Council overview package for June 8, 2020

full bike rack

River with park land and downtown

City Council received notice of a public meeting on the preliminary 2021 Budget Guideline that will be held on June 24, 2020, during its Finance Committee meeting on Monday, June 8, 2020.

Council also endorsed the following the following items during its General Committee meeting on June 8, 2020:

  • Recommendations from Mayor Diane Therrien on the formation of a Community Recovery and Resilience Task Force that would consult with the community and gather information to create recommendations for Council;
  • A by-law respecting certain specific matters related to Council's approval of the sale of substantially all of the assets of Peterborough Distribution Inc. to Hydro One;
  • Directing that 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc. be invested with only the revenue generated from the investment available for spending and the creation of a working group that would review options for investments and make recommendations to Council;
  • The unaudited year-end financial report dated December 31, 2019 that includes several recommendations, including using $1.5 million from the 2019 surplus to fund COVID-19 pandemic related expenditures;
  • An information report on the Development Charge Reserve Funds;
  • Amending the Council meeting schedule to add additional General Committee meetings in anticipation of more items coming forward that have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • A $120,910 contract for the digitization of Ontario Works client files;
  • Applying to the federal government's Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund for $21.6 million toward the $54-million Downtown Peterborough (Simcoe Street/Water Street) Flood Mitigation Project;
  • Amending the Council appointments to remove Councillor Stephen Wright from the position of vice-chair of Council's Economic Development portfolio and from the role as Council's appointee to the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce's board of directors;
  • Recommending Councillor Don Vassiliadis as Council's appointee to the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce's board of directors;
  • Amending the Procedure By-law to make changes that will allow the City to hold advisory committee meetings virtually during the COVID-19 emergency declaration; and
  • Providing certain delegated authority to the Chief Administrative Officer to assist with closing or partially closing streets and sidewalks as well as altering speed limits in the downtown as part of the reuse of downtown public space to help provide space for physical distancing as the Province's Emergency Orders are eased or lifted to allow businesses to re-open.

City Council meeting agenda

Council is holding its meetings over video conference due to the COVID-19 emergency. While City Hall is closed to the public and Council members are attending their meetings remotely using their computers or phones, residents can watch or listen to the livestream of the meetings at peterborough.ca/watchcouncil.

Council will be holding a Special Council meeting on Thursday, June 11, 2020 to consider the recommended delegated authority for the Chief Administrative Officer for the closing or partial closing of streets and sidewalks as well as altering speed limits in the downtown to assist with the re-opening of businesses during the COVID-19 recovery phase.

Watch Council

Preliminary 2021 Budget Guideline

Council received notice that a public meeting will be held on June 24, 2020 starting at 6 p.m. to hear public delegations on the recommended 2021 preliminary Budget Guideline.

City staff are currently recommending a 3% all-inclusive (municipal, education, sanitary sewer surcharge) increase for a typical property taxpayer.

To maintain existing services levels would be $5.8 million (that cost includes $2.8 million directly related to impacts from COVID-19) and providing additional capital funding of $2 million would result in a $7.8-million budget increase, which would require a 5.14% increase in the all-inclusive property taxes for a typical homeowner. The recommended 3% increase would leave a shortfall of $3.8 million in funding that would be needed to maintain existing service levels.

"However, staff are very cognizant of the taxpayer’s ability to pay, particularly in these unprecedented circumstances," staff state in the report to Council. "If this guideline is approved, presenting a budget that meets the guideline will have to involve a critical review of user fees and opportunities for new revenues, a more detailed review of escalating costs and opportunities to reduce them and potential service cuts."

If the Province and federal government announce stimulus funding as part of their COVID-19 pandemic recovery plans and a municipal funding share is required to access those funds for projects, staff would report back to Council seeking up to an additional 0.5% all-inclusive increase to support that initiative.

Staff also recommend that the annual earnings from investing the proceeds from the sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc. be directed toward enhancing funding for capital spending, such as repairing infrastructure.

The public meeting on June 24 is another opportunity for residents to provide input into the setting of the 2021 Budget Guideline. Over the last few months, the City consulted with residents through public drop-in sessions as well as a survey on community priorities to help inform the setting of the 2021 Budget Guideline and the development of the 2021 Budget.

A What We Heard report on the results from the budget survey is available online at peterborough.ca/budget.

Council would considering setting the guideline for the creation of the 2021 Budget at its Finance Committee meeting on July 6, 2020.

Community Recovery and Resilience Task Force

pedestrian bridge over a river

Council endorsed recommendations from Mayor Diane Therrien on the formation of a Community Recovery and Resilience Task Force that would consult with the community and gather information for potential actions.

