By John Swartz
Orillia council’s committee meeting begins at 2 p.m. Monday with 5 items on the agenda.
The Farmers’ Market has a budget update for council and things don’t look so good. They are projecting rental revenue will be lower than budgeted. Revenues have dropped from $39,911 in 2016 to an expected $21,627 in 2019. The original 2019 budget was for revenue of $33,021.
Market management has rejigged the operating budget to reduce expenses but will still have a deficit of $6,781. The report suggests council has an option to use remaining funds in the market reserve and $6,230 from the operating contingency reserve to cover anticipated losses.
The City’s affordable housing committee has a lengthy report regarding available options to help affordable housing developments. Ontario’s new housing act will require municipalities to defer development charges for 5 years on rental housing and 20 years for not-for-profit housing. Orillia has also utilized a property tax holiday for a number of projects in the past few years.
The committee is asking for council to re-establish the tax holiday program for affordable housing (which ended in 2013) for either 10 or 20 terms. The committee also wants council to refer to budget the establishment of an affordable housing reserve.
Next, the City’s common elements condominium working group was established to investigate taxation issues and the committee is asking council to expand the scope of their work.
Aside from developing criteria regarding information condo buyers should be told up front and municipal standards requiring developers to turn over documents to buyers, they also want to investigate what is required for the City to take over responsibility for road and sidewalk maintenance, street lights, storm water management, signs, water and sewer infrastructure and pumping stations within condo developments which are currently the responsibility of condo owners.
The committee was established because of issues condo owners have of being taxed the same as other types of residential developments, but not receiving the same service. The local condo owners group maintains, despite legal advice, many of the things which have become issues were not brought to light at time of purchase.
Staff are asking permission from council to have the Cedar Island storm water pumping station be upgraded to a specific scope of work within the storm water master plan update. Council has previously asked for a report about what to do regarding flooding in the area.
The pumping station was built in 2009 when Davey Drive was reconstructed. The height of the road was raised above flood levels, but the ditching and storm sewers were not upgraded. Higher levels on Lake Couchiching and more frequent storms and winter runoff are causing issues. Also pipes coming and going to the station are at shallow depths or above ground and there is a risk of freezing the pumps, so they are turned off during the winter.
Staff indicate flooding issues are not so much the pumping station itself but the pathways for storm water to get to the sewer system and the fact the area it serves is at or below water levels; more frequent and higher levels of precipitation also contribute significantly to flooding issues.
There is no cost associated with increasing consulting fees, though staff say including this in the study already underway will be cheaper than starting a new project and hiring consultants on a standalone basis.
Development services and engineering have a report outlining road improvements in the downtown core. The prime consideration is understand timelines for existing projects, Front Street and Centennial Drive, and how they affect the desire to reconstruct Mississaga and cross streets, and the as yet located or designed transit hub. The latter has approval for $5.4 million of funding (which includes a terminal and new buses and shelters) from the province and the federal government is expected to announce their share of funding to match.
The Mississaga Street project is estimated to cost $18 million and will be spread out over 4 phases which may start in 2024. A transit terminal needs to be done before redevelopment of Mississaga and West Streets can start. The budget for a terminal is estimated to be approximately $10 million of which the provincial funding (above) accounts for $3.7 million.
There will be a closed session meeting before the public committee meeting at 2 p.m. They will discuss an Occupational Health and Safety legal matter and one relating to a personnel issue. They also have an item to discuss a road and servicing item.