Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the July 2 Meeting?

July will mark the last Committee of the Whole meeting before the summer break, and it will be about the immediate and long-term plans for council, traffic issues, and various other imperatives of Infrastructure, Enterprise and Development (plus Corporate Services).


1) Employment Coordination Committee- Guelph Wellington – 2019 Mentor of the Year Award City of Guelph Mentors

2) Canadian Public Relations Society – Hamilton – Public Relations Champion of the Year

3) Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers – Executive Diploma in Municipal Management

4) American Water Works Association – Exemplary Source Water Protection Award

5) 2019 Guelph YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award and Conestoga College – Human Resources Diploma

CS-2019-61 2018-2022 Council Composition and Employment Status Review – Back in the last term of council, it was suggested that staff undertake a review of council composition, including number, type, and ward boundaries for councillors, as well as whether or not our city councillors should remain part-time, or become full-time. This review will happen in three phases: first the environmental scan and governance review, meaning how similar municipalities to Guelph are managing their councils, then phase two will look at ward boundaries, and then phase three will look at the compensation and support review, or, to put it another way, how much councillors should get paid, and whether they need a support staff. Outside consultants will be engaged for phases one and two, while the Citizen’s Review Committee for Council Compensation and Support will be appointed to oversee phase three.

CS-2019-68 2020 Council and Committee Meeting Schedule – It’s only July 2019, but the Clerks office is already thinking about 2020. Next year’s council and committee schedule has no surprises; meetings will continue on Mondays with Committee of the Whole on the first Monday, the planning council meetings on the second Monday, and the regular council meeting on the fourth Monday. Allowances will be made for holidays, and special occasions like the June meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

IDE-2019-68 Sign By-Law Variance: 100 Gordon Street – The Mortgage Guys are looking to get better signage with a new illuminated sign on the side of their building. Staff are recommending that committee allow the variance because the location is already in a commercial area, and it won’t have a negative effect on the streetscape.

IDE-2019-69 Sign By-Law Variance: 43 Arthur Street South – The Spring Mill Distillery is adding several new signs to their Arthur Street location, mostly inauspicious. In fact, the staff recommendation is partially based on the fact that the signs will not distract from the appearance of the building, and the required heritage permits have already been approved.

IDE-2019-16 On-Street Parking Policy Review – The City is looking to update its policy for 0n-street parking with an eye on making it easier for residents to park on the street while at the same time looking out for public safety and the flow of traffic. The rules have not been updated since the early-2000s, and there are a number of issues to be addressed including language, thresholds, survey standards, road classifications and alignments. The City hired a consultant to review best practices in other municipalities and found, among other things, six redundant policies, a new minimum for curb-to-curb road width of 8.4 metres (per consultation with the Guelph Fire Department), and changes to the application process for an on-street parking review (you don’t need a petition now). The changes may result in minor budget increases for new signage, and that will be brought forward in the 2020 budget process.

IDE-2019-73 Setting the Course: A Continuous Improvement and Employee Engagement Services Area Initiative – Infrastructure, Development and Enterprise are three pretty big endeavours for the City that are all rammed together into one department. Over the last year and a half, the IDE staff have been undertaking a process to become more collaborative and strategic. They had three directions: better management of resources and work-life balance, to improve workplace culture, and to listen and strengthen relationships. According to the staff report, the results have been inspiring. In all, 80 per cent of employees feel empowered to create a better culture in the department, 95 per cent have met new people and grown their own personal networks, and 70 per cent feel they’ve become better informed about what other departments are doing. Staff will present their full findings to council for receipt.

IDE-2019-70 Private Well and Septic System Decommissioning Grant – As you may know, Guelph is the largest community in Canada to depend on ground water as its sole source of drinking water, so special precautions need to be taken. This program, which comes out of the council-approved Grand River Source Protection Plan, will help encourage people with aging wells and septic systems on their property to decommission them with some financial incentives from the City. Property owners will be eligible for grants of up to $1,500 per well, and $15,000 per septic tank, and, if approved, it will go into effect on August 1 of this year. The City’s Non-tax Capital Budget has already put aside $100,000 for 2019, which is the cap, with grants being given out on a first come, first served basis.

IDE-2019-71 Downey Road Transportation Improvement Plan: Implementation Update – Way back in 2016, the City started introducing a number of traffic calming methods along Downey Rd between Niska and Pheasant Run Dr. Phase one included the controversial “bump outs” to create on-street parking along the west side of Downey, enhanced crosswalks, buffered bike lanes and refuge islands for pedestrians, but after three years there’s still some room for improvements, especially on the west side of Downey travelling  north to Niska. Phase two will include three new bump-outs and speed cushions at Niska Rd and Hazelwood, near Ptarmigan Dr, and at Quail Creek and Pheasant Run. A fourth measure, a raised intersection at Downey and Teal Dr, is not now recommended by staff.

CS-2019-69 Vacant and Excess Land Subclass Review – As previously reported, the City has been exploring the necessity of continuing the vacant and excess land subclass tax rate discount. This discount comes into effect if a commercial or industrial property isn’t being used, or isn’t being used to its fullest. Right now, the City of Guelph has 229 properties that receive the 30 per cent tax rate discount, which comes to $925,000 in revenue that the City doesn’t receive, but not for too much longer. Staff is recommending that the City discontinue the discount, and that it be phased out over two years, reducing the discount from 30 per cent to 15 per cent in 2020, and then fully eliminated in 2021.

CS-2019-21 2019 First Tri-Annual Capital Variance Report – For 2019, council approved a Capital Budget of $87.4 million, and at the end of the first quarter, the City has so far spent nearly $20 million of that. As of April 30, 2019, $19.3 million in capital expenditures have been made, which is $8 million more than last year at the same time. The report reviews what money has been spend so far, and where capital funds will be allocated over the next few months.

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