In what will be last Committee of the Whole meeting before the election, city council will be going over the future. Future schedules, future heritage plans, future community centres, and sign bylaw variances will all be up for discussion.
CLOSED MEETING: CAO-2018-21 Litigation Update; Acquisition of 110 Gordon Street under the Downtown Secondary Plan Parkland
PRESENTATIONS: University of Guelph “2017 Top Co-Op Employer” Award to the City of Guelph Water Services Department. Appointment of Patrick Andres, P. Eng. to the Standing Committee on Energy Efficiency (SC-EE) for the National Energy Code for Buildings. Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO) “2018 CEO Grand River Consulting Engineering Award of Merit” for the beneficial reuse of sediment from an existing Stormwater management pond to the City of Guelph Engineering Team. Association of Municipal Clerk’s and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO) Accredited Ontario Municipal Clerk (AOMC) professional designation to City Clerk Stephen O’Brien.
CS-2018-54 2018-2019 Council and Committee Meeting Schedule – Mark your calendars for December 3! That’s when the new mayor and councillors will be sworn in during a special inaugural session of city council. Council will then meet on December 10 and 17 before adjourning for the Christmas break, but that break will be very short when compared to typical Christmas breaks for council. The horseshoe will be joined once again on January 8 to start debating the 2019 budget. After that, Committee of the Whole begins again on January 14, the public meeting for the Development Charges bylaw update will take place on January 21, and the Transit Service Review is scheduled to be heard on January 29. Budget meetings will be held on Wednesdays from January 16 to February 20, with the exception of Thursday February 7, and the final budget will be voted on during a special meeting on Tuesday March 5. Council’s regular meeting schedule of Committee on the first Monday, planning on the second, and regular council meetings on the fourth Monday will carry on save for holidays.
CAO-2018-23 CAO Annual Update to Council – It’s been a busy year for Chief Administrative Officer Derrick Thomson as outlined in his fairly detailed annual report. There was the corporate administrative plan, the final recommendation for the fate of Guelph Hydro, the service reviews pilot, the community development plan, and the improvement of employee engagement at City Hall. “A core priority for the CAO and Executive team is to increase transparency and accountability to citizens and stakeholders through improved public reporting. This is critical to ensure that citizens and business are clear about how tax dollars are managed and that City decisions are resulting in positive impacts they can see.” A big part of that is the new Report to the Community, which will be a new annual report on matters of city-wide concern. It will be digital, so people can customize their report to read their individual concerns.
IDE-2018-95 Sign By-Law Variances for 26 Clair Road West – Kelsey’s needs a new sign, actually several new signs. The proposed signs are of various types and sizes, and either by size or by placement, they just narrowly miss the sign bylaw standards. So staff is approving the request for variance on the grounds that they pose no hazard, have no negative impact on the streetscape, and they will help people find their local Kelsey’s.
IDE-2018-96 Sign By-Law Variance for 465 Woodlawn Road West – The new Taco Bell by the Galaxy Cinema is looking to install a menu board that’s a little bit bigger than what’s typically allowed by bylaw. Staff approves of the variance as it conforms to the corporate standards of the company, and it’s comparable to other menu boards recently approved.
IDE-2018-97 Sign By-Law Variances for 197 Hanlon Creek Boulevard – Helix Hearing Care is installing a pair of illuminated signs at the second storey level, and staff approves of the variance given that the request will not detract from the building appearance and given the surrounding area.
IDE-2018-92 Draft Natural Heritage Action Plan – The draft version of the plan comes in five sections. The first section will establish a watershed working group, and launch a city wide ecological monitoring program. Section two will measure the effectiveness of our natural heritage policies, update the local significant species list, create a biodiversity strategy, and create a strategy for invasive species management. Section three is pretty straight forward, data management and technology to improve efficiencies and knowledge. At section four, we get into resilience and restoration. The plan is to support and collaborate with community stewardship groups, help develop a low impact development standards, and focus on restoration of the City’s natural heritage features. Last, but not least, is the community engagement portion, which will create an adopt-a-space program, and review the current mandates of the Environmental Advisory Committee and River Systems Advisory Committee. So that’s 38 actions in all with 16 of them being a priority. The public comment period for the Natural Heritage Action Plan is July 24.
IDE-2018-103 South End Community Centre Update – The details of this report was previously covered on Guelph Politico when it was released as an item for information to council a few weeks ago. Ward 6 Councillor Mark MacKinnon asked for this report to be pulled for further discussion at Committee.
CS-2018-23 First 2018 Tri-Annual Capital Variance Report – It’s time to hear about how things are going with the spending on this year’s Capital Budget in the first of three annual reports on the subject. You will recall that city council approved a budget of $90.3 million for 2018, and there was a carry over of nearly $166.4 from 2017. Combined with an additional $3.2 million that’s been approved so far this year for things like the plan and design development for the new mail library and an expression of interest for the Guelph Innovation District lands, the total comes to $259.9 million. For the first four months of the year, the City spend just $11.3 million of that money, which is about $5 million less than last year at this time when the finishing touches were being put on the Victoria Road Rec Centre. At the same time though, purchase orders were $18.7 million higher than last year because of the construction of the Wilson St Parkade, which brings that total to $77.3 million. Of course, things will only get busier because capital spending tends to hit its peak when the weather is best for construction in the summer.
CS-2018-34 Multi-Year Budget Process – Starting with the 2020 fiscal year, City staff and council might be looking at doing a multi-year budget process. Key staff members have met with council over the last few months to talk about the possibilities. This would involve the City creating a multi-year budget structure of three or four years. This is typically viewed as a way for municipalities to better plan and allocate resources, and it may be the key in getting Guelph a AAA credit rating since one the things S&;P looks for is a multi-year budgeting strategy. More directly, multi-year budgeting creates more flexibility with staff time that might allow them to focus more on efficiencies and service reviews; an external auditor found that almost 15,000 hours of staff time every year is spent on the budget alone. Some members of council are concerned that they might lose some control and oversight, but staff says that their oversight role will actually increase because of the various master plans and service reviews that will be a part of the multi-year budget plan. So if approved, the budget will go like this: a one-year budget will be approved in 2019, and then the four-year budget will begin in 2020. Council will confirm the budget in December 2020, December 2021, and January 2023, and the four-year process will begin in December 2023.
CAO-2018-19 Driver Certification Program Compliance Audit Report – Once again, Guelph Transit passes the Driver Certification Program compliance audit with flying colours, and all four recommendations that management agreed to implement after 2017’s audit have been completed. How nice to end the council year with some good news.