Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the May 3 Meeting?

May’s Committee of the Whole will be a very busy affair indeed. There’s going to be money matters with the left over financial statements from last year, and the investment of that Safe Restart funding. In development matters, there’s some Official Plan stuff, and the business case for that other huge project that City staff is looking to get approval of.

NOTE #1: Delegates will be able to appear at this meeting via telephone, but you do have to register with the clerks office before 10 am on Friday April 30. You can also submit written delegations and correspondences for agenda items.

NOTE #3: The meeting will be closed to the public, though it will be live-streamed on the City of Guelph’s website here.

STAFF RECOGNITIONS:

The IAP2 Community Plan Recognition for Jennifer Smith, Manager, Corporate and Community Strategic Initiatives; Stewart McDonough, Community Plan Activator; Kelly Guthrie, Community Engagement Coordinator; Alison Springate, Manager, Corporate Communications; Barb Swartzentruber, Executive Director, Smart Cities; and, Michelle Lowther, Administrative Coordinator, Smart Cities.

Additional Residential Dwelling Unit Registration By-law – After council passed the Additional Residential Unit Planning Act Update review, three units became allowable on select properties, which means that the 2017 bylaw that requires the registration of two-unit houses also needs a slight update to make sure that the third unit gets registered too.

Core Asset Management Plans – Despite COVID-19, and a one year delay granted by the provincial government, City staff have completed the development of the Core Asset Management Plans. The Current Replacement Value of all assets by the City is $4.3 billion, and the current backlog is approximately $202 million, or six per cent, which is inline with the information previously published in past City reports. The law passed by the Government of Ontario in 2017 requires every Ontario municipality to prepare a strategic asset management policy in order to manage City-owned infrastructure, and make sure that its renewal is accounted for municipal budgets.

Official Plan Review: Policy Directions – For the last several months, council has been getting its ducks in a row to start the formal process of reviewing the Official Plan. The changes that the City will have to undertake include the removal of height and density bonusing, and the implementation of major transit station areas (MTSAs) for exclusionary zoning. The review must also take into account the new targets for Places to Grow, the identification of water resource systems, and other provincially-mandated changes. The next phases will be community and Indigenous engagement before the formal draft policies for the Official Plan comes back to council sometime later this year.

City Operations Campus: Business Case and Staging Plan – After being in the cooker for a while, staff will finally present the much anticipated and highly requested business case for the City Operations Campus. Looking at alternative options, staff will argue the expansion and rehabilitation of the current facilities is completely out as an alternative option, while creating new decentralized facilities, while offering a couple of benefits, don’t offer nearly as many as proceeding with the construction of a campus. Staff will also report that building a new campus for City operations will be the cheapest option with a max. budget of $228 million, while options #1 and #2 and could cost between $210 and $268 million. If committee likes the business case, staff will be able to move on to planning and design phases after ratification at the end of May.

2020 Long-term Financial Statement: Reserves and Debt – Despite the extra expenditures and revenue loses in 2020, the Tax Supported Reserves and Reserve Funds actually increased by 16 per cent last year thanks to the Safe Restart funds and lower capital spending. There are two recommendations coming out of this report, and the first is that City has to open a new reserve fund in order to manage provincial and federal grants for that Safe Restart Transit funding. Secondly, two reserve funds are to be closed, the Greenhouse Gas reserve, who’s role is now filled by a different reserve fund, and the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling reserve, the funds for which have now been spent.

2020 Year-end Capital Budget Monitoring Report – This report notes again that capital spending was down last year for a variety of reasons that trace back to the pandemic, but it reminds council that the spending is still needed as infrastructure ages. Having said that, capital spending was only 16 per cent down for 2020, so the City was able achieve much of the capital agenda for the year. One red flag is though is that there’s a staffing issue, the City needs more staff resources to better stay on top of infrastructure; it’s hard to create consistency with temporary staff. A full report about the capital challenges will be coming to council in June.

2020 Year-end Operating Budget Monitoring and Surplus Allocation and Deficit Funding – This is where we get into the hard numbers. According to the final numbers for fiscal 2020, the end of the year deficit is just under a million dollars, or $947,525, but that’s not taking into account the recovery funds from the provincial and federal government. In all, the City of Guelph has received over $6 million in Safe Restart funding. The staff report makes the point that the City could be feeling the financial effects of the pandemic until 2023, which is why a portion of the funds not reinvested into the various reserve funds that the City used to balance the books will saved to offset future COVID costs.

Here’s the full breakdown:

 

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