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

Matters of election oversight and the completed Service Review for Solid Waste form much of the agenda for the last council meeting of May.

CLOSED MEETING: Confirmation of Minutes for the closed Council meetings held April 23, 2018; Downtown Guelph Business Association Board of Directors Appointment; CAO-2018.13 Employee Code of Conduct Breach; IDE-2018.73 Land Sale Transaction for 200 Hanlon Creek Blvd between 785412 Ontario Ltd. (Everest Holdings) and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA); CAO-2018.14 Potential Disposition of Real Property in the Downtown; PS-2018.23 Contract for Animal Control and Pound Services.

PRESENTATIONS: The 2018 Access Recognition Awards for Outstanding Accomplishment of an Individual: Millar Weddig, Outstanding Contribution of an Individual: Grante Leemet and Limitless Guelph, Outstanding Contribution of an Individual: Josh Cassidy, Outstanding Contribution of a Business: Guelph Public Library – Outreach Services.

IDE-2018.73 Land Sale Transaction for 200 Hanlon Creek Blvd between 785412 Ontario Ltd. (Everest Holdings) and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) – The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is looking to buy land for a new headquarters, and the site they’ve had their eyes on is owned by Everest Holdings at 200 Hanlon Creek Blvd. Small detail: the City has the first right of refusal in terms of buying back the land in question. The good news for the OFA is that there’s no interest on the part of the City to buy back that property, which aside from having no idea of what they would do with it, would upset two local stakeholders financially. Still, council has to vote that they have no interest in the City buying said property before the deal can be closed.

CS-2018-49 Delegation of Authority for the Period of Restricted Acts after Nomination Day for the 2018 Municipal Election – We say “Lame Duck”, but in the Municipal Elections Act it’s called a “Period of Restricted Acts.” There are technically two Restricted Act Periods, from the close of nominations until election day, and from election day until the end of the term on November 30. What this means is that during those periods council is restricted in the actions it’s allowed to take if, with certainty, the new council will include less than 75 per cent membership of the outgoing council; in other words 10 of the 13 members must be seeking re-election for council to proceed unabated. So what restrictions might be enacted? Under subsection 275(3) of the Act council can’t appoint or remove anyone any officer of the municipality, they can’t hire or fire any employee, can’t dispose of any property exceeding $50,000, and they can’t make any unbudgeted expenditures greater than $50,000. The authority of those last two items will be delegated to the Chief Administrative Officer in the event of a Period of Restrictions.

CS-2018-50 Municipal Election Compliance Audit Committee – In every election year, an MECAC must be joined by the City Clerk’s office. It’s purpose is to address applications that request an audit of campaign finances of a candidate or third party advertiser. They decide if an audit should be granted, who should do the audit, review the audit when it’s done, and decide if further legal proceedings are necessary. The MECAC must be made up of three to seven people who are neither employees, officers, council members, or local board members of candidates in the City of Guelph, but it’s a challenge each term to find seven qualified candidates. There’s a proposal this year for a joint MECAC between the City of Guelph and the Region of Waterloo, which is not barred by the Municipal Elections Act.

IDE-2018-12 Solid Waste Resources Business Service Review Final Report – After repeated delays, the final report of the Solid Waste Service Review is delivered. First, you’ll recall that last September the initial report of the Service Review that five out of six of the services delivered by Solid Waste were meeting or exceeding expectations. Public Drop-Off, Source Separated Organics, the Transfer Station, and Residual Disposal are all doing well as compared to similar municipalities, while collections and Hazardous or Special Waste are doing better. Only the Material Recovery Facility, the MRF, is failing to deliver because processing costs are double that as compared to other municipalities.

In all, the service review is recommending 11 actions for the City of Guelph to take to create greater financial efficiencies and improved service. According to the authors of the report, these actions will create greater accuracy of business and financial data, provide a proactive growth management strategy, offer continuous improvement in skills and capacity for staff, reduce financial risk stemming from market volatility, and potentially reduce the costs at the MRF by up to $740,000, which puts a dent, though not a big dent, in the reported $2.11 million shortfall in the MRF’s present operating costs.

So what are these recommendations? The first four are straightforward. The review is recommending that curbside yard waste be increased to bi-weekly collection during the season; that the lifecycle of the waste collection trucks be extended from seven years to 10; that service should be increased to multi-residential properties; and, that alternative hours for Public Drop-Off be considered.

The report also recommends that the City move forward with the Solid Waste Management Master Plan update in 2018/2019 with an eye on improving diversion rates, optimizing customer service, and creating cost efficiencies. They also suggest that the update should include a long-term growth forecasting model to identify the potential financial impacts in all the elements of Solid Waste Services.

In other areas, the report recommends formalizing the “Blitz team” as a good example of continuous improvement and employee engagement in that process. Also, it’s recommended that process engineering and project management skills be increased in the Solid Waste team, and that financial analysis resources be added as well, specifically, long-term cost recovery studies.

The final three points specifically address the MRF. The first recommendation is that the City create a solid waste financial reserve in order to offset future budget variances that might be caused by volatility in the market. Also, the report recommends that the Simcoe Transition strategy be implemented to create cost efficiencies and cost savings by aligning MRF operations with Guelph’s tonnage and processing requirements. Finally, the City needs to monitor the Provincial Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority pending amendment of the Blue Box Program Plan (a‐BBPP), and update council on any changes.

Council will vote to receive the report and it will then go back to staff to come up with a plan to implement the proposed changes.

Councillor Mark MacKinnon Request for Additional Training Funding to Attend AMO August 19-22, 2018 – Cllr MacKinnon will speak to this in meeting, but staff is recommending that he receive the $1,500 needed to attend the Association of Municipalities Ontario conference in Ottawa this August.

Consent Items from the Committee-of-the-Whole meeting on May 7:

  • IDE-2018.58 2017 Building Permit Revenue and Expenditures, Building Stabilization Reserve Fund and Annual Setting of Building Permit Fees
  • IDE-2018.38 139 Morris Street Brownfield Tax Increment Based Grant Deadline Extension
  • IDE-2018.62 Sign By-law Variances – 1515 Gordon Street
  • IDE-2018.56 Community Energy Initiative Update
  • Renewable Sources of Energy
  • IDE-2018.69 Downtown Parking Master Plan Update
  • IDE-2018.68 Asset Management Program Progress and Policy Update
  • Red Light Cameras
  • CS-2018.14 2017 Operating Variance Report and Surplus and Deficit Allocation
  • CS-2018.16 2017 Reserve and Reserve Fund Statement
  • PS-2018-22 Guelph Transit – Route 3

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