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

Money matters are at the forefront of the next Committee of the Whole meeting. After a couple of months with stacked agendas, this coming committee meeting will be almost entirely one note was council gets their pencils and calculators out to finish off the 2022 budget with an examination of the year end report. Also, feel like taking an electric scooter ride? One councillor wants to make that easier.

NOTE #1: Delegates will be able to appear at this meeting in-person or via tele-presense but you do have to register with the clerks office before 10 am on Friday April 28. You can also submit written delegations and correspondences for agenda items.

NOTE #2: In addition to meeting in-person, this meeting will also be live-streamed on the City of Guelph’s website here.

2022 Year-end Operating Budget Monitoring and Surplus Allocation Report – The City of Guelph ran a surplus of nearly $13.7 million in 2022, which was a 2.8 per cent variance. The surplus was being driven by a couple of things including a 26 per cent positive variance from the increased transfers to reserves, a 2.4 per cent positive variance from staff turnover, and savings through hydro from sustained energy conversion and efficiency measures.

In terms of negative impacts, fuel costs were 57 per cent higher than what was budgeted. Parking Services took a $1.2 million loss due to lower than expected revenue from daily and event categories, and Recreation had a $476,000 deficit due to loss of revenue from COVID-19 closures at the beginning of 2022 and higher than expected food costs from the Evergreen Seniors Centre. Food also had an impact on the Culture budget, which was came out to a $259,000 deficit, which was also driven due to increased labour costs.

One interesting note was that Guelph Transit showed a surplus in 2022 after running steep deficits in the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not the biggest surplus, but Transit made $48,000 more than expected due to increased enrolment at the University of Guelph and revenue from the Upass. There was also $278,000 in savings from labour costs.

Baring any independent motions from various committee members, staff are recommending that the variance be split between various reserve funds.

2022 Year-end Capital Budget Monitoring Report – Overall, it was a good year for capital planning despite the inflationary pressures, which, according to the report, did start to taper off around the middle of 2022 but are still fairly high when compared to pre-pandemic construction. The City spent $110.3 million on capital projects in 2022 including energy efficiency at the water treatment plant, road construction, upgrades to the Paisley pumping station, and rec facility renewal.

Another $101.3 million in purchase orders were also processed, and 86 projects were closed yielding a $6.4 million surplus for the year. Capital prioritization also save the City $11.5 million.

The only new spending presented here is $375,000 from the Infrastructure Renewal Reserve Fund to install a wildlife crossing on Maltby Road East, which includes a structurally sound tunnel and fencing for the crossing and the reconstruction of the road. Why the urgency? According to the report, in 2022 there were documented increases in turtle mortality on Maltby Road, and since environmental protection is a key pillar in the Strategic Plan, it seems like money well spent now.

2022 Long-term Financial Statement: Reserves and Debt – This is an information report, which outlines the health of the City’s debt and reserve balances. Overall, the reserve and reserve funds were increased by 6.1 per cent over the previous year with a balance just shy of $488 million. The year-end debt totalled just under $124 million after a principal repayment of $14 million. The Development Charges collected in 2022 were about $400,000 off when compared to 2021, and there were also nearly $3 million more in exemptions granted.

E-scooter from Councillor Goller Motion – The Government of Ontario has been running an e-scooter pilot program since January 2020 and municipalities that want to allow e-scooters to operate on their roads must pass bylaws to permit their use and set out specific requirements based on what is best for their communities. Councillor Rodrigo Goller wants Guelph to sign up, and time is of the essence because the pilot project comes to and in January 25.

Goller’s three-part motion will ask for a draft bylaw for the July 5 Committee of the Whole meeting along with input from the Guelph Police Service about enforcement and reporting requirements. There’s also a clause asking to skip the usual public consultation process in order to initiate the process in a timely manner.


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