City Council Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the June 28 Meeting?

Next Wednesday, we will have our second special council meeting of the month to talk about various Guelph subsidiaries including Guelph Junction Railway, Guelph Hydro, and the always controversial Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc.

Special Council Meeting of City Council as Shareholder of Guelph Junction Railway

GJR-2017.1 CFO Report re: 2016 Audited Financial Statements – According to the auditor, Guelph Junction Railway had a strong financial year, even though the cold hard numbers showed that it made just $505,000 for 2016 versus the $646,000 they made in 2015 and the $549,000 they were budgeted to make. Now the reason for the variance isn’t due to mismanagement or anything like that; $52,000 was spent on loan repayments to the City, and $141,000 was spent on servicing the Eramosa bridge. Having said that, the upgrades to that bridge will allow it to carry more freight, which means more money that GJR can make this year, so the financial future for GJR is rather rosy.

GJR-2017.2 Appointment of Auditor – The GJR board is recommending that council re-appoint KPMG LLP as the auditors once again for 2017.

GJR-2017.3 Re-appointment of Independent Board Member – Richard Puccini is nominated to be re-appointed as the independent member of GJR’s board of directors.

GJR-2017.4 The Guelph Junction Railway Annual Report to the City – Along with the financials, the report from GJR Board chair Ian Brown, outlines other matters affecting the operation of Guelph Junction Railway. Among the accomplishments this year was the transfer of title on lands the GJR bought in 2010, the creation of an interim CEO and CFO positions filled by full-time City of Guelph staff, ongoing negotiations on a draft of a shared services agreement, the expropriation of several parcels of land in the northwest end of the City by the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO), and a strategic assessment of potentially serviceable lands in the City for GJR.

Special Council Meeting of City Council as Shareholder of Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc.

GMHI-2017.3 GMHI Annual General Meeting – KPMG LLC has prepared audited financial documents under five different categories: GMHI Audit Findings Report; GMHI Consolidated Financial Statements; GMHI Non-consolidated Financial Statements; GHESI Financial Statements; and Envida Community Energy Financial Statements.
GMHI-2017.4 Envida Asset Review – Obviously, it’s been a fairly busy 12 months for Envida in terms of reorganizing after last year’s decision on the future of GMHI, and there are a list of recommendations being made to change operations. If approved, Envida will transfer assets like the Eastview Generating station and the solar panels on the roof of Hydro HQ to Guelph Hydro, and sell eight solar microFIT programs to the City of Guelph. Staff will also be given authority to negotiate and enact a memorandum of understanding and land lease and licensing agreements with Guelph Hydro for the ongoing operation of Eastview Generation and its assets.

GMHI-2017.5 GHESI Report on Activities – Not available.

Guelph Hydro Electric Systems Inc. Annual General Meeting – This report onlines generally how Hydro is meeting its performance targets and corporate goals. In a word, they’re excellent. For instance, operational performance targets were exceeded uniformly with Hydro responding to emergencies within 60 minutes almost 90 per cent of the time, and Guelph is far and away outpacing other utilities in terms of the conservation and demand management 2020 targets (Guelph is almost 60 per cent of the way there while almost everyone else is hovering around 20). Guelph Hydro currently hovers somewhere in the middle on the total cost per customer, and a return on equity, so in other words it’s in a very, very stable position. More importantly, the system rates a 99.99 per cent in terms of reliability. On average, if a customer experiences an interruption in service, it lasts no longer than 47 minutes.

Guelph Hydro 2016 Year in Review – Guelph Hydro serves more than 55,000 customers and has assets of $228 million, and in 2016 it had a net income of $7.1 million and paid dividends to its shareholder – Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc. – to the tune of $3 million. Overall customer satisfaction rates at 89 per cent, and Hydro generates (pun intended) $65.2 million in direct economic value. In there though, there’s also a reminder that Guelph Hydro’s future is currently being discussed by the special Strategic and Operations Committee, but the emphasis of the report is on the fact that Guelph Hydro is affordable, efficient, and has the support and satisfaction of its users.

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