in the regular tax bill, it would be added to the Hydro/water bill issued by LUSI.  Further, the tax would now be called a “charge” and would vary depending on a formula intended to correspond to usage – except that the formula has a major flaw. The thought was that stormwater run-off would depend on the type of property and its area but it did not consider properties that made no usage of stormwater services such as acreages.  As a result, some properties have been billed charges that are simply not appropriate.  To make the… Read complete articleStormwater Fee not Fair for Some Taxpayers

Petition – Bring Back Lifeguards

In the currently proposed budget for 2024, there will once again be no lifeguards on Cobourg’s main beach but Brenda and Robert Picard have started a petition to bring them back. If I recall correctly, there were three reasons they were discontinued for 2021 and 2023: 1) To save money; 2) to avoid liability problems and 3) recruiting lifeguards was getting difficult.  But Brenda says in her change-org petition: “…water safety is of paramount importance to me. The absence of lifeguards at Cobourg main beach has left many of us feeling unsafe and anxious. Our beach is a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike, and it’s crucial that we have trained professionals on hand to respond to any potential… Read complete articlePetition – Bring Back Lifeguards

Cobourg’s Development Projects

Cobourg’s planning department seems to be overloaded and has many projects late.  However, they recently made a tool available that lists what they are working on.  The list is long and includes a good number of projects with new housing.  Below is a summary of the significant projects and a map showing where they are.  The table lists significant projects and summarizes the details – see the Development Dashboard in resources below for more details.  It’s not easy to add up the numbers but there’s well over 800 residential units “on the planning books”.  Many of the new units are townhouses or multiplex units so should be a lower price range if not fully “affordable”.  I hope that our utility… Read complete articleCobourg’s Development Projects

Encampment People Settling in for the Winter

It seems that the 18 people encamped outside Brookside have no intention of accepting Transition house as a place to live.  No doubt they have trouble accepting the rules so they are soliciting donations for heating equipment and firewood to allow them to stay where they are.  A Press Release today by Jenni Frenke linked to a Go Fund me page which has so far raised $13,486 of a $16,700 goal.  The money is used to buy winter tents, “Cobourg Fire Department approved stoves” and firewood.  Jenni reports that so far “we have been able to provide 9 individuals/couples with a hot tent and wood stove” plus “we also were able to purchase a large community tent with two stoves… Read complete articleEncampment People Settling in for the Winter

Predictions for 2024 –  Opinion

Judging by my previous efforts. I’m not very good at predicting what will happen in the next year but it’s fun to do, so why not?  But first, how did I do last year? Out of 12 Town predictions, I got 9 right.  Notable misses were that I thought the harbour would get repaired (wrong!) and the web site would get fixed (ever hopeful). Of 6 predictions on the economy, I got 3 wrong – no Cannabis stores closed in Cobourg (although one failed to open), inflation improved and there was no recession.  For 2024, once again I predict no action on the Harbour, Sidbrook, the Park Theatre, the Tannery or Downtown vitalization. There will be some action at Brookside but probably… Read complete articlePredictions for 2024 –  Opinion