Committee of the Whole Preview – What’s on the Agenda for the June 7 Meeting?

The first council meeting of June will be a very busy Committee of the Whole meeting indeed, and it will cover a wide variety of items from several different service areas. From Corporate Services, to Public Services, to Audit Committee, and the regular quarterly update on the local pandemic response from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, you should pack a lunch because this might be a long meeting.

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 June 4. 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:

1) Alex Brossault, Michael Bartholomew, and Chris Sambol for 2020 Best Challenges Award in the Best Public Sector GIS Category at the Ontario Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.

2) James Krauter, Greg Bedard, Rita Pezzano, Mathew Thomas, Mike DeManche, Claire Lin, Michael Bartholomew, David Boyle, Jeremy Smith, and Helen Cheng for Municipal Information Systems Association’s 2021 Excellence in Municipal Systems Award.

Managing the Impacts of COVID-19: Update Number 8 – Chief Administrative Officer Scott Stewart and Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer will deliver the quarterly update about the community response to COVID-19, and that report will be included when the revised agenda is released next Friday.

Paramedic Service Response Performance 2020 and Performance Plan 2022 – Despite the effects of the pandemic, the Paramedic Service for Guelph and Wellington was rated as being in the compliance range in the six categories that they’re measured in, and even exceeded targets in a couple of categories. The current compliance targets will be maintained for 2022.

Update on Subsidy Policy – As you may already know, the City of Guelph offers subsidies for people with limited means, things like the affordable bus pass and fee assistance for recreation programs. City staff reviews these subsidies every year, and there are two new recommendations. To address the fact that some people still can’t afford a bus pass at the subsidized rate, staff would like to bring forward a one-year pilot for a sliding scale in the 2022 budget if there’s a way to fund it. The second issue is with people experiencing a sudden change of income, like the loss of employment of the death of a family member, and the City is looking for ways to help those people faster.

Process on Awarding Funding from the Affordable Housing ReserveLast August, City of Guelph staff announced their intention to work with the County of Wellington, and to find a way to turn over to them the responsibility for distributing the City’s annual funding for affordable housing projects. It’s a move that makes sense seeing as how the County is the housing provider for Guelph, and thus have the staffing and resources to manage such funding. The City and County are apparently closed to finalizing a formal agreement that will come back to council for approval sometime in the third quarter. It will leave the County with the responsibility for collecting the applications and distributing the funds, but the City will still be able to offer commentary, and arrange to share the costs if the County needs extra help processing the paper work.

Guelph Trail Master Plan – After three rounds of public engagement, 1,700 responses, and 30 different opportunities to get feedback, staff will present to committee the Trail Master Plan. If you look at the map below on the left, you will see the planned expansion of the trail network. The solid light green line is the existing trail, the dotted maroon line is the planned trail while the yellow dotted line is a desired connection. The map on the right is the implementation plan, with numbers showing the order in which new parts of the trail network will be constructed.

You can get a better look at the network map here, and the implementation map here.

The capital investment in new and improved trails is expected to be $32.1 million over the next 10 years, while the total operating impact is just under a million dollars at $945,000. Much of that money is to increase winter maintenance on not just the current 27 kilometres of trails, but an additional 38 kilometres as well. The City will be looking for grant opportunities to offset the costs too.

Guelph Community Sports Dome: Future Use Options – Way back, pre-pandemic, in the spring of 2019 the Soccer Dome was dropped on the City of Guelph after Guelph Community Sports dissolved. After being delayed a year because of the pandemic, staff deliver the report on what the City should do with the asset. There are three potential options: the City can operate the facility, issue a Request for Proposals so someone else can operate, and to remove the Dome and sell the land. The staff recommendation? Staff have endorsed the first option, for the City of Guelph to retain the Dome develop a plan to manage it, and bring forward budget requirements for the 2022 budget.

2020 Consolidated Financial Statements and External Audit Findings Report – KMPG has completed their review of the City of Guelph’s 2020 financials, and in a shocking development, it seems like everything’s in order. To quote the report directly, “KPMG expressed an unqualified or clean opinion that the statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the City as at December 31, 2020, and its results of operations and cash flows for the year then ended.”

Budget Policy Update – Remember a couple of weeks ago when council had a workshop about multi-year budgeting? After making some notes from council feedback at that meeting, committee will pass this new official General Operating and Capital Policy that will allow council to start implementing multi-year budgeting up to four years out starting this fall.

Capital Program Resourcing Strategy – As promised at last month’s committee meeting, staff will present a plan to deal with staffing and resource issues in managing capital projects. With so many capital projects happening in the next few years, the City is looking to build capacity to handle the demand, and that means stabilizing the workforce and create less turnover. This report outlines the need to convert 16 of 22 temporary positions into permanent full-time ones, plus the need to add 37 additional positions over the next five years. Between the tax supported and non-tax supported, the increased staffing will cost $6.4 million over five years.

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