City Delegation Attending 2019 AMO Conference

Focus on Municipal Challenges and Planning

Mayor Daniel Reynard and Councillors Mort Goss, Andrew Poirier, and Kirsi Ralko will join about 2,000 participants at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario’s (AMO) Conference in Ottawa from August 18 to 21.

For more than a century, Ontario’s largest municipal conference has brought together municipal, provincial and federal officials to work collectively to overcome municipal challenges and plan for the future.

Ontario’s Premier, Minister of Municipal Affairs, and the three party leaders are featured speakers and several additional provincial ministers will participate in the conference.

The annual conference is a chance for municipal officials to discuss and move forward on shared challenges, to learn, and to create new opportunities that can benefit their communities. In addition to the conference program, municipal officials will take part in municipal delegation meetings with provincial and federal ministries.

The City of Kenora delegation is particularly interested in advocating for such issues as:
• support for Railway Street and Tenth Avenue South reconstruction and improvements project under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP);
• recognizing Highway 17 as a connecting link to be eligible for Connecting Link funding for roads and bridge maintenance; and
• revision to the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) guidelines to include municipal service extensions to support housing developments.

Key session topics include cyber security, cannabis legalization, local economies in transition, changes to the health care system, recycling and the rise of plastics, affordable housing, municipal policing, rural economic development, climate change, addressing social and health problems facing our communities and much more.

Program information is available at www.amo.on.ca.

Conference news releases, fact sheets and presentations from a number of key speakers will be posted on AMO’s website throughout the duration of the conference at http://www.amo.on.ca

AMO is a non-profit organization representing almost all of Ontario’s 444 municipal governments. AMO supports strong and effective municipal government in Ontario and promotes the value of municipal government as a vital and essential component of Ontario and Canada’s political system.

For more information about AMO or the 2019 Conference, contact:
Brian Lambie, AMO Media Contact, 416-729-5425, lambie@redbrick.ca
Follow the conference on Twitter: @AMOPolicy, Hashtag: #AMOConf19

Requests for interviews with Mayor Reynard can be sent to dreynard@kenora.ca.

City Transit Struck By Train

The City transit was struck this morning at approximately 10:00 a.m. by a train at the Government Road intersection in Keewatin.

Thankfully, all passengers on the transit were uninjured and everyone is safe. First Student Canada operates the City Transit through a contract agreement with the City and the driver of the transit was a First Student employee.

The City is working closely with emergency services, First Student, and Canadian Pacific (CP) to ensure the safety of the passengers and will resume transit service as soon as possible.

There are no further details surrounding the incident at this time.

Council Approves 2018 Audited Consolidated Financial Statements for the City of Kenora

On July 16, 2019, Council approved the 2018 Audited Consolidated Financial Statements. The City received an unqualified audit report and is financially stable.

The 2018 Financial Statements continue to reflect the healthy financial position currently enjoyed by the City of Kenora. The City continues to work to improve the current infrastructure deficit while maintaining an appropriate balance between services and property tax rates.

Highlights from the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position include:

  • Cash and temporary investments on hand as at December 31, 2018 totalled $34.6 million;
  • Investment in government business enterprises totalled $10 million;
  • The Kenora Citizens’ Prosperity Trust Fund balance was $32.9 million at the end of 2018 on the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. The Trust Fund in fact has $40.8 million in investments. The difference arises because the City issued debentures to the Trust Fund to finance seven capital projects. The Canadian generally accepted accounting principles dictate that the Trust Fund be consolidated in the City of Kenora’s financial statements. As a result the investment in the Trust Fund and the corresponding debenture debt in the City are eliminated on consolidation. The debenture balance at year end is $7.9 million.
  • This Trust Fund was created in 2008 to safeguard the net proceeds from the sale of the KMTS Entities. The intent was to ensure there would be no impact to property taxes as a result of this sale. In order to offset lost net revenues as a result of the sale of the KMTS Entities, the City requires an annual return of $1.1 million in income from the Trust Fund. Any erosion of the balance of the Trust Fund will result in an additional burden on City taxpayers.
  • The balance of the City’s reserves and reserve funds was $29.1 million at the end of 2018.
  • The City’s accumulated surplus totals $233.5 million, (see tangible capital assets discussion below)

The City is required to include tangible capital assets in its accumulated surplus total. Therefore, the City’s Statements include assets like roads, bridges, water and wastewater networks, and City facilities and equipment to name just a few. The offsetting net investment in these assets is shown as a surplus on the City’s Consolidated Statement of Financial Position. The City’s surplus includes the Tangible Capital Assets recorded at cost less accumulated amortization. At the end of 2018, the investment in capital assets included in the City’s surplus is $161.1 million.

