City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the May 24 Meeting?

Hope everyone on council enjoyed the long weekend, because it looks like tonight’s council meeting might be a long one. A lot of items are up for discussion, but none more promising or potentially contentious as the launching of the Guelph Energy Efficiency Retrofit Strategy (GEERS). There will be a number of delegations to there to discuss that particular topic, but there’s so much to talk about this week as various committee work comes to council for approval and feedback.

Closed Meeting – Meeting of the Shareholders of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. (a) Report from the Chair of GMHI re Actions and Decisions, and (b) GMHI-GHESI Shareholder Declaration; Report from the Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Committee – Resident Appointments to the Waste Innovation Centre Public Liaison Committee; Report of the Nominating Committee – Council Appointment to the Joint Social Services Terms of Reference Advisory Committee Section 239; Dolime Update; and Snow Disposal Facility.

Special Presentation – Presentation of City of Guelph Medals to members of the Guelph Royals BU14 Blue Soccer Team in recognition of winning gold at the OSA Provincial Futsal Cup in February 2016, and presentation of “Mayor’s for the Day” by Amy Greatorex, grade 12 student at John F. Ross CVI and Lexi Braund, grade 10 student at GCVI.

Corporate Services Committee: Transfer of Railway Right of Way and Assignment of Other Interests to Guelph Junction Railway Limited – The City is looking to transfer interest in a number of right of ways near railroad crossings to Guelph Junction Railroad. That includes lands in the Northwest Industrial Park and portions of the track along the Speed River from Woodlawn Road south-bound through Guelph. Council is also being asked to approve an agreement that will allow future purchase of railway lands for trail purposes.

Corporate Services Committee: 2015 Reserve and Reserve Fund Statement – The pertinent section of the report that will draw people’s attention: “Overall the City’s capital reserves are in a critical position with less than $13.7M available to fund emergency or unplanned capital expenditures. This includes the ability to match other levels of government funding to obtain grants that become available.” Because of this, staff is reviewing the capital “committed but not yet spent” tax supported projects totalling $21.6 million, and will push for greater contributions going into the budget process for next year. On the plus side, Water and Wastewater rate stabilization reserve balances “meet or exceed the targets established due to having strong operating budgets that are fully reflective of actual cost of operations.”

Corporate Services Committee: Budget Impacts per Ontario Regulation 284/09 and Budget PSAB Reconciliation – As per Ontario law, the city must report report every year the impact of amortization (the payment of debt on a structured re-settlement), post-employment benefits and solid waste landfill post-closure expenses; and report to the Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) an approved budget based on the above information. For 2016, the budget impact is $47,652,555.

Governance Committee: Project Charter to Update the City’s Affordable Housing Reserve Policy – This made the news earlier this year, and this is the first report to come back from those consultations. This report will ask council to support the project’s charter, which will work to develop a policy that will guide the issues identified and directions proposed in the City’s AHS work; be designed so that the financial incentives provided will be impactful; be based on latitudes and limitations of governing legislations (e.g. Planning Act, Municipal Act, etc.); and form complement strategies and plans developed by Wellington County as the Service Manager for social and affordable housing, including the Housing and Homelessness Plan (HHP). The next phase of developing a strategy will involve looking at other municipalities, and calculating a “tipping point” where housing goes from affordable to unaffordable.

Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Committee: Guelph Energy Efficiency Retrofit Strategy (GEERS) Pilot Implementation – The staff report will recommend that the GEERS pilot program as outlined be considered for implementation in the 2018 budgeting process. In response to council direction from a September 2015 meeting, the pilot will focus on approximately 20 homes in Guelph in order to better examine the risks and get feedback as to scale of the project. To take advantage, participants in the pilot must reside in Guelph, be the owner of their primary residence, have no arrears on their municipal property taxes, must be willing to obtain the approval of their mortgage lender prior to finalizing the agreement to participate in the program, and their property must not be covered by federal mortgage insurance as CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) supported mortgages will not allow for added burden of LIC payments.

The cost of the pilot will depend on the number of retrofits the 20 homes buy, but there will also be small legal, administrative and marketing costs associated with it. The is expected to be in the $260,000 – $640,000 range. As for community participation in the full GEERS program, a survey done said 42 per cent of respondents would likely participate in the program over a five or ten year period. Staff is also recommending that GEERS be further developed in parallel with the update of the Community Energy Initiative (CEI), and that consideration of the full implementation of GEERS be postponed until the full CEI update is approved by council.

Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Committee: Update on Source Water Protection Plan and Appointment of the Risk Management Official and Risk Management Inspectors – The Grand River Source Protection Plan (SPP) is a policy to manage “Prescribed Drinking Water Quality threats” and it was approved by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change on November 26, 2015. Going into effective on July 1, the City of Guelph must appoint a Risk Management Official (RMO) and Risk Management Inspector (RMI), and staff is recommending that Peter Rider, the City of Guelph’s current RMO, be appointed as the new RMP and RMI. If approved, Rider’s responsibilities will include negotiating/establishing Risk Management Plans; evaluating risk assessments; issuing orders that specify actions to comply, and if necessary, notices of failure to comply, including fines similar to Provincial; attending Environmental Review Tribunal hearings; preparing annual reports to Source Protection Committees; and conducting inspections to ensure compliance with Risk Management Plans.

Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Committee: 2015 Building Permit Revenue and Expenditures, Building Stabilization Reserve Fund, Annual Setting of Building Permit Fees and Building Bylaw Amendments – The report recommends some wording changes to the Building By-law in regard to titles and job descriptions. Council will also vote to transfer almost $765,000 to the Building Stabilization Reserve Fund from the operating budget for the administration and enforcement of the Building Code Act, which cannot exceed $2,842,901.

Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise Committee: 180 Gordon Street Brownfield Tax Increment-Based Grant Agreement Extension – In 2011, council approved the Brownfield Tax Increment-Based Grant (TIBG) agreement for the site on 180 Gordon St. (next to Marianne’s Park) with the understanding that development on the site would be done by March 28, 2017. The land owner is looking for an extension due to “delays largely outside of the owner’s control.”

Nominating Committee: Council Appointment to the Joint Social Services Terms of Reference Advisory Committee – Nomination of persons to the committee.

Public Services Committee: Cultural Property Category A Designation for Guelph Museums – Guelph Museums is trying to get a category A designation to get access to more tax incentives and grant provisions under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Part of agreeing to the clause is committing the City to transfer cultural property to another designated organization should the City of Guelph cease operations of Guelph Museums.

York Road Reconstruction from Wyndham Street East to Ontario Street – Approval to award the tender for the project to Drexler Construction Limited.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, there will be no live blog from tonight’s council meeting. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it is an ongoing situation I hope to rectify shortly.

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