Monthly Archives: May 2014

A New Clock?

City Council Meeting May 20, 2014

 

Jason here. Last Night’s Council meeting was an exercise in city boosting. Did you know that Kingston had been named one of seven cities from all over the world as an intelligent community by The Intelligent Community Forum ? Do you care if the city has “a unique opportunity to learn from the world’s most dynamic communities how to use information and communications technology to build prosperous, inclusive and sustainable” cities? That is how the ICF(Intelligent Communities Forum) describes the upcoming  meeting in New York where the most Intelligent Community will be chosen. Jason’s bet is that you care more about the $3 million to be spent on city streets to repair winter damage. On the latter subject Councillor Downes asked the most disturbing question ‘how will the City manage if Global Warming makes last winter the norm instead of an aberration?’ In house experts claim that (Division St is a case in point) roads are not being completed correctly.

Service covers are being left at a lower level than the road which leads to damage at a later date.  Jim Keech, the CEO of Utilities Kingston feels that if Downes is correct, a rethinking of spending is in order. The controller of the budget wasn’t so sure as budgeting takes five year averages, so the winters would be figured in. Still, the budget would have to increase.

 

Hector and Hutchison moved a motion which passed unanimously, to ask staff  to complete the Official Plan and zoning by-laws to exclude a gaming facility as a permitted use in the Central Business District, This is interesting because Hector was rumoured to be in favour of a gaming facility in the CBD.

 

On the Score Board issue we learned the difference between an ‘integrator’ and a ‘manufacturer’ after one of the suppliers of some of the parts of the current board went out of business. Council went with a ‘manufacturer’, of course, the ‘manufacturer could go out of business as well ANDSMG could be supplanted by another manager. Both might cause a problem, but the sun shines on SMG right now.

Councillor Neill moved the following motion. Of course, it is an urban myth that unions and developers dollars play a big role in municipal elections. What is interesting about this motion is the request that this city be given the same powers as Toronto.  Perhaps

this would free us in many ways from the weak mayor system we now suffer under.

If we get this from the province, perhaps we can get other powers. It will take a lot of work. As Rob Wood of 80/20 info, and Councillor Downes pointed out last night, cities are the engines of innovation.

Whereas the City of Toronto has enacted By-law #1177-2009 to prohibit all Corporate and Union donations in Toronto Municipal Elections; and

Whereas other Ontario Municipalities are not granted the same powers to so adopt such rules of election finance under the Municipal Elections Act, 2006;

Therefore Be It Resolved That the City of Kingston request that the Province of Ontario grant similar powers to all Ontario Municipalities so that future Councils have the power to enact similar restrictions, should they so choose.

 

Collegial Council ? Elections Soon !

City Council Meeting May 6, 2014

Jason here. So tonight we saved $10 off each residential tax bill. Councillor Hector says that means a lot to those on fixed incomes. Let us at least say that while it does, there was a lot of merit to Councillor Downes motion to put the increased revenue that comes to the city by virtue of increased assessment into the Working Reserve Fund because Global warming is upon us and the weather future is unknown. He says that we have had several 100 year rain storms this year. Does anyone understand all this? The tax situation, I mean. It is clear that the majority of Councillors did not. All they cared about was the decrease- or the possible decrease, in tax rates. Never mind that MPAC was slow and that education taxes decreased by 4.5%, 2015 and 16 may or may not have tax rates higher than 2014. We live in hope, and hope that someone other than the CAO understands this. Maybe someone is studying it as we speak.

 

AND Council passed a motion NOT to pay the invoice of Dr. Robert Williams as he failed to fulfil his responsibilities to the city. Dr. Williams, I guess, had been an advocate of allowing students to vote. He changed his mind during the O.M.B. hearing (which the city lost). Those in favour of not paying him agreed that the City does not pay where satisfaction with the employee’s work is not evident. Councillor Downes and Glover opposed the motion, the former because he wanted to put the whole question behind him. (Indeed, if Williams sues, the question is ongoing.).Glover was forced by the mayor to apologize, (the only pyrotechnics during the meeting) to the City Solicitor for impugning his motive in questioning Glover re Williams at the OMB. To Jason’s mind, the City Solicitor is the problem here. Should he have known that Williams was unreliable? He and the Director of Legal Services recommended that Williams not be paid.

 

Anther delegation – Mr Amed spoke in favour of a cricket pitch in the city. Why you may ask is the cricket pitch not to be on the cricket field? It (a cricket pitch) requires 50 or so feet of concrete covered by artificial turf.to assure a predictable bounce of the ball. Cricket has changed. Used to be that the unpredictable bounce of the ball was the challenge of the game.  Onward to the election!