"As the City continues to address and work to mitigate the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that has struck our City, Province, and Country since mid-March, one tool that can be used to guide some of our decision-making and actions in the post COVID-19 period is the creation of a Community Recovery and Resilience Task Force who will gather information through conversation and community engagement, and work together to create Recommendations for Council’s consideration," Therrien states in the report to Council.

Task Force terms of reference

The scope of the Task Force can include: social services (including housing and homelessness supports); support for the arts, culture, and heritage sector; support for the sports and recreation sector; green spaces, natural areas, and parks; food security and renewable energy; support for increasing energy and water efficiency; and waste management and transportation services delivered by the City of Peterborough.

The Task Force will consist of:

  • Mayor (Chair)
  • Chair of Social Services, and Chair of Arts, Culture, and Heritage
  • Chair of Arenas, Parks and Recreation
  • Chair of Waste Management
  • Chair of Transportation
  • Chair of Housing
  • Council representative (1) from the Peterborough Environmental Advisory Committee
  • Staff representative (1) from Community Services – Social Services
  • Staff representative (1) from Community Services – Arts, Culture, & Heritage
  • Staff representative (1) from Infrastructure and Planning Services – Sustainability
  • Staff representative (1) from Community Services – Recreation
  • Community representatives (2) from the social services sector
  • Community representatives (2) from the arts, culture, and heritage sector
  • Community representatives (2) from the environmental sector
  • Community representatives (2) from the sports, parks, and recreation sector
  • Community representative (1) from the urban Indigenous community
  • Community representative (1) from the waste management sector

Specific community representatives will be chosen by the Mayor, based on their ability to network and engage with a broad number of organizations and/or community members within their sector, in order to identify the needs, vulnerabilities, and opportunities of their sector as a whole, as well as provide two-way communication between the sector and the Task Force.

Hydro One's purchase of Peterborough Distribution Inc.

Council endorsed a proposed by-law respecting certain specific matters related to Council's approval of the sale of substantially all of the assets of Peterborough Distribution Inc. to Hydro One;

On December 15, 2016, Council passed By-law 16-173 to authorize City of Peterborough Holdings Inc. to sell substantially all of the assets of Peterborough Distribution Inc. (PDI) to Hydro One Inc. On April 30, 2020, the Ontario Energy Board approved the application for Hydro One's purchase of the PDI electricity distribution system. The transaction is scheduled to be completed on August 1, 2020.

As part of the completion of the transaction, various property, administrative, and organizational decisions need to be finalized.

The City estimates it will receive $50 million to $55 million from the sale of PDI after debt and other liabilities as part of the transaction. 

Investing the proceeds from the sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc.

Council supported directing that 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Peterborough Distribution Inc. be invested with only the revenue generated from the investment available for spending and the creation of a working group that would review options for investments and make recommendations to Council.

The negotiated sale price of Peterborough Distribution Inc. (PDI) to Hydro One is $105 million. After fees and retirement of debt obligations, the net sale proceeds are expected to be in the range of $50 to $55 million. How to invest the proceeds will have significant financial implications for years to come.

Staff recommend that the City invest 100% of the proceeds on options that bring a return to the City and the immediate focus will be on how to invest the funds. Other options on how to spend the return on the investment, regardless of how worthy the cause is, will be a future budget discussion.

Some of the options being considered for how to invest the revenue include:

  • Investing with ONE Investment to create a Legacy Fund;
  • Investing in renewable energy projects through City of Peterborough Holdings Inc. - Peterborough Utilities group of companies;
  • Providing loans to homeowners to fund home energy retrofits;
  • Creating a Renewable Power Generation Investment Trust Fund;
  • Investing the proceeds through BMO Wealth Management; and
  • Investing in Community Wellbeing through the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough with income generated from the investment used to support charitable initiatives in the community.

As part of the City's consultation on community priorities for the 2021 Budget, residents were asked about how to invest the proceeds from the sale of PDI. A What We Heard report on the consultation is available online at peterborough.ca/budget.

A working group would review the options and prepare recommendations for Council's consideration.

Unaudited financial statement, December 31, 2019

Plow trucks lined up next to each other

Council endorsed the unaudited year-end financial report dated December 31, 2019 that includes several recommendations, including using $1.5 million from the 2019 surplus to fund COVID-19 pandemic related expenditures.

The recommendations, along with receiving the statement for information, also include transfers to reserve funds and an advance payment of $60,000 plus tax to the Peterborough Petes in 2020 as an advance payment on the Petes share of the food and beverage sales at Petes Games.

The 2020 Budget was approved with a $100,000 surplus carried forward from 2019.

