Pat O’Reilly, councillor for Ward 7 was elected as the Deputy Mayor of Kawartha Lakes for the 2020 term, effective January 1. Doug Elmslie ended his one year term as Deputy Mayor and made the nomination for Pat O’Reilly.
At the Special Council meeting on December 3, Council approved the 2020 Operating Budget. There will be a 3.5% increase to the tax levy, slightly below the forecasted increase in the long term financial plan.
Council received a presentation from Jennifer Stover, Director of Corporate Services. Stover noted that the Operating Budget is $205 million of a total municipal budget of $305 million. The Capital, Water and Wastewater and Special Project Budgets were adopted by Council on November 26 totalling $100 million.
Kawartha Lakes City Council recently voted to reject a motion by the municipal Heritage Committee to designate the properties at St. David Street and Riverview Road in Lindsay as a site of “cultural heritage value and interest.” The motion also barred staff from continuing the process to designate the site officially. I don’t think that motion went far enough.
Heritage buildings are more than just old bricks and mortar. The Empire State Building, Big Ben, and Casa Loma all bring tourists to their cities, and yet form more than just backdrops on selfies or fill check-boxes on bucket lists. Heritage buildings are community assets. They represent the physical portion of a city’s identity — what would Paris be without the Eiffel Tower? In this rapidly changing world, heritage buildings provide a sense of continuity by serving up memorable experiences for generation after generation.
At the November 5 public meeting, Kawartha Lakes Council heard from staff, consultants and members of the public about proposed changes to the Development Charges By-Law and related Policy.
The meeting began with a presentation that outlined the Development Charges Background Study prepared by Watson and Associates. The purpose of Development Charges (DCs) is to recover the capital costs associated with residential and non-residential growth within the municipality. DC revenue helps fund growth-related expansion of such services as water and wastewater facilities, roads and other infrastructure.
Council met on September 17 and 18 to hear from staff across all departments about the driving forces shaping the 2020 budget. The main themes will be prioritizing the timing of capital projects and remaining resilient in the wake of known and potential funding cuts and reorganization of service delivery by the province.
Ron Taylor, CAO, summed up the discussions by noting, “We have a 2020 capital budget that is very ambitious at almost $50 million. It includes a number of new and significant projects that invest in our roads, downtowns and parks. Council has acknowledged the need to prioritize projects in light of many unknowns at the provincial level. The timing of capital projects will be critical to ensure we stay on course with our financial plan in order to keep services affordable for residents.”
It’s a property with a now well-documented past but an uncertain future. There are competing interests and City Council and its Planning Advisory Committee have some decisions to make.
You can see the property for yourself if you turn off King Street onto St. David, towards Logie Road. Number 3 St. David, one of the property’s two houses, will be on your right. It’s a large red-brick, gable-front Victorian with a wrap-around porch, set back from the road on a well-treed lot (there’s a towering walnut, some maples and others).
Take the first right onto the extension of Riverview and past a line of mature pine trees you’ll find 4 Riverview, the second, smaller house — a typical Ontario Gothic cottage.
At the Committee of the Whole meeting September 10, Council recommended changes to the High Water Bill Adjustment Policy be forwarded to the Regular Council Meeting of September 24 for adoption.
At the July 16 Committee of the Whole meeting, Council heard a presentation from Jennifer Stover, Director of Corporate Services on the purpose of and related areas of concern within the High Bill Adjustment Policy. Those concerns have been incorporated into the new policy recommendations.
Free inter-library loans are back at the Kawartha Lakes Public Library system, even after the Ontario Conservatives slashed budgets across the province. But ‘free’ comes at a cost, as this will now impact the collections budget and has also created a new type of user fee for books that come from universities.
In April the Advocate reported that funding for two key services – the Southern Ontario Library Service (SOLS) and the Northern Ontario Library Service (NOLS) were cut in half. SOLS – of which Kawartha Lakes system is a member of — supplies courier service that moves material between different systems. About 200-250 items per month for local patrons are moved about through other libraries, showing the popularity of the system.
For Al Macpherson, a 70-year-old Lindsay resident, city council has not been the most inviting place. “I’ve been to council meetings a few different times, and I prefer not to be,” says Macpherson, “It’s very intimidating.”
According to Hannah Scott, communications and marketing officer for the City of Kawartha Lakes, Macpherson is not alone. A new online platform for citizens to share their opinions, Scott explains, might be the solution.
Jump In, a website launched in mid-June will be used to gather and process information from local residents such as the city’s upcoming 2020-2023 strategic plan.