There has been much discussion across the city since Mayor Andy Letham proposed on Oct. 6 to return a $3 million surplus accrued from the 2019 budget to the taxpayers of Kawartha Lakes in a small refund on their 2021 taxes.
One of the most difficult things for even the most informed citizen to do is to keep track of municipal budgets that seem to blend together from one year to the next.
Advocate readers have been asking what the city plans to do with a $3 million dollar surplus created by the 2019 budget. Lower than expected spending, particularly on winter maintenance, created this windfall and since the announcement of this surplus there has been a lot of talk about how it should be allocated.
The City of Kawartha Lakes is keeping their fingers crossed that their top official, Mayor Andy Letham, tests negative for COVID-19.
The mayor felt unwell on Tuesday, and in compliance with the city’s COVID protocol informed the Assessment Centre for further direction and then self- isolated awaiting a formal test.
At the end of July, Mayor Andy Letham warned that people were “going to notice” the service cuts that were coming. Ditching and brushing, grass-cutting and street sweeping, service centres and arenas — all of this and maybe more affected by the pandemic.
This is utter nonsense for citizens to have to accept.
Kawartha Lakes City Council unanimously received a vote that would restrict the use of fireworks to just six days a year. The new bylaw will take effect on September 15 should council formally adopt the received bylaw then.
At the committee of the whole meeting, Kawartha Lakes Fire Chief Mark Pankhurst asked council to consider restricting the use of fireworks to a handful of days in the summer season and to implement an outright ban on backyard campfires in Lindsay proper.
Mayor Andy Letham shared with reporters at his weekly media scrum updates on many pressing municipal issues and an extensive list of important municipal and provincial dates of interest.
Five million in funding for COVID relief
The city has received notice that Kawartha Lakes qualifies for $5 million on COVID assistance money from a fund set up by the federal government and administered by the provincial government.
Mayor Andy Letham says the Grand Hotel buildings were sold sometime in the past week or so – again – and the new owners must have quickly decided to evict the restaurant owner from the building.
APG Kent Street Properties Corp had plans for the properties at 171-185 Kent Street that would have included retail stores, a restaurant, and offices on the upper floors. Mid-pandemic, the buildings have now been sold again.
Mayor Andy Letham says “people are going to notice” the service cuts that are coming to Kawartha Lakes because of the pandemic.
“Ditching and brushing, reduction of staff as we move into the fall, grass cutting, street sweeping and capital projects that aren’t do or die for the city,” Letham itemized.
“People are going to notice — they can’t help but” notice, he says.
“Service centres, arenas and community centres are also going to be impacted (by this budget crunch),” Letham added.
Mayor Andy Letham focused a good portion of his weekly press scrum addressing the issue of the city’s pandemic-inspired $2.5 million operating deficit — and just how that deficit might be dealt with.
“There will be a financial update at council on July 28,” Letham shared,” and we are currently running a $2.5 million shortfall. This will impact service levels for the remainder of 2020.”