The City is also pleased to present the Consolidated Audited Financial Statements as part of its Annual Report. This Report will be available to the public for viewing along with the Auditors Report on July 17th 2019, both on the City’s website, as well as at the front desk at City Hall and the Library. This Report has been developed to provide users with some additional information about the City in conjunction with the Consolidated Audited Financial Statements.

Charlotte Edie, CPA, CA, Treasurer (807) 467-2013
cedie@kenora.ca

Council Makes Changes to Kenora Non Profit Housing Board Composition

Today, Kenora City Council made changes to the Board Composition of the Kenora Non Profit Housing Board.

Established in 1983, the Kenora Municipal Non Profit Housing Corporation (KMNPHC) provides affordable housing within the former limits of the Town of Kenora. It currently manages a portfolio of 206 living units in 61 separate buildings.

The Province has provided direction to municipalities to review services and business models to identify areas where improvements could be made. The City of Kenora is effectively in a housing crisis, with an estimated shortfall in housing of roughly 10% of the City’s existing housing stock.

The City has a current housing shortage and Council has provided administration direction to explore opportunities to increase the current housing portfolio within the City. Council has determined that opportunities for enabling change may exist within the Kenora Municipal Non Profit Housing Corporation.

City Council will take on the role of the KMNPHC Board for the purposes of receiving a review and the Kenora District Services Board (KDSB), as the Service Manager responsible for Social Housing in Kenora, will perform a review of the Kenora Municipal Non Profit Housing Corporation based on such parameters as deemed appropriate by the KDSB. As part of this process, a determination will be made as to whether or not the current structure and management is in the best interests of the ongoing operations, or if another structure should be considered.

During this Board structure change, and review there will be no change as far as the current operations in any of the 61 buildings that are managed by the Kenora Non Profit Housing Management.

Heather Kasprick, City Clerk/Communications Lead (807) 467-2295
hkasprick@kenora.ca

Downtown Construction Chipman Street up to Second Street

Construction works are progressing well in the next phase of our Downtown Revitalization project.

The contractors are now at a point where an additional road closure will take place. Chipman Street will be closed effective July 10, 2019 from 1st Street South to 2nd Street South. This closure impacts the City transit main depot which will be relocated to Matheson Street South directly in front of the Market Square plaza (Chip Truck area). The parking meter located directly in front will be covered and this will become the City Transit stop for Market Square, temporarily during this closure.

We have covered several meters on Matheson Street to accommodate the traffic flow, and appreciate the public respecting the signage and adhere to those no parking areas which will improve traffic flow in the area. The City has received numerous messages through social media and otherwise suggesting the traffic signals be changed to improve traffic flow. City engineers did review this option prior to the works starting, however, changing the traffic signals is not a straightforward undertaking as changing one set of signals affects pedestrian crossing cycles, and timing of other intersections as Second St and Main St are the primary streets to ensure traffic flow is optimized. Additional wiring would be required to change the signal configuration at the Matheson and Second St S intersection, and the traffic signals are not programmed locally making this option not feasible for the short term traffic challenges.

We thank the public for their continued patience during our construction period. The end result of this project will be a beautiful enhancement to our downtown and the challenges we are facing with traffic flow will be well worth these short term challenges.

Heather Pihulak, City Clerk/Communications Lead (807) 467-2295
hpihulak@kenora.ca

Residents Urged to Attend Local Fireworks Display

To minimize the risk of fire and burn injuries on Canada Day, Kenora Fire and Emergency Services urges residents to attend the fireworks display at the Whitecap Pavilion instead of informal family or neighbourhood displays.

