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Chief Administrative Officer Ron Taylor

CAO on hot seat; Councillors demand answers on slow city response times

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Kawartha Lakes Chief Administrative Officer Ron Taylor said the city’s priority was “cost containment,” not maintaining pre-pandemic level city services, at a recent council meeting.

The CAO was responding to councillors who were not happy with city response times or city services after fielding many calls from their constituents.

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Local state of emergency to continue; CAO in charge until end of summer

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Council has voted to keep the local state of emergency going, given the province has extended their own to July 1. They have also voted 8-1 to keep CAO Ron Taylor in charge of the city until the end of summer.

Mayor Andy Letham told council that the local Emergency Operations Centre group made up of the hospital, paramedic service, fire department and police and public health unit all recommended that the local state of emergency be consistent with the province’s to avoid confusion.

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City pivots on how it might eliminate deficit

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Kitchen says he used the name ‘City of Kawartha Lakes’ to attract investment,

In less than 24 hours Mayor Andy Letham and CAO Ron Taylor appear to have changed tack on the best way to pay down Kawartha Lakes COVID-19 induced budget shortfall of $3.2 million.

At council on May 26, Taylor dealt with the issue of the shortfall in depth.  He hinted that the city had two potential possibilities for paying the multi-million dollar deficit down.

The first option was applying a possible $3 million budget surplus from 2019 against the 2020 deficit.

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COVID-19 costs city $3.2 million in lost revenue — so far

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Found in Lions Riverview Park, Lindsay. The pandemic has strained city finances. Photo: Roderick Benns.

Chief Administrative Officer Ron Taylor says the city has lost millions of dollars that will most likely never be recovered, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taylor was providing his monthly update to council regarding the fiscal impacts that COVID-19 and the state of emergency have had on the daily operations and long-term prospects of Kawartha Lakes.

He shared a concerning financial picture that will be further fleshed out at the next committee of the whole meeting June 9. The CAO says city financial statements are being reviewed on a weekly basis because of the dramatic decrease in revenue and a decline in user fees.

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Kawartha Lakes CAO supports many ideas in new Green Party municipal plan

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Ontario's Green Party says municipalities will need help. Photo: Roderick Benns.

The Ontario Green Party is advocating strongly for the province to aid municipalities, and Kawartha Lakes CAO Ron Taylor sees value in some of what’s being proposed.

The pandemic of 2020 has negatively impacted almost every municipality in Ontario. The Green Party’s “Municipal Response Plan” was rolled out earlier this month and is multi-faceted in its approach towards assisting Ontario’s struggling municipal governments.

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City debuts electronic council meeting as it deals with pandemic response

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April 28 marked the first electronic council meeting in the history of the Kawartha Lakes – and it passed with few glitches.

After passing a new bylaw to make the meeting legal, the clerk, CAO, mayor and all eight councillors spent the next two hours discussing and deliberating how the city has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Mayor to chair economic recovery task force as city charts a path forward

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Kawartha Lakes City Council unanimously approved an economic recovery task force that will support local business, building trades, tourism and agriculture.

To be chaired by Mayor Andy Letham, it is one of two special task forces to be in place by May 26 to help buffer the harsh economic realities facing local businesses as they prepare, eventually, to reopen after a long closure due to COVID-19.

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Letham speculates how Kawartha Lakes may re-open

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Kawartha Lakes mayor, Andy Letham, says the discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic is “no longer what we are shutting down, but instead how things can be opened responsibly.”

Businesses like drive-ins and golf courses could perhaps re-open soon, says the mayor, once the weather improves and the state of emergency has been lifted.

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Council update: Teleconferencing on the way

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In a conference call with local reporters today Mayor Andy Letham provided updates on a story covered by the Advocate on March 25.

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City will invest millions in roads, parks, while holding taxes lower than expected

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City will invest millions
Better roads, parks, and buildings on way with new budget.

The 2018 City of Kawartha Lakes budget will see $20 million invested in roads and bridges, but next year’s tax increase is on track to be below the previously forecasted 4.5 per cent.

Instead, the increase will come in around a 3.5 per cent average tax-supported increase, as Council goes into operating deliberations in December.

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