A few have been asking me about the presentation from Chief Cobey to the Guelph Police Board on the 2020 Police Budget Proposal. So I’ve posted it here:

Budget presentation Sept 19-2019

Thank you,

Cam

booksale

25 September 2019 – Donations are now being accepted for the Friends of the Guelph Public Library’s 13th Annual Book Sale, which will be held October 25-27. The organization is looking for books, videos, DVDs, blu-rays, CDs, vinyl, sheet music, games and puzzles to sell. All proceeds will go towards the Guelph Public Library.

“Donations are a big part of the sale and our volunteers are already working hard to sort and organize the donations we have so far,” commented Virginia Gillham, Chair of the Friends of the Guelph Public Library (FGPL). “Not only do our volunteers thoroughly enjoy opening a box to see what treasures are inside, but so do our customers. Now is a perfect time to go through bookshelves, boxes and storage to make a very rewarding donation! We’re always amazed by the community support demonstrated by the many donations we receive.”

Donations can be made at the site, 69 Huron Street in Guelph, Monday to Saturday 2pm-5pm, or any Guelph Public Library during regular hours until October 8. The location will be closed Sundays and Holidays leading up to the sale. For more information visit fgpl.ca.

About FGPL
The Friends of the Guelph Public Library is an arms-length organization whose mandate is to support the Guelph Public Library. The annual book sale is the major fundraising activity for the FGPL. Income from the sale and other events over the course of each year are used to support various library activities. In 2014, FGPL made the inaugural gift of $10,000 for a Library Endowment Fund. Also, in 2016 the FGPL helped to support the new bookmobile. Most of the funds raised are invested and accrued toward a major gift to the Library in support of the planned new main library building. That sum is now more than $745,000.

The book sale has been an annual autumn event since 2007. The first sale was held in Old Quebec Street Mall. It lasted just one day and offered fewer than 20,000 books with a gross amount of $10,000 at the end of the day. Since then, each sale has been increasingly larger and more complex, but it has continually earned more funding and attracted more customers every year.

For more information contact:
Virginia Gillham
Chair of the Friends of the Guelph Public Library
Email: friendsguelphlibrary@gmail.com

welcoming

Have you been wondering what Guelph’s “Welcoming Streets” initiative is all about? Click here to watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2OWIktpd9g

future

Guelph. Future ready.

City’s Strategic Plan is set and ready to go

Guelph, Ont., September 23, 2019 – This evening Guelph City Council approved the City’s Strategic Plan: Guelph. Future ready. Built with the Guelph’s Community Plan in mind, the City’s Strategic Plan reflects the aspirations of Council, staff and the community, and will drive us towards a more sustainable future. 

The City strives to create an inclusive, connected, prosperous city where we look after each other and our environment. This vision is within reach. With the Strategic Plan as a guiding document, Council, staff and the community will accelerate Guelph’s innovation economy, mitigate climate change, improve local transportation, develop long-term financial plans and help increase the availability of housing.

“The Strategic Plan is the product of a collaborative effort between Council and staff and it reflects the community’s vision for Guelph,” says Mayor Cam Guthrie. “This is our road map to building the future we want in our city.”

By aligning the Strategic Plan to the community’s vision, the City has ensured the decisions of today will meet the community’s needs now and will prepare Guelph for the future.

“This Plan also signals a new way of doing business,” says Scott Stewart, Chief Administrative Officer.  “Over the coming months we’ll be aligning our work plans, multi-year budget and annual performance reports to the Strategic Plan to help Council in their decision-making role. There is a lot of work for us to do, and together we will achieve it.”

Council and staff, with input from stakeholders, will to develop action plans over the coming months that will enhance Guelph’s future readiness by focusing on areas such as the economy, environment and our social well-being.  

Strategic Plan at a glance

Our vision

An inclusive, connected, prosperous city where we look after each other and our environment.

Our mission

Working together to deliver responsible and responsive public service to Guelph’s growing and diverse community.

Our priorities

Powering our future through growing our economy

Sustaining our future by sustaining our environment

Navigating our future through a connected transportation network

Working together for our future by modernizing our government, and 

Building our future as a welcoming and complete community

What’s next?