“Tourism Kenora will be hosting a fireworks display on Monday night, with experts who are trained to handle and discharge fireworks safely,” says Fire Chief Todd Skene. “For everyone else, fireworks can be extremely dangerous and costly should something go wrong. For this reason, family fireworks or informal neighbourhood displays are not recommended.”

If you still choose to have your own fireworks display, be aware that you are completely responsible for the cost for Emergency Services to extinguish a fire and other damage caused by detonation of your own fireworks.

Fireworks may be set off on Canada Day in the City of Kenora between 7 pm and 11 pm, as well as on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Victoria Day, Labour Day, and US Independence Day.

Here are some important safety tips to be followed:
• Appoint a responsible person to be in charge. Only adults who are aware of the hazards and essential safety precautions should handle and discharge fireworks.
• Carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging.
• Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.
• Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials like buildings, trees and dry grass.
• Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged.
• Light only one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks. For dud fireworks, it is best to wait 30 minutes and soak them in a bucket of water. Dispose of them in a metal container.
• Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a safety hazard.
• Keep sparklers away from children. Sparklers burn extremely hot and can ignite clothing, cause blindness and result in severe burns. As the sparkler wire remains hot for some minutes after burnout, it should be immediately soaked in water to avoid injury.
• If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for three to five minutes and seek medical attention, if necessary.

For more information on fireworks regulations in the City of Kenora, please contact Fire Station One at 807-467-2090.

Bridge Art Pieces Survey Results

Community Supports Public Display

The City of Kenora is pleased to share the results of the recent bridge art pieces survey which was launched as a follow up to the Community Conversation open house that was held on March 20, 2019.

This survey provided an additional opportunity for the public to share their thoughts about the future placement of the returned art pieces. The survey and the Community Conversation were necessary fact-finding steps to know if there was a desire to explore the future of the art pieces further. Overall, the results have shown support for a permanent display of the figures.

The online survey prompted 554 responses over three weeks, from March 20 to April 10, 2019. The survey asked six specific questions to gauge how people felt about the art pieces, if the pieces should be displayed, and how important the figures are to Kenora’s heritage. The data showed an overwhelming 94% of respondents support having the pieces displayed publically, and 91% of the respondents feel the pieces are significant to our community’s history.

Given the positive feedback, the next steps will involve reviewing the hundreds of comments received in the survey and to arrange further consultation with Indigenous Elders.

We are pleased with the number of respondents and the honesty in the comments received. Having this feedback will guide respectful decision-making as we move forward.

Quick Facts:
• 554 responses
• 54% (296) feel the art pices are an extremely important part of our history and 37% (171) feel the pieces are very important
• 94% (512) feel the art pices should be publically displayed

City Looking for Assistance to Recover Heritage Art Pieces

Heritage Art Pieces Returned Overnight – UPDATED

Council Approves 2019 Tax Rates

Today, May 21, 2019, Council approves the 2019 Tax Rates for the City of Kenora. The 2019 Capital Budget was approved on December 18, 2018 and the Operating Budget on March 19, 2019.

The 2019 assessment resulted in an increase in the residential tax base of 5.2%. Of this, 4.7% related to increased values on existing homes, with the balance of the increase resulting from new construction.

It was acknowledged that there were many budget challenges to overcome in 2019. Council knew it had to make every effort to help reduce the impact of these assessment increases on the average homeowner. Therefore, again in 2019, Council elected to use Revenue Neutral Tax Ratios. This is a tax tool that maintains the tax burden by class, regardless of where the assessments rose the most. This was done to avoid shifting more of the tax burden onto the residential ratepayers. Also in 2019 the Vacant Unit Rebates for any partial vacancies or building portions have been eliminated and the tax reductions for vacant land, units, and excess land have been reduced to 15% for the commercial, and industrial property classes.

Today’s budget represents a 0.9% decrease in the City’s residential municipal tax rate. Because of the change in assessments, some homeowners will see their tax bills increase and some homeowners will see their tax bills decrease.

What does this mean for the average homeowner? For a typical property with no changes (changes such as a new garage or an addition), the assessment rose by 4.7% but the municipal property tax rate decreased by 0.9%. A property worth $171,000 in 2018 would have paid $2,089.63 in municipal taxes. In 2019, this same property, on average, is assessed at $179,500 and will pay $2,173.85 in taxes. This is an $84.22 dollar increase from the prior year. These amounts are for municipal taxes only and do not include the education taxes.

