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Web Site Updates
09-10-2016 - CTA Asks Council to Reject PMP Implementation Phase One
09-07-2016 - CTA responds to Mayor's Transit letter
09-02-2016 - Paul Pagnuelo on "Week in Review" on OEB hearing
09-02-2016 - Mayor responds to CTA Transit letter
08-31-2016 - CTA Transit letter
08-27-2016 - Update on OEB hearings
07-22-2016 - Bryan Lambert on "Week in Review" on CTA registering as intervenor
07-20-2016 - Added 2015 FIR
07-20-2016 - CTA intevenes in electricity rate increase
07-08-2016 - First Half 2016 Town Spending
06-21-2016 - Added Cobourg 2015 Financial Reports
06-21-2016 - Added 2015 Cobourg Financial Statements
06-21-2016 - Added Cobourg Water System Financial Plan 2016 - 2021
06-14-2016 - Council used common sense and rejected this expenditure
06-10-2016 - CTA Urges Council to Reject Hiring Consultant
05-30-2016 - Support for Don Morrison's letter on CIVIC
05-28-2016 - Friends of the Park Theatre: The Other Side of the Story
05-26-2016 - Initiative Saves Taxpayers $10,000
05-12-2016 - News Release on CTA call for By-election
05-12-2016 - CTA Calls for By-Election with Letter to Council
05-04-2016 - Added to Links Cramahe Community Association
05-04-2016 - Added to Resources c 29 Fair Municipal Finance Act 1997 (No. 2)
05-03-2016 - Added Mayor's response to Mfg Attraction Specialist
05-03-2016 - Added Letter to the Editor Northumberland News
04-29-2016 - Added News Release on Skateboard Park
The CTA is completely volunteer run with no paid staff, no funding from government or special interests. Donations will be used to pay for Freedom of Information requests, our website and other expenses to help everyone enjoy our Feel Good Town with less government waste and lower taxes.
We appreciate cheques as they avoid the 2.9% Paypal service charge. They can be sent to:
Cobourg Taxpayers Association
24 Pebble Beach Dr.
Cobourg ON K9A 2C5
The Cobourg Taxpayers Association (CTA) has done an initial review of the Parks Master Plan (PMP) Implementation Phase 1 report prepared by Director Hustwick.
In his report, the Director makes three main recommendations. The CTA respectfully asks Council to reject these recommendations for the reasons outlined below:
- Approve Implementation of the 2013 Parks Master Plan
As has been pointed out previously, the PMP was never approved or endorsed by Council. It was simply “received”, indicating, in our view, a lack of confidence in the plan. The PMP is now three years out of date and it would seem prudent to consider updating it before any consideration is given to implementation approval.
- Procurement of Expert Services
We assume his proposal means a consultant’s study costing $45,000 or more, adding to the eight prior studies in the past five years, estimated to have cost several hundred thousand dollars. We believe that most Cobourg residents would be hard pressed to find tangible benefits resulting from these studies.
We think that the Director should focus on bringing the Cobourg Community Centre’s million-dollar annual cost in excess of revenue under control. With regard to the restaurant, we don’t understand the apparent fascination and need to compete with the Town’s existing businesses.
- New Hire - Recreation Coordinator
As with the preceding recommendation, there is no cost benefit analysis, business case, job description or list of accountabilities provided and no indication as to how this new hire benefits the Cobourg community.
In summary, the Cobourg Taxpayers Association is not entirely opposed to the Director’s direction and concept. We do find that the report lacks the information needed by Council to assess the proposals, support due diligence and make informed financially responsible decisions.
The full letter can be viewed here:
9/7/2016 Update: See below for the CTA response to the Mayor.