The City will create a set of five integrated action plans—one for each strategic priority—comprised of options to achieve specific goals.

The proposed plans will be presented to Council in Q2, 2020 and will become the comprehensive blueprint for the first multi-year budget.

The City’s Strategic Plan can be found on guelph.ca/strategicplan.

***UPDATE AT END OF ORIGINAL POST***

One of my favourite movies is the Christmas cult classic National Lampoons Christmas Vacation starring Chevy Chase who plays Clark Griswald, the fun family man who tries to make everyone happy throughout the Christmas Season.

This movie immediately came to mind when I received the latest report on revised plans and costs of building a new downtown library, to the tune of $67,000,000. To accomplish this, a city-wide increase to the tax levy is required, and once open it could result in further increased property taxes just to operate it.

So what does Clark Griswald have to do with Guelph’s potential $67 million dollar downtown library project?

Clark decides that he wants to surprise his family by installing an in-ground pool as soon as possible. It’s expensive but Clark isn’t worried. He’s 100% certain that his boss is going to send him his annual Christmas bonus which will cover the costs.

But (spoiler alert), the sure-thing Christmas bonus doesn’t arrive and mayhem ensues. Clark is a mess and doesn’t know how he’s going to afford the pool because he’s already committed to installing it by writing a personal cheque without enough funds in his bank account to cover it.

Thank goodness his wacky cousin Eddie sneaks off, kidnaps Clark’s boss and forces him to give the bonus after all! It truly was a Christmas miracle.

The report asking for $67 million on Monday is similar to Clark Griswald trying to install his pool without all the funds or information to do it.

It’s true, the upper levels of government have recently opened up applications for infrastructure funding that will allow Guelph to apply for our own Christmas Bonus which (fingers crossed) will perhaps cover some costs.

Yet we have a Federal election on October 21st, and we don’t know what the results will be, or what direction a potential party might take on these grants. They might keep them, they might scrap them. Who knows? On top of that, the Provincial Government still hasn’t nailed down the replacement of the removed development charges and informed municipalities of how this new funding would work for projects like the downtown library. Furthermore, we’re discussing this without the entire context of our completed 2020 capital budget and the 10 year capital forecast for all projects across our city.

We don’t have a Cousin Eddie that can run out before Council’s Monday night meeting and kidnap whoever they can to force them to write us a cheque that night.

Let me be clear, I fully acknowledge the current downtown branch is inadequate. A new library should be built, and on Baker Street.

But I’ll be direct and to the point here: We shouldn’t be making a $67 million dollar budget decision on a library this coming Monday.

Inevitably there will be those that want us to make that decision. Their resolve to building a new downtown library is their passion, and I respect that. They always delegate to the matter and continuously write letters to the media trying to push their case. That’s their right and I welcome those that are being respectful throughout this dialogue. Yet I believe some in the “build it now at all costs” camp don’t empathize with the thousands of people that are living paycheque to paycheque just trying to keep their head above water to support themselves and their family in this city.

I look forward to the discussion with my council colleagues, staff and the public. But in my opinion, Council should refer this decision to a future date where we have further clarity and a better level of comfort on the unknowns we currently have today.

Before the kidnapping of his boss, Clark technically does receive his Christmas bonus. He slowly opens the envelope in front of his entire family, hoping for the big cheque, but instead he receive’s a one year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club.

I am honoured to have your trust to oversee the finances and direction of this city while stewarding the taxpayers hard earned money. I didn’t run for Mayor to settle on a Jelly of the Month Club membership. I’m here to do things with excellence, armed with the right information and to implement projects at the right time while minimizing risk to your money.

This coming Monday is not the right time to make a decision for a $67 million Library, and I feel confident that the silent majority in this city agrees with me.

Thank you,

Cam Guthrie

Mayor- City of Guelph

***UPDATE***

When I mentioned above that we should have this discussion at a future date, I should have been more clear about defining what “future” meant. All I’m asking for is about a 7-8 week pause. By that time (roughly first week of November) many touch points that will bring more comfort to this decision will have passed. Some have read my post above and immediately jumped to a conclusion that I am wishing for this to be delayed another year or more. This is not the case. Especially when the deadline for the application for upper level government funding needs to be submitted before Nov 12th.