“Development of the 2019 budget was a challenging one for Council and our taxpayers are always at the forefront of views when determining the impacts of establishing the tax rates. Council gave close consideration to all projects and evaluated the necessities of each level of service and strategies. Council will continue to maintain the City’s financial strength through strong fiscal management and grow our community within our strategic vision.” states Mayor Daniel Reynard.

Jon Ranger, Deputy Treasurer
807-467-2010
jranger@kenora.ca

Property Taxes

HotSpot Parking Launches in Kenora

Pay-by-phone parking has come to Kenora. Local residents are now able to benefit from HotSpot Parking’s mobile-based pay-by-phone parking solution.

HotSpot Parking, a Canadian company, officially launched its product in Kenora today. Today’s announcement marks a continuation of the company’s Ontario expansion.

“At HotSpot, we’ve mastered providing commuters in mid-sized cities with convenient, affordable parking solutions from their smartphone,” said Phillip Curley, HotSpot CEO. “We’re very excited about bringing our affordable, high-quality service to the people of Kenora. Our goal is to make an often-confusing parking world a little more navigable – and more affordable!”

Through its pay-for-membership model, HotSpot’s mobile app offers users convenient parking solutions including:

• Remote parking top-ups so users no longer have to run back to the meter;
• Access to all metered parking in Kenora; and
• Consistent service throughout the City.

One of HotSpot’s most popular features is its easy refund for unused parking hours. That means if parkers don’t use all of the time allotted to them, they can be credited for that time and apply it to future parking solutions, making HotSpot a major money-saver.

“We are thrilled to partner with HotSpot to bring their pay-by-phone parking app to Kenora. We encourage residents and visitors to download the app to experience the convenience and benefits of this innovative service,” said Heather Lajeunesse, Enforcement Division Lead for the City of Kenora. “Most of us do everything from our phone, and now parking customers will be able pay electronically and monitor their parking time without returning to their vehicles. While coins are still accepted for parking throughout the City, this option will reduce the number of coins people have to carry around as well as the amount of work it takes to gather and roll coin.”

Curley says HotSpot hopes to bring more innovative products to Kenora residents in the months to come.

 

 

Kenora Fire and Emergency Services Urges Residents to Build 72 Hour Emergency Kit

Emergency Preparedness Week May 5 – 11, 2019

Emergency Preparedness Week May 5 – 11, 2019 is a Canada wide campaign to increase awareness of individual and family preparedness. If a major emergency happens in our community, it may take emergency services some time to reach you. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for a minimum of 72 hours.

The City of Kenora Fire and Emergency Services urges residents of Kenora to know the risks, make a plan, build a 72 Hour Emergency Kit for their home, and sign up for Kenora Alerts. We all need to be prepared.

A basic emergency kit includes:
• WATER – at least two litres of water per person per day; include small bottles that can be carried easily in case of an evacuation order
• FOOD that won’t spoil; such as canned food, energy bars and dried foods (replace food and water once a year)
• manual can-opener
• crank, battery-powered flashlight and extra batteries (replace batteries once a year)
• crank, battery-powered radio and extra batteries or weather radio
• first aid kit and other medical supplies
• extra keys to your car and house
• some cash in smaller bills, such as $10 bills and change for payphones
• a copy of your emergency plan and contact information
• if applicable, other items such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, or food, water and medication for your pets or service animal

For assistance with building an emergency kit, contact Fire Station One at 807-467-2090. Stop by the City of Kenora booth at the Home and Leisure Show May 3 – 5, 2019 for your chance to win a starter 72 Hour Emergency Kit.

Go to Kenora.ca to register for Kenora Alerts to ensure you will be informed if there is an emergency.

 

City Joins the Reconciliation Board of Kenora

City Forms Partnership on Youth Reconciliation
March 19, 2019

Today, the City joins the Reconciliation Board of Kenora that works towards the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action at the local level.

