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Ron Taylor

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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City council prepares to move municipality to level orange

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If Kawartha Lakes moves to orange level, downtowns and other community businesses will get to re-open. Photo: Jessica Topfer.

Chief Administrative Officer for Kawartha Lakes, Ron Taylor, told council recently that while the city is looking forward to reopening on Feb. 16, citizens should expect continued restrictions as the city will likely be designated orange under the current provincial re-opening framework in the continuing battle to limit COVID-19 and its variants’ spread.

The colour orange in the province’s framework means enhanced measures are still in place, there are restrictions on the number of people who can gather at businesses (which get to open again) or in homes, and enforcement while avoiding any closures.

“It has been a couple of months since my last report,” Taylor said, “and this report is in response to the provincial re-opening announcement made on Feb. 8.”

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City plans for a winter with up to quarter more people than usual

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With snowbirds potentially unable to travel to winter homes and cottagers looking to remain in Kawartha Lakes rather than return to their primary urban residences, CAO Ron Taylor and other senior city staff are trying to plan pro-actively for what could be a very unpredictable winter season.

“We are planning ahead to be proactive,” Taylor said, “in the event that seasonal residents who usually head down south decide to stay in Kawartha Lakes.”

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Up to 25 per cent more residents could be here over winter due to COVID: CAO

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Kitchen says he used the name ‘City of Kawartha Lakes’ to attract investment,
Could Kawartha Lakes be home to more seasonal residents than usual?

CAO for Kawartha Lakes, Ron Taylor, provided cautiously optimistic pandemic and service updates to council at their regular October meeting earlier this week.

He let council know where the province and city are in their response to the pandemic, and what city services are coming back on line as the end of October approaches. Taylor also shared his concerns about the impact to city services if the bulk of seasonal residents do not return home to their primary residences.

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Kawartha Lakes joins call for more federal money to help municipalities

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Mayors and chairs from across Ontario, represented by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), the Mayors and Regional Chairs of Ontario, and the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario, issued a call for action on the COVID-19 financial emergency.

Kawartha Lakes Mayor Andy Letham echoed the sentiments expressed by Ontario municipalities by saying, “We need immediate provincial and federal support to cover lost revenue and additional costs caused by the COVID-19 crisis.”

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CAO peppered with questions from councillors about city services

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Are parks getting the care they need right now? Photo: Sienna Frost.

Councillors inundated the city’s chief administrative officer, Ron Taylor, at council this week with questions on the return of city services and facilities.

Taylor was delivering his monthly state-of-emergency update but faced questions from nearly all councillors – especially about city services that are not currently being delivered to citizens at pre-pandemic levels.

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Discussions about future of local policing have begun

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In a far-reaching press scrum, Mayor Andy Letham and CAO Ron Taylor discussed policing in Kawartha Lakes, their hopes concerning the city deficit, information about aquatic programs and their initial impressions of a return to patio season across the city.

In an exchange with reporters, Letham responded to a question about how the George Floyd incident in the U.S. might impact policing locally.

Letham said that the police budget is approved by the Police Services Board, of which he is a member. Meetings have already begun, “and everyone is being open- minded about the future.”

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City calling back most laid-off staff; more dumps to re-open

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No charge residential clear bag drop at City Landfills

Mayor Andy Letham and CAO Ron Taylor confirmed recently that the bulk of city staff laid off in April will be called back to work this month.

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