Hall Monitor: Off the Deep End

Kingston City Council Meetings, #ygkcLast night, city council, staff and the public gathered in City Hall for Kingston City Council meeting number 14-2013. The city has published the agenda and addeds online.

The meeting, while facing a full agenda, focused on two main items: the closure of the Oakwood Childcare Centre and the budget change request in Frontenac County which would see one ambulance cut from the Palace Rd station and 4 full time staff members become part time as well as give Fairmount Home the money to redevelop their auditorium. We heard briefings on both and while debate got lively at times, both passed. Oakwood’s vote was settled 8-3, with only Councillors Glover, Hutchison and Neill opposed. So far as the county budget is concerned, as an outside agency, similar to things like the KFL&A or the CRCA, all the city has the power to do with them is give them money, not control its spending. This ended up a point of contention for both major items as most councillors were unimpressed that ambulance service (operated by the county) was to be reduced, and Councillor Downes was not in favour of Fairmount’s plans to build the new auditorium as a space they could let the community use for events. The vote passed – though my tweets seem to be missing the count.

Elsewhere in the agenda, council approved another new pilot for noise exemption for the Power Play Sports facility on Gardiner’s Rd, renamed the outdoor aquatic centre at the Memorial Centre the Scott Aqua Park and asked staff to do the work to plan how to add four major capital projects (The new maintenance facility, the Wellington St expansion, airport expansion and third crossing) to the 2014 budget while maintaining a 2.5% tax increase.

It was a busy night overall, and our full tweet stream is below. Unfortunately, I failed to hit record on my video software, so there’s no recording of the meeting in full. The next meeting will be in chambers on June 4th.

