About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Committee of the Whole Preview - What's on the Agenda for the September 5 Meeting?

It's time to get back to school work, with the first Committee-of-the-Whole session since July, and money matters seem to matter most in this first gathering of city council for fall 2017.

PRESENTATION: Local Immigration Partnership Contribution Agreement: Sandra Cocco, GWLIP Co-Chair, Immigrant Services Guelph Wellington; and Trish McComb, GWLIP Co-Chair, County of Wellington.
COW-PS-2017.11 Corporate Security Update - Evidently, security concerns are increasing at city facilities according to a report coming forward at next month's committee. So far in 2017, City staff responded to 45 security calls at City Hall and 20 security calls at other City properties, which is an increase of 16 and 60 per cent respectively over last year. Staff wants to bring forward an expansion package at budget time to hire two new security guards. Staff believe that the new hires will allow the City to relax some of its security controls with human enforcement at the scene. The cost will be $90,000 a year for two security guards and a vehicle, but some of those costs will be off-set because it's presently costing the City to hire temporary security at times.
COW-CS-2017.14 Reserve and Reserve Fund Review and Policy Update - The City is in the process of revising the General Reserve and Reserve Fund Policy, and this is phase two of that project. Among the recommended changes are the redefinition of the contingency reserve funds to clearly explain how and why they should be accessed, and that's been broken down into four areas: Tax Rate, Environmental and Utility, Legal and Insurance, and Compensation. These new funds will be accessed on condition of receiving a clear description of purpose, upon finding that there's an appropriate use of the funds, and that proper authority of access and timing has been authorized. In all, 11 Tax-Supported Reserves will be renamed, discontinued or amalgamated into new funds, while five Non-Tax-Supported Reserves will be addressed in the same way. There will be no financial effect on the 2017 Capital Budget, but there may be an effect on how funds are allocated in 2018 and future budgets.
COW-CS-2017.15 Capital Transfer Allocation Policy - Remember last year when council approved a one per cent infrastructure levy as part of the budget? Well, this is the part where committee decides what to do about it, and there's a lot to do because the Corporate Asset Management Plan showed a backlog of $501 million. The recommendation is that 90 per cent of the funds gathered from the levy from 2017, and on into the future, be dedicated to the Infrastructure Renewal Reserve Fund, and that the remaining 10 per cent by dedicated the City Building Reserve Fund. This way, the vast majority of the funds will be allocated to improving and updating city assets, over a quarter of which was recently deemed to be in poor or very poor condition. Likely those projects will be the priority for the City moving forward.
COW-2017.16 2017 Q2 Capital Variance Report - So far, it looks like the capital budget is on target, even with more spending in the second quarter versus the first quarter, which is to be expected because more construction happens when the weather gets warmer in spring and summer. Major projects like the police headquarters and Victoria Road Recreation Centre renos look to be on-schedule and on-budget; Vic Road did open on time, but the staff is presently auditing the invoices and receipts to make sure that "on-budget" part is legit. New projects approved by council in the second quarter included solid waste equipment replacement, fleet vehicle and equipment replacement, and the new Fibre Data network created with the Upper Grand District School Board. When the third quarter variance comes around, keep an out for new costs for LED replacement streetlights, and the Wilson Street parkade construction.
COW-2017.17 2017 Q2 Operating Variance Report - Good news, everyone! By the end of June, the City's operating budget was sporting a favourable variance of nearly $1.7 million. Even though City departments are in the red by $107,000, local and outside boards are keeping things tight and saved $1.8 million by the halfway point of the year, securing a net variance of $1.693 million. At the same time, non-tax supported programs have saved about $1.122 million so far this year. So where's the savings? There were unanticipated increases in stormwater revenue, Transit advertising and student transit fares. Also, it looks like the City won't be spending as much on overtime and temporary wages, or at least not as much as anticipated. And where's the beef? There's an increase in processing costs for organic waste, increased costs in information technology due to meeting new compliance requirements, and lower revenues from provincial fines, recycled material and ice rentals (mainly due to the Victoria Road Rec Centre's renos). On the bright, both the police and county social services are projected to be ending the year in the black.
COW-AUD-2017.8 Driver Certification Program Compliance Audit - More good news, everyone! As per the Ministry of Transportation Ontario, Guelph Transit has been certified as a Recognized Authority under the Driver Certification Program, which provides training and testing for holders of a class B and class Z license to upgrade or renew their licenses.
COW-AUD-2017.9 Internal Audit Work Plan Update for 2017 - The audit was first approved in December 2016, a series of eight reviews on various aspects of the business affairs at the City of Guelph covering a number of different areas. So far, four of the eight have been completed, along with an additional audit that was added to the plan after it was first passed in 2016. Vendor/Payment Process, Fuel Security and Systems, Guelph Public Library, Driver Certification Program Compliance (see above), and Legal Representation Follow-Up are all labelled complete while Payroll Process is in progress, and Single Sourced Purchases and Contract Management await commencement and will either be finished later this year, or completed sometime in 2018. A part-time auditor was hired earlier this year to help with the work load, and is being funded out of the Internal Audit's consulting budget and the Chief Administrative Officer's contingency account. Staff is asking committee to approve bringing forward an expansion pack at budget time for the hiring of one more full-time internal auditor.

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