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Andy Letham

Letham will not stand for a third term as mayor

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Letham will not stand for a third term as mayor

Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham will not be running for a third term.

He informed council at their regularly scheduled April 20 meeting of his decision.  “I will not be running in the next election,” Letham told council. “We have accomplished much together as a team and we have much more to do. Let’s keep going.”

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City approves hiring of museum curator/manager

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Kawartha Lakes council approved the hiring of a curator/manager in the next two to three months who will have a very broad portfolio of responsibilities assisting the many cultural organizations in the city.

Chief Administrative Officer Ron Taylor, with the help of numerous senior staff, shared four possible options with council regarding the request from the Olde Gaol Museum Board who asked for financial assistance in hiring full-time staff for the 2021 season.

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City approves study on repurposing Ops Community Centre for other indoor sports

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City approves study on repurposing Ops Community Centre

By a unanimous vote, council approved a staff study due back at the end of the summer that will flesh out the specifics and costs of converting Ops from an arena to a multi-sport indoor sports destination.

The ‘new Ops,’ if accepted, would be able to accommodate indoor soccer, volleyball, pickle ball, ultimate Frisbee, box lacrosse, and other non-ice-related games.

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Urban design award won by city staff member for Logie Park

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Logie Park continues to impress. Mayor Andy Letham reported that the Ontario Parks Association has recognized city staffer Jenn Johnson for her role in helping spearhead the innovative park’s re-development.

Johnson was feted with an Urban Design Award by the provincial association who look at parks and park design right across Ontario.

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Better cell service coming with investments by province, feds

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Residents in Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, and Peterborough County will now have more reliable cellular services as a result of Ontario’s $71 million investment, says a media release from local MPP  Laurie Scott.

The governments of Canada and Ontario, Eastern Ontario Wardens’ Caucus and the Eastern Ontario Mayors’ Caucus were all involved in making the cell gap project happen. Rogers Communications has been selected as the successful bidder.

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Olde Gaol Museum board says funding needed to hire staff or museum can’t open

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Peterborough County provides $645,000 just to cover their museum staffing costs while the museum in Minden receives $63,000 from Haliburton County.

The volunteer board responsible for the Olde Gaol Museum presented to council  a stark future for the city’s largest tourist attraction if it can’t get city funding soon.

Jane Gregory-Gill, a director of the Victoria County Historical Society, told councillors that if $132,000 for the hiring of two full-time staff is not forthcoming from the city, the museum will not be able to re-open for the 2021 tourist season. Currently, there are no salaried positions at the museum.

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Budget breakdown: New positions, cleaner downtowns, and no mailed waste calendar

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Council will spend more money to get better maintained downtowns and public spaces. Photo: Jessica Topfer.

Every year the mayor, council and senior staff spend hundreds of hours carefully crafting a budget that aims to address the most pressing needs of citizens. This year’s budget has passed but not without some vigorous debate as the mayor, councillors, and staff broke down key decisions.

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Council uses provincial money to reduce tax levy to 1.5 per cent  

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Mayor Andy Letham pushed for a lower tax rate using provincial money.

Kawartha Lakes council unanimously approved applying a portion of the Safe Restart pandemic funding provided by the province to reduce the tax increase for 2021 to 1.5 per cent.

Over the past eight weeks of budget deliberations, Mayor Andy Letham and council have been staring at a much larger 3.84 per cent increase in the tax levy for 2021. Council went through the budget with a fine-toothed comb in multiple February meetings and reduced the proposed levy to a 3.77 per cent increase.

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Health unit requests money from city after reduction in public health spending by Conservatives

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Health unit requests money from municipality after reduction in public health spending by Conservatives

With the Ontario Conservative government reducing provincial grants by 30 per cent for mandatory provincial programs, the local health unit has requested a 19 per cent increase in funding for the 2021 operational year from the municipality.

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City director to bring plan forward to try and avoid large property tax increase

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"In February we will bring plans forward for potential savings in the operating budget," said Jennifer Stover, director of corporate services.

It is budget season at Kawartha Lakes. At a rare evening session on Jan. 26 council heard director of corporate services Jennifer Stover lay out a proposed 2021 operating budget of $275.6 million dollars that, without trimming, could lead to a tax rate increase in the range of 3.84 per cent for each household in the city.

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