  • 7:15 PM: All set up at City hall for tonight’s meeting! Fighting some audio glitches; may be iffy on the stream. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:15 PM: Our live-tweet coverage begins at 7:30… or so. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:28 PM: Not seeing the councillors in chambers. They’re upstairs at a closed session right now. Looks like we’ll be late. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:35 PM: Council is starting to file in now; we should be under way soon. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:42 PM: Most of council is at their seats; still awaiting @MayorOfKingston and the start of the meeting. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:43 PM: DING DING! 7:43pm start. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:44 PM: We’re going to get a report from the closed session. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:47 PM: We’re opening with a reminder from @MayorOfKingston that it’s Public Works week; open house at the PW bldng this weekend. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:48 PM: A pair of declarations from Coun. Downes for a couple of motions and one from @MayorOfKingston. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:49 PM: More information on the Public Works Open House is at http://t.co/NXkhpFMd70 #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:49 PM: Delegation up now from Kim Greek, Co-Chair, Kingston Frontenac Early Learning & Childcare Network Steering Team. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:50 PM: Stream is live at http://t.co/3K7qIglGvM #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:54 PM: Delegate has asked council to vote in favour of the report; which would close Oakwood Preschool Childcare Centre on Compton St. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:57 PM: Questions from Coun. Glover about wages as well as the hours of operation for facilities. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:59 PM: @JimNeill3 asks about the care for special needs and at risk youth. Oakwood currently provides that type of care. #ygkc ^TV
  • 7:59 PM: Greek says that the network of other sites in the city could handle that type of need. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:01 PM: Coun. Hutchison asks about how this situation arrived; Greek confirm it’s both lack of subsidy money and low enrolment bc/ full day daycare
  • 8:02 PM: Next briefing is from Treasurer Desiree Kennedy regarding Fairmount Home and land ambulance services. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:03 PM: We’re hearing first about Fairmount Home’s operating budget. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:04 PM: Fairmount’s increase request to the city is 2.27%. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:05 PM: Major line item is a reconstruction of their Auditorium. It was built in ’71 and hasn’t been renovated since. Used daily now. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:07 PM: Total cost to rebuild Auditorium: $2.1 million. City not responsible for that full amount. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:11 PM: Coun. Downes asks about how facility rental money helps; gets confirmation funds go to Fairmount, facility to be avail 7 days/wk. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:12 PM: Coun. Downes is questioning the city funding the project because of the appeal as a community facility. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:14 PM: Speaker confirms to Coun. Downes that the facility would be primarily used by residents. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:14 PM: Also confirms to Coun. Scott that the city could use the space for meetings. Or for activities through the Senior’s Ctr. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:19 PM: We’re now going to hear from Paul Charbonneau about paramedic services and the land ambulance budget. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:22 PM: Charbonneau says that they have been working to reduce costs. This includes the reduction of capital. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:23 PM: Yesterday, a 12-hr ambulance from Palace Rd was removed, and 4 full time employees went part time. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:24 PM: In addition to 3 stations, a mobile Response Unit patrols the downtown core to reduce response time in busy areas. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:26 PM: Ambulances move between stations to ensure coverage and cross borders when needed. Closes ambulance always takes the call. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:27 PM: Current standard is to arrive in less than 8 minutes, 65% of the time. Currently meeting that more than 70%.
  • 8:28 PM: Agenda for tonight’s meeting can be found at http://t.co/Go0Wc3xyEk. [cc @ryancrago] #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:34 PM: Charbonneau says there were about 13k calls for service in 2012. Call volume has increased appx 12% over 4 years. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:35 PM: Charbonneau confirms to @MayorOfKingston that staff and ambulance cut at Palace Rd will impact service, but it will be minimal. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:36 PM: Charbonneau tells Coun. Hutchison, though, that there isn’t an estimate for what the service level change would be w/ change. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:38 PM: Ambulance services would save appx $225,000.00 with the Palace Rd change that went into place yesterday. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:41 PM: Coun. Glover, after admitting that utilization models have confused him, asks for a clearer breakdown. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:48 PM: @MayorOfKingston asks the CAO: these services are funded by the city, delivered by the county. Wonders about the reverse. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:49 PM: CAO cites social services: County funds those, decisions are made by the city. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:50 PM: We move to petitions. We hear one from @MayorOfKingston wanting to save Oakwood. Roughly “just over 100” signatures. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:51 PM: We get one motion of congratulations, and one motion of condolence…. And the Mayor wishes a happy birthday to a gallery member. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:52 PM: And we move to report 73; dealing with all except (a) first. We’ll come back to (a) at @JimNeill3’s request. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:53 PM: The bulk carries unanimously. We now talk about naming rights for the outdoor aquatic centre at the Memorial Centre. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:54 PM: @JimNeill3 brings up the option of co-naming the facility with a worthy Kingstonian. Not the first time we’ve heard this argument #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:56 PM: The cost for the naming rights is $60,000.00. Coun. Glover “disagrees” with the sum. Was ruled out of order by @MayorOfKingston. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:57 PM: Passes 9-3, Coun. Glover, Coun. Hutchison, @JimNeill3 opposed. Will now be the Scott Aqua Park for next 5 years. #ygkc ^TV
  • 8:59 PM: We move to a briefing from Comm. Hurdle on the future of Oakwood. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:00 PM: City has 2 current roles: A service manager to ensure community’s needs are met. And a service provider in Oakwood. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:01 PM: Oakwood reg’ns have dropped from 45 in 2010 to 21. Now running a deficit, funded by city reserves. Can’t be sustained that way. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:02 PM: Per diem at Oakwood is appx 80/day. Other centres in the county average 41.91/day. All registrations are subsidized. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:03 PM: Expectations at “best case” are 10-12 children this fall. Would bring a cut to staff if that played out. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:04 PM: Annual cost to run Oakwood is $307k; all options tonight include staff reduction. Opt A shows $95k deficit. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:05 PM: Opt. B is to balance budget. Would increase per diem to $125.00 – fee subsidy then would mean less kids get access. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:06 PM: Option C is to match per-diem; brings deficit closer to 200k. These deficits would be covered by the city’s broader tax base.
  • 9:06 PM: Staff is recc. closing Oakwood to focus on role as service manager instead of service provider. Other cities have done same. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:09 PM: Coun. Glover asks about discussions with nearby schools for services. Target would be Fall 2013 for a facility at Rideau Heights PS….