9/2/2016 Update: Response from the mayor can be found here:
Mayor responds to CTA transit letter
The "Cobourg Transit Review" consultant's report by the IBI Group was released in February 2014. The cost to taxpayers was $19,000. Since then, none of the recommendations have been implemented. The CTA has sent a letter to Deputy Mayor John Henderson thanking him for being a champion for accountability with respect to the transit study. The letter was also addressed to Councillor Forrest Rowden for the analysis/due diligence to support his statement that "the town is charging sufficient fares and there is no justification for the increase." Port Hope has taken a proactive approach in reviewing their transit system. Cobourg should be doing the same for the sake of its riders and its taxpayers. Here are the links to the CTA letter and the study:
CTA response to the Mayor's letter:
Although the letter was addressed to Deputy Mayor Henderson and Councillor Rowden, the Mayor responded and we needed to clarify the Mayor’s misinterpretation of our letter. The letter was sent to let the Deputy Mayor know we appreciated his due diligence and accountability and to ask Councillor Rowden for his analysis/due diligence to support his statement that “the town is currently charging sufficient fares and there is no justification for the increase”.
We believe that the current bus system is not meeting the needs of our citizens and a systematic review needs to be done in the context of the transit study. The Mayor commented that they will review the rates at the next budget meeting. The transit system needs to be reviewed now and not wait to throw more money at it at budget time.
In the Mayor’s email, he also states that his financial philosophy is based on "cost of living" increases yet net transit costs to taxpayers have increased by 8% from 2015 to 2016. The average inflation of Canada in 2016 is only 1.5 %.
The entire letter can be read here:
09/02/2016 Update: John Hill talks to Paul Pagnuelo (CTA) & Ceiran Bishop (OEB) on Lakefront Utilities application for a rate increase. Podcast of the broadcast below at end of article
8/27/2016 Update: Lakefront Utilities repsonses to CTA questions, and follow up questions/responses:
August 5, 2016 response from Lakefront Utilities
August 21, 2016 follow up questions by CTA
August 25, 2016 follow up response from Lakefront Utilities
7/22/2016 Update: Bryan Lambert was on "Week in Review" discussing CTA registering as an intervenor. Podcast of the broadcast below at end of article.
In June, the Cobourg Taxpayers Association (CTA) applied to be a designated intervenor in the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) hearings with regards to Lakefront Utilities seeking approval for changes to the rates charged for electricity distribution, to be effective January 1, 2017. Lakefront Utilities Inc. (Lakefront Utilities) filed a complete cost of service application with the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) on April 29, 2016 under section 78 of the Ontario Energy Board Act, 1998, S.O. 1998, c. 15, (Schedule B), seeking approval for changes to the rates that Lakefront Utilities charges for electricity distribution, effective January 1, 2017.
A Notice of Hearing (Notice) was issued on June 6, 2016. Each of the CTA, Energy Probe Research Foundation (Energy Probe) and the Vulnerable Energy Consumers Coalition (VECC) applied for intervenor status.
The CTA, Energy Probe and VECC were approved as intervenors.
Intervenors are interested groups or individuals who participate actively in the proceeding either by submitting evidence, arguments or interrogatories (written questions) or by cross-examining a witness or witnesses at an oral hearing. These provide a forum for individuals or groups of individuals who may be affected by the Board's rulings to express their views to the Board and to participate meaningfully in the Board's decision-making process.
This effort will help us to remove the shroud of secrecy from Holdco’s dealings.
Download [Right click Download link and use Save As to download]
Week in Review - John Hill talks to Paul Pagnuelo (CTA) & Ceiran Bishop (OEB) on Lakefront Utilities application for a rate increase.
Download [Right click Download link and use Save As to download]
Since, we are now halfway through the year, it is important that the citizens of Cobourg know the current status of the town’s budget; i.e. are we on track, over or under budget for each department? If we are over, what steps are being taken to make adjustments for the remainder of the year? A letter was sent to the Deputy Mayor, John Henderson, copying Council, asking for information on:
- What new, non-budgeted, items have been identified and what spending can be reduced in other areas to offset this new spending?
- What are the actual savings to date for identified reductions?
- What is the spending forecast for the remainder of the year?
The full text of the letter can be found here.