Council overview package for September 13, 2021

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City Council will consider the following items during its General Committee meeting starting at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 13, 2021:

General Committee meeting agenda

The recommendations from the General Committee will be considered by Council for ratification at its regular Council session on September 27, 2021.

In addition to the General Committee meeting, Council will hold a special Council meeting starting at 6:45 p.m. on September 13, 2021 to consider recommendations from the closed session of General Committee on September 7 related to Peterborough Housing Corporation.

As part of its efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Council is meeting electronically/virtually. Residents can watch or listen to the livestream of the meeting at peterborough.ca/watchcouncil.

Watch Council

Housing and Homelessness Benefits Review

Council will consider a report for information on Social Services' review of the Housing Stability Fund and rent supplements.

Consolidating access to rent supplements and HSF within the Social Services Division will assist with access, evidence-based assessments for supports, and building comprehensive, sequenced Life Stabilization Action Plans, staff state in the report.

While a newly integrated human service delivery model within Social Services was being designed locally that consolidated front-line job roles by function rather than by program, the Province started to consider similar models based on a “human services integration” lens. Ontario’s Vision for Social Assistance Transformation describes this as providing high-quality client service through a fully integrated, person-centered service model with a foundation of collaborative case planning.

HSF helps individuals and families in the City and County get or keep housing. Assistance is offered to qualifying individuals to pay overdue bills, rent, and other housing-related costs to prevent or end homelessness. 2021 funding for HSF totaled $1,561,000.

Some examples of eligible housing costs are:

  • Heat, hydro or rent arrears
  • Mortgage or tax arrears
  • Last month's rent
  • Beds, bed covers, mattresses and box springs
  • Replacing or purchasing appliances
  • Moving or storage costs

In 2020, the City's Social Services Division and the Housing Resource Centre jointly distributed approximately $1 million from the Housing Stability Fund to 1,557 unique households. In 2019, the amount was about $1.47 million to about 2,387 households. The amount in 2020 was lower due to the suspension of evictions and availability of other provincial funding during the pandemic.

For 2020, the analysis identifies estimates of $14.9 million lost revenue, $5.6 million direct costs, $3.3 million cost savings and $6.9 million program-specific provincial funding related to Transit and Social Services for a net financial impact of $10.4 million. After excluding Lost Casino Funds, the preliminary estimated financial impact of COVID for 2020 is $7.6 million.

Currently there are nine categories of rent supplements delivered by three different partners in the Housing and Homelessness portfolios. The delivery partners are the Housing Resource Centre (HRC), Peterborough Housing Corporation (PHC), and the Social Services division. Rent supplements include the provincial legacy programs, federal/provincial programs, and municipally funded programs. All programs have different funding, eligibility and target populations.

City of Peterborough Holdings Inc. annual report

Council will consider a report on the the City of Peterborough Holdings Inc. 2020 Annual Report and appointing the auditor for the corporation.

City of Peterborough Holdings Inc. (COPHI) is the parent company for the City's water and electricity companies. In 2020, it completed the sale of its electricity distribution business, operating as Peterborough Distribution Inc. (PDI), to Hydro One. The $105 million sale of PDI to Hydro One was expected to generate between $50 million and $55 million after debt and other expenses associated with the company. Total proceeds after expenses is now expected to be $66 million after a final instalment of $5.9 million that's expected this year. Electricity distribution rates for customers were reduced by 1% effective August 1, 2020 and will be frozen at that level for five years. All existing PDI employees were offered employment with all employees receiving equivalent or better remuneration.

COPHI's net income for 2020 was $34.5 million, including $30 million related to the operations and gain on the sale of PDI.

Peterborough Utilities' electricity generation capacity - COPHI has retained ownership of its electricity generation business; only the electricity distribution business has been sold - has grown to more than $200 million in assets and 49.6 megawatts of clean, renewable energy generation capacity in 2020 from about $5 million in assets and four megawatts of generation capacity in 2000.

As the sole shareholder of COPHI, last year the City received $5.9 million in dividends and the $60.1-million special distribution from the PDI sale.

COPHI notes in its annual report that the current dividend level is not sustainable without a significant investment in the company. Without an investment in the company by the shareholder, the growth of the utility will be curtailed and a recalibration of dividend levels will be required, COPHI states in its report.

As part of the review of the annual report, Council will consider appointing Baker Tilly KDN LLP, Chartered Professional Accountants, as the auditors for the corporation. 

Provincial funding for Ontario Works

Council will consider a report outlining the impacts of the Province's four-year freeze on Ontario Works administration costs.

While the standard funding formula for Ontario Works administration costs is 50% provincial and 50% municipal funding, the Province has held its funding at the same level for the last four years, shifting the funding split to 53% from the City and 47% from the province. The shift in funding levels will lead to the City contributing $484,610 more than its traditional share for Ontario Works administration in the draft 2022 budget.

Council will consider asking the Mayor to send a letter to the Minister of Children, Community and Social Services requesting that the Province restore its funding to the original 50/50 cost share. It will also consider asking the City's Commissioner of Community Services to work with senior staff in the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services to identify additional funding opportunities with the Province.

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