  • 9:11 PM: Coun. Glover asks about early dropoff and late pickup. Staff says demand would dictate if those programs would run at the schools. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:12 PM: Staff confirms that the RHPS program would be for the pre-school-aged children: 0 – 3.8yrs old. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:15 PM: @JimNeill3 asking about a gap between Oakwood and RHPS. Staff says RHPS could open this fall, meaning no gap. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:16 PM: @JimNeill3 asks if the recommendation would chang if RHPS isn’t ready for this fall. Hurdle says they would work with families. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:19 PM: @DorothyAHector asks about the wait list length for care. Staff says there are 169 children on the list for fee subsidies. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:21 PM: @DorothyAHector simplifies: if Oakwood’s closed would the waitlist be gone? Hurdle says they could serve double the kids. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:23 PM: @MayorOfKingston asks if this recc. would be the same even if tax targets were different. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:23 PM: Hurdle says as a service manager, they still would have. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:24 PM: We move from the briefing and into the motion itself. We start with Coun. Glover, who is “uneasy” with this recommendation. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:26 PM: Coun. Glover says that flexible hours are a big concern. Good jobs don’t always fall between 9am and 5pm. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:27 PM: Coun. Glover says that this motion would not treat the people of the city well. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:28 PM: Coun. Paterson says Oakwood has provided a great service through the years; but times change. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:28 PM: Coun. Paterson says that while Oakwood could innovate, so could other providers, and the city can help them do this. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:31 PM: Coun. Hutchison says Oakwood was there before childcare was taken seriously by gov’t. Oakwood staff are better paid, he says. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:32 PM: Coun. Hutchison: LDSB pays 20+/hr; others pay 16+; Oakwood is 26+. Says it comes down to value of the service. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:34 PM: Coun. Hutchison wants to defer the motion to the Aug 13 meeting so that staff can revise additional options to keep it open. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:41 PM: Motion to defer, after a brief meeting, is on the table. Hurdle confirms Aug would be enough time. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:42 PM: Motion to defer is defeated 8-3. Only in favour are Coun. Glover, Coun. Hutchison, @JimNeill3. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:42 PM: Remember, Coun. Downes is out on conflict. We also have no Coun. Osanic tonight. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:48 PM: @DorothyAHector: This sin’t a decision that should be taken lightly. Says staff has fought hard to not accept downloads. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:48 PM: @DorothyAHector is in favour of the motion since it will mean more childre will be cared for. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:48 PM: Motion carries, 8-3. Coun. Glover, Coun. Hutchison, @JimNeill3 opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:49 PM: Council votes 8-3 to close the Oakwood facility in the fall of 2013. #ygkc ^TV
  • 9:58 PM: We’re dealing with an amendment right now regarding the “land ambulance” wording in the Frontenac County budget item. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:02 PM: @JimNeill3 is supporting the amendment; suggesting the county go back and take a second look. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:06 PM: @MayorOfKingston says he doesn’t like this process: handing money to an agency without getting to choose how it’s sepent #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:08 PM: Coun. Hutchison: You can vote to take out these words, then still vote for the motion. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:15 PM: Coun. Downes, Coun. George, Coun. Glover, Coun. Hutchison, @JimNeill3 were the votes in favour. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:16 PM: Coun. Downes is raising concerns about Fairmount’s plan to redevelop the auditorium. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:20 PM: Coun. Downes says that the city would be being taken advantage of if this becomes a community centre. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:29 PM: @DorothyAHector says she stated a fact: “The mayor knew in advance”; adds that she didn’t say how long. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:30 PM: @MayorOfKingston responds that Hector chose words to suggest he was going to hide things from council. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:46 PM: Motion to extend to end of agenda moved by @JimNeill3 with @DorothyAHector second. @councillorberg, Coun. Glover opposed. Carries. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:48 PM: First clause is regarding an application at 188 Ordinance. Coun. Hutchison asking questions about a different project. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:51 PM: Coun. Glover proposing to remove the paragraph allowing a cellar as a habitation unit. #ygkc ^TV
  • 10:59 PM: Item 2 on the report carries 11-0. As does item 3. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:02 PM: With that, @MayorOfKingston takes the chair back and we move to Report 76 from Heritage. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:02 PM: Heritage passes 12-0; and we move to Report 77 from APC. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:05 PM: Item b, another run at a Power Play Sports noise exemption. Coun. Paterson says the neighbours are in support of this. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:07 PM: Coun. Paterson says that all 4 projects should have been given the same treatment. Right now, one of them is not. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:08 PM: Coun. Downes disagrees with Coun. Paterson. Says that the maintenance facility should be in the 2014 budget. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:19 PM: The first item from this report carries 8-4, @MayorOfKingston, Coun. Paterson, @BrianReitzel and Coun. Scott. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:24 PM: Coun. Hutchison comments that hes upset that the Wellington St item doesn’t say “north” Item carries 11-1. only Hutchison opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:26 PM: We hear a resignation from Heritage Committee, appoint a member to the Nominations committee. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:27 PM: We now have a new motion on the table asking staff for a report evaluating the impact of the Palace Rd ambulance reductions. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:30 PM: The motion will also re-invite the County to bried council on their rationale. A friendly amendment tabled by Coun. George #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:30 PM: Amendment invites the President of OPSEU 462 to brief council on impact as well. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:31 PM: Item carries, 10-2. @MayorOfKingston and Coun. Scott opposed. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:31 PM: Minutes carry; no questions on tabled documents. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:32 PM: Coun. George steps in to speak under Other Business. Says residents have told him that people don’t like behavior in Chambers. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:33 PM: He is “extremely ashamed” of the behavior shown by this council in the last 6-8 months. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:34 PM: Coun. George says it troubles him when he has to come sit through a “gang style war” in Chambers. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:35 PM: Coun. Downes chimes in, too, asks about where the accessible taxi issue is. Wants a public statement or report. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:36 PM: @MayorOfKingston reminds everyone that the first week of June is active transportation week. #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:36 PM: @MayorOfKingston says Coun. Scott is the exception to biking to that meeting. #mayorjokes #ygkc ^TV
  • 11:37 PM: Bylaws all clear. Adjournment carries. We’re done. 11:37pm. #ygkc ^TV

Thanks to reneilet for today’s original photo.

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