Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the April 3 Meeting?

April’s Committee-of-the-Whole meeting will be a rich mix of animal bylaws, taxation math, and new methods of voting for the 2018 municipal election. So as far as committee meetings go, there’s something for everyone it seems.

COW-PS-2017.02 Outstanding Resolutions of Public Services – For the last couple of months the various committees have been clearing their back motions so they can focus on all the new stuff the’ve got on their plates. Public Services has nine completed motions they’re looking to move over the to the Donezo list including the Urban Forest Management Plan, the Public Nuisance Bylaw, Sidewalk and Sign Inspection Program Updates, Older Adult Strategy First Year Corporate Action Plan, and the Brant Neighbourhood Hub Development.

COW-PS-2017.03 Animal Control By-law Chicken Amendments – Remember back when council was looking at the Animal Control Bylaw Amendment when a sub-debate about chicken coups erupted? Well now we’ve got our chicks in order, so to speak. According to the by-bylaw on chickens Guelphites will be allowed to have up to 10 hens on their property, but not in the front yard, and not within 25 feet of a business, school, or religious institute. Instead of keeping pens 50 feet from a dwelling, they now have to be kept 10 feet from any window and door of a dwelling, and four feet from the rear and side lot lines. Also, staff will be creating by-by-bylaws requiring food for poultry to be stored in an animal proof secured container, a requirement for coop floors to be lined with an appropriate material to absorb fecal matter and to facilitate cleaning, a requirement for you to treat your chickens well, and to prohibit the killing of domestic animals on private property.

COW-CS-2017.02 Tax Ratios 2017-2020 Assessment Cycle – In an unusual move, both the ratio and the policy are coming before the same meeting because the Province just released regulations for multi-residential ratios on March 9. The ratios establish the tax rates, which are formulated by taking the assessed value of a home, and multiplying it by the tax rate, so the assessed value of a property is very important in establishing how much tax a property owner pays. To put it simply, the tax shift for residential properties will be an overall 0.26 per cent, or another $8.58 to put a price on it. It’s worth noting that the 0.26 per cent number does not take into account the infrastructure levy though. As for industrial and commercial properties, there is no change being recommended in those tax rations.

COW-CS-2017.03 2017 Tax Policy – Basically this is all the paper work on tax rates, ratios, and levies that have already been approved, and it needs to be organized for staff to get the final bills ready for the next property tax payment on June 30.

COW-CS-2017.04 2018 Municipal Election: Methods of Voting – There are a number of considerations to be made for next year’s municipal election as any necessary bylaw changes have to be made before May 1. Requests For Proposals RFPs) are being sent out early this year at the end of March/beginning of April because of changes made by the province in the way cities and towns are allowed to run their local elections. How will this effect Guelph? Well, variety is the spice of life it seems. The City will be keeping internet voting, which will be available through an advanced voting period up to and including Election Day. What’s new are paperless machines, using a touch screen you will be able to fill out your ballot at advanced polling locations. According to the staff report, using these machines will make the transition to ranked voting easier if council should decide to go that way in the future.

COW-2017.01 Councillors Mike Salisbury and Leanne Piper Request for Access to Additional Training Funding 2017 – Councillors Salisbury and Piper are seeking additional funds beyond their allocated monies for training. Salisbury is looking for $2,000 to attend the final two courses to complete the Directors College Certificate, and Piper is looking for $400 more to attend the American Planning Association conference in New York City. Staff has okayed the expenditures.

CON-2017.9 Surplus Asset Sales Policies, Mayor Guthrie’s Motion for which notice was given on March 6, 2017 – Mayor Cam Guthrie would like to see City staff look at ways for local community group and non-profits to claim first dibs to any old city assets that might be decommissioned before they’re put up for auction. That includes desks, chairs, computers, printers and even fleet vehicles and ambulances.

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