The unaudited financial statement shows that:

  • The City received $3.2 million as its host community share of the casino revenues in 2019;
  • The engineering, construction and public works section was $880,000 over budget due to factors such as unanticipated repairs to vehicles, higher parts costs, fuel cost overages and increased depreciation costs as well as increased costs for winter control;
  • Arenas were $600,000 over budget due to decreased revenues at the Peterborough Memorial Centre (PMC) and the Evinrude Centre with the PMC's closure for floor repairs and the Lakers lacrosse season and Petes training camp using the Evinrude reducing the availability of floor and ice time available for rental; and
  • An estimated $94,431 in savings in electricity costs by participating in the Local Authority Services Electricity Program that's a cooperative procurement program with other Ontario municipalities.

Council endorsed transferring 75% of the $496,436 surplus from the 2019 Police Services budget to the City reserve account with the other 25% provided back to the Police Service.

Development Charge Reserve Funds 2019 Annual Report

Council will consider an information report on the Development Charge Reserve Funds in 2019.

 There is presently $29.1 million of future commitments approved by Council against Development Charge Reserve Funds (DCRFs) that have a balance of $13.8 million as of December 31, 2019. To ensure that the funds are not entirely depleted, the issuance of debt will continue to replace financing projects directly from the various DCRFs where appropriate. Future Development Charges collected will be directed towards the payment of debt principal and interest costs.

The $29.1 million of commitments, referenced above, refers only to those capital works approved in 2019 and prior years’ budgets. The 2020 Budget approved a further $7.6 million in capital works for a total amount of $36.7 million in future commitments. The transfer of the funds will take place over time as the projects proceed. However, there will be insufficient funds in the DCRFs to cover the commitments as the projects are completed and the DCRFs will rely heavily on issuance of debt.

Council meeting schedule changes

Council supported changes to its meeting schedule to add additional General Committee meetings in anticipation of more items coming forward that have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In anticipation of being able to convene meetings of Council in-person in the future, or if it is necessary to continue with electronic meetings, additional reports are expected to come forward over the second half of the year. Due to the increase in agenda items, staff are recommending that the Council schedule be amended to accommodate these additional reports in a timely fashion.

Council changed the recommended dates from the staff report to instead add meetings on the following dates:

  • July 20, 2020
  • September 21, 2020
  • October 19, 2020

Other schedule changes would include:

  • Moving the December 7 meeting to December 1
  • Shifting the budget presentations from external organizations from November 24 to November 17
  • Moving a meeting for input from the public on the budget from November 18 to November 16

Digitization of Ontario Works client files

Council endorsed a non-standard procurement to award a $120,910 contract to Nimble Information Strategies for the digitization of Ontario Works client files.

It's anticipated that digitization of the files will reduce costs for paper, printing, filing and staff time.

Ontario Works costs are shared 50/50 between the Province and the Social Services provider - known as the Consolidated Municipal Service Manager. The startup costs for the digitization would be through the City's budget with ongoing monthly costs shared with the Province.

The City typically has about 3,500 ongoing client files to manage along with thousands of closed files.

A recent review of Social Services processes recommended digitization of records for cost savings and efficiencies.

A provincial government competitive procurement process for digitization of files, including for Ontario Disability Support Program, awarded a contract to SpaceSaversCCS Inc., now known as Nimble Information Strategies, in 2015. The Province extended that agreement until December 31, 2023. The City of Toronto was the first Ontario Works office to begin the client file digitization process in 2019 and it used the company that was selected through the Province's procurement process. City staff recommend using the same company for Peterborough due to its experience and compatibility with other Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program offices.

Applying for funding for the Downtown Peterborough (Simcoe Street/Water Street) Flood Mitigation Project

Downtown street aerial view

Council supported applying to the federal government's Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund for $21.6 million toward the $54-million Downtown Peterborough (Simcoe Street/Water Street) Flood Mitigation Project.

If the application is successful, the City's 60% share, which is estimated to be $32.4 million, would come from various sources, such as annual funding through the Flood Reduction Master Plan capital project, the sewer surcharge, and the storm water protection fee.

This wastewater rehabilitation and renewal project will see the installation of 100-year storm pipes and additional catch basins throughout the project area, diverting rainwater from Jackson Creek, roads and properties directly to the Otonabee River during high flows.

The Downtown Peterborough (Simcoe Street / Water Street) Flood Mitigation Project is in a major commercial and residential area, prone to flooding during high rainfall events. The project addresses several priorities to protect the community as outlined in the Flood Reduction Master Plan, the Sanitary Sewer Inflow & Infiltration Master Plan and Climate Adaptation priorities.