June is going to begin with a busy committee meeting that’s going to be a day late, but will cover money matters, immigration, and potentially a couple of new leash-free parks in the City.
1) The 2019 Emilie Hayes Award for Community Partnerships for Dawn Owen, Curator of Guelph Museums, and Alex Jacobs-Blum, the Indigenous Curatorial Assistant at Guelph Museums.
2) Sports Turf Canada, Turf Manager of the Year Award to Dave Boehmer, Lead Hand for Parks Operations and Forestry.
PRESENTATION: Local Immigration Partnership – Immigrant Services Guelph Wellington will offer a snapshot of immigration and immigrants in Guelph, and the projects that ISGW is presently working on. About 21 per cent of Guelph’s population is made up of new Canadians, nearly half of whom are from either the Philippines, India, China, or Eritrea. On top of that, over half of the 28,000 people who’ve come to Guelph immigrated here for economic reasons. For the 2019-2020 year, ISGW will focus on increasing access to services, educational and cultural connections, and employment and entrepreneurship opportunities. The Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership is funded by the federal ministry of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship.
CAO-2019-09 Internal Audit Work Plan update: 2020 – Committee has been provided with an update of the work of the City’s two internal auditors, which has been adjusted because of some staff leave taken by one of the auditors earlier this year. The auditors will continue to update Committee about the process of their auditing efforts, but despite the time off, they still anticipate that all projects will either be started or completed by the end of the year. Of their 10 projects, two are completed, four are in progress, two are not started, and two have been deferred.
CAO-2019-10 Status of Outstanding Management Action Plans: Q1 2019 – Once again, committee will revisit the status and progress of recommendations from the internal audit. Of the 310 recommendations, 178 were completed before the the current reporting period. So out of the 133 that remained, 28 are now complete, 48 are in progress and 16 have not yet been started, but were supposed to be prior to the deadline of March 31. Work was expected to begin on the rest of the list sometime after the first quarter of this year. The completion rate is 76 per cent, which is down from 84 per cent this time last year.
CAO-2019-11 Project Management Process Audit Report – This report will be made available with the consolidated agenda released May 31.
CS-2019-20 2018 Consolidated Financial Statements and External Audit Findings Report – Though 2019 is almost halfway over, the City is still wrapping up the year end financials from last year. Every year, KPMG reviews the financial statements for the Elliott, the Downtown Guelph Business Association, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, Guelph Municipal Holdings Inc, Guelph Junciton Railway, Guelph Police Service and Guelph Public Library. The audit is good news for the most part with surpluses at the Elliott and the DGBA. Public Health also has a surplus despite an increase in Guelph’s share of proportional funding. The report also suggests that despite the City’s improvement on reserve fund contributions, there’s still more work that needs to be done.
CS-2019-19 2018 Unconsolidated Financial Statements – Meanwhile in Unconsolidated statements, which are handled internally by the City, things are also looking good. The City’s cash and investment holdings have gone up year over year, while keeping tax increases relatively low as compared to other municipalities in southwestern Ontario, and the City repaid $14.5 million in debt. Looking at some of the specifics, salaries, wages and benefits, which is the single largest part of the operating budget, increased by $8.8 million over 2017. Purchased services also increased by $2.1 million thanks to some increased consulting fees, plus increased legal and contractor fees. Tax revenue increased by $7.7 million over 2017, and user charges went up $3.3 million, though that was mostly due to stormwater, wastewater and water rates.
CS-2019-31 2019 Debenture Issue – Ignoring the jargony sounding word, a “debenture” is basically a loan taken taken out to ensure that capital projects nearing completion can be completed. In this instance, the City is looking at completion of four major projects before year’s end: the Wilson Street parkade, police headquarters, transit fare box replacement and fuel tank replacement. The debenture totals $33.1 million, and has already bean approved by council in the 2019 Capital Budget.
CS-2019-18 First Quarter 2019 Operating Variance Report – The figures in this report are inexact due to the limited data; as you may recall, the budget was passed at the beginning of March, and the first quarter closed at the end of March. Still, staff is expecting that the budget plan will go off without a hitch, but with some concerning areas. Areas like public health, paramedic services, conservation authorities, library services and childcare will be affected by cuts announced in the provincial budget. Exact amounts are still up in the air, but it’s expected that ambulance services might lose as much as $820,000. Perhaps there will be more detailed information about the effect of these cuts by the time of the meeting.
PS-2019-08 Leash Free Program Policy – The City of Guelph presently has no official policy for owners who want to let their dogs off their leash at City parks, but that is about to change. The Leash Free Program Policy will create a new provision for leash free areas, and provide some standards and regulations. To no one’s surprise, there was a lot of public engagement on this issue, and they were mostly in favour of creating some leash free areas that are clearly marked for the safety of dogs, their owners and the public at large. Two locations have been selected to test out some of this new policy as the capital budget will allow, Peter Misersky Park and Bristol Street Park. Future location considerations will discount sports fields for safety and recreation reasons. The changes, once approved, will go into full effect on January 1, 2020.
PS-2019-09 Paramedic Services Response Time Performance Plan for 2020 – Overall, the local ambulance service is doing well meeting response times. For cases involving resuscitation, major and minor trauma, or non-urgent care, the service is meeting or exceeding targets, but for matters of urgent care and sudden cardiac arrest, the response time needs improvement. At the same time, the average targets and compliance of Guelph’s ambulance service are behind other comparator municipalities, but that’s chiefly because of the large size of the area that our ambulance service covers, which includes much of Wellington County.
PS-2019-10 Business Licence Fees 2019 – Attention business owners: your rates for inspections, applications and renewals are going up! The proposed 2019 business licence fees have an average fee increase of $12 for inspection fees, $19 for application fees, and $25 for renewal fees. These fees are designed merely to recover the costs of administrating them, so there’s no effect on the budget, but a couple of businesses are still struggling to recover there costs, and that’s taxis and publication boxes. Those licence fees will be gradually increased over the next three years so that the City might better recover the costs.
PS-2019-07 Agreements with Guelph Community Sports and Soccer Incorporated – In 2006, Guelph Community Sports (GCS) and Guelph Soccer Club (GSC) Incorporated entered into a deal with the City for an indoor soccer facility. The Soccer Dome was built on land owned by the City, and with a loan for which the City acted as guarantor. Conditions of the agreement included the demand that GCS contribute to a capital reserve for the eventual replacement of the dome and turf, that they maintain adequate insurance, and submit an annual financial report; further conditions were applied when the loan was refinanced in 2013. In February 2018, the City started taking steps when GCS wouldn’t respond to correspondences. Long story short, after several months of negotiations that lead no where, staff were given word in December that GCS was dissolving, which leaves the City with a soccer dome they’ll now have to make accommodations for. Parks and Rec will assume full operation of the facilities on June 30. A report on the future of the facilities should come back in the second quarter of 2020 with a recommendation to either continue with Parks and Rec running operations, asking for request for proposals for a new operator, or selling the dome to an interested buyer.
City of Waterloo Motion Regarding Unsanctioned Large Public Gatherings – During the March meeting of their Committee of the Whole, Waterloo council passed a motion calling on the Government of Ontario to work with municipalities on developing legislative solutions to the growing problem of unsanctioned parties. As you may know, this has been a frustratingly frequent situation in Ontario, and Waterloo in particular that gets it in both semesters with Homecoming and St. Patrick’s Day. The Waterloo motion asks for more powers for municipal law enforcement to ask for identification from individuals, to be allowed to increase the penalties, and to be able to apply default fines against a person’s driver’s licence, or other methods to collect fines. Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky is looking for similar motions of support from other Ontario municipalities.