This is a monumental project which develops partnerships between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous individuals in the Kenora area. This council is intended to be a joint venture between the sovereign nations surrounding Kenora, Metis Nation and the City of Kenora.
Councillor Kirsi Ralko and Adam Smith, Development Services Strategist, will join the Board as Kenora representatives to the Local Youth Council of the Youth Committee of Reconciliation. Further, as part of the partnership, the City will be advertising for 12-14 additional community members interested in participating in the Youth Reconciliation in Kenora Phase 1 process – Setting Context with the intent that the number of Non-Indigenous members would parallel the Indigenous Members.

Mayor Reynard is proud of this project which aligns with our Strategic Plan “Focusing on Our People”, including building and strengthening working relations with our Indigenous Partners, together with a commitment to identify opportunities within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations that will further strengthen relationships with our Indigenous Partners are fundamental tenants of the City’s strategic plan. “It is an exciting time in the City and reconciliation with our Indigenous partners and especially our youth will continue to be at the forefront of our progression as a community”, states Mayor Reynard.

Heather Pihulak, City Clerk/Communications Lead
(807) 467-295
hpihulak@kenora.ca

2019 Operating Budget Approved

Council Approves 2019 Operating Budget
March 19, 2019

Today Council approves the 2019 Operating Budget. The 2019 Capital Budget was approved on December 18, 2018. The budget includes a number of critical projects initiated by staff, Council and community input.

As the 2019 draft budget was being prepared, it became very apparent that it would be one of the most challenging budgets in many years for both Council and Administration.

The most frustrating part of this budget is the over $ 650,000 in increases are primarily increases that are beyond our control as they are driven by external organizations. These are things such as our policing costs, social services costs and loss of provincial annualized funding.
The Senior Leadership team met on several occasions to review departmental budgets closely and to search for areas where we could reduce costs to offset the large uncontrollable impacts to the 2019 budget. Any area where administration felt could be reduced was addressed and it still left the draft budget to Council in a significant tax increase position. Council closely reviewed options for further operating cost savings and made difficult decisions to avoid a significant tax increase. This unfortunately meant that service levels and staffing impacts to the organization were directed under very close consideration. They considered all other budget areas, however, these changes were necessary to reduce the deeper impact on the tax increase for 2019.

Some of the more significant impacts the City faced in 2019 included:

  • Loss of Provincial funding of $124K
  • Increased policing costs of $406K
  • Increased requests from other mandated External Organizations totalling $135K
  • Additional Art Centre Operating Costs of $115K

Major capital projects planned for 2019 include:

  • First Street Development ($7.7 million)
  • Coker Bailey Bridge ($1.5 million)
  • Street Lighting Electrical Distribution Upgrade ($.2 million)

Other projects of interest in the 2019 budget include:

  • The Lake of the Woods Art Centre construction is expected to be completed in 2019
  •  The Rotary Splash Park is expected to be completed in 2019
  • With the funds secured, the Pickleball Club expects the court resurfacing to be completed in the summer of 2019.

Overall financial highlights of the approved 2019 budget include:

  • $48.1 million in combined operating, capital, non-capital special projects / unusual spending and reserve appropriations, broken out as follows:
    • $30.6 million in operating expenses;
    • $1.8 million in reserve appropriations;
    • $13.6 million in capital expenses; and
    • $2.1 million in non-capital special projects / unusual spending
  • Combined this represents $26.3 million in net tax levy requirement

Council directed service level reductions and user fee increases to reduce the budget impacts. Some direct impacts include:

  • Elimination of the Fitness Consultant position at the Kenora Recreation Centre
  • Elimination of one By-Law Enforcement Officer position
  • Elimination of two positions at City Hall Customer Service Area
  • City Hall Reception to be moved to an automated answering system
  • Increase of user fees at the Recreation Centre and City Hall
  • Saturday parking to be enforced

“This budget was a particularly difficult one for Council. There were tough decisions that had to be made and finding the balance between meeting the demands and expectations of the public for day to day services and keeping the strategic vision for moving our community forward is always a struggle, especially this budget year. While some service levels are being impacted, we believe that this budget, in conjunction with the strong financial management by City Council and the Senior Leadership Team over recent years, will continue to maintain the City’s financial strength and stability.” states Mayor Daniel Reynard.

Jon Ranger, Deputy Treasurer
(807) 467-2010
jranger@kenora.ca

Finances & Budgets