City Matters – May 14, 2020 Issue
Kingston's Recognition Statement provides the guiding motto for City Matters: "Let us bring our good minds and hearts together."
Special Meeting of Council to discuss impacts of pandemic on City priorities
There will be a Special Meeting of Council at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20 to review and discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City’s strategic priorities and actions being pursued to achieve savings. See the meeting agenda and plan to tune in to the live-stream of this virtual meeting.
Kingston's COVID-19 Business Response/Recovery Plan
At its May 5 meeting, Kingston's City Council received the Kingston Economic Development Corporation's (Kingston EcDev) Business Recovery Plan to help the local economy bounce back (or better!) from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kingston EcDev's 28-page plan, attached to the Council report presenting it, outlines a framework to prepare Kingston, on a sector-by-sector basis in stages following Provincial orders and direction from KFL&A Public Health.
Kingston EcDev's plan outlines objectives and its three-pronged approach to reach them by coordinating with KFL&A Public Health, mobilizing assets in the community and increasing program awareness by conducting outreach. It offers a timeline – without dates – outlining three phases for business recovery:
- Phase 1 – Provincial Declaration State of Emergency
- Phase 2 – Reopening through 12 months
- Phase 3 – Medium- to Long-Term Recovering
The plan then outlines the specific strategies and actions KEDCO will pursue on a per-phase basis, with emphasis on:
- A "Team Kingston" approach to building collaboration.
- Keeping local dollars in Kingston. This will include a "Love Kingston" campaign.
- Encouraging businesses to "Go Digital" and publicizing Kingston's "Digital Main Street."
- Connecting workplaces and workers with appropriate available supports available in the community and from all levels of government.
City Outlines Support For Kingston EcDev's Business Recovery Plan
"This plan seeks to help ease the hardships being felt by so many in the community, but is also a plan that will align with the development of the new economic development strategy for the community," reads the Report to Council from Lanie Hurdle, the City's CAO, presenting Kingston EcDev's plan.
In addition to reflecting the advice and direction and support from KFL&A Public Health and the Province, the plan to support business recovery must also help to inform the work of the Mayor's Kingston Economic Recovery Team to develop strategies and initiatives that guide policy to support local economic recovery.
The City's Report to Council on Kingston EcDev's Business Response/Recovery Plan shows how it will align its internal economic support resources to complement and support the economic recovery of the community with these efforts:
- Downtown Community Improvement Plans. A review of these is already underway and will engage downtown and tourism stakeholders with an eye to providing specific supports to downtown Kingston, one of the areas most impacted by the pandemic.
- Applying for funding. Staff is already developing funding applications to other levels of government to support local response to the pandemic.
- Mobilizing the Workforce Development Working Groups. The devastating impact of COVID-19 on local employment is being addressed by seven Workforce Development Working Groups, with more than 80 community volunteers from more than 40 organizations, and supported by the City-led Implementation Office. The groups will re-frame current efforts to reflect needs.
- Collaborating to connect job seekers with in-demand jobs. The City will work with with community, post-secondary and regional partners to develop a technological solution/platform to connect jobseekers with in-demand jobs as the economy reopens.
- Developing an aggregate job navigation portal. The City will partner with KEYS Job Centre to add a new aggregated job navigation portal to the Possible Made Here talent attraction site.
See Kingston EcDev's Business Response/Recovery Plan and the Report to Council presenting it.
City to defer final property tax billing
In recognition of the financial hardship many are suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is deferring the 2020 final property tax billing, normally due on the last business day of June.
"The City is reviewing alternate timelines for the final billing. We are also looking at opportunities for tax relief strategies that will provide payment deferral relief to property owners who are experiencing financial hardship directly related to the COVID-19," says Jeff Walker, Manager, Taxation & Revenue.
Additional information on both the alternate timeline for final billing, and tax relief strategies, will be communicated to residents, once available.
"The City recognizes this is a difficult time for many of our residents and deferred billing is intended to provide some breathing room," says Walker.
Concerned about paying your property tax bill? Taxpayers are encouraged to join the City's pre-authorized payment plan (PAP) or call the City at 613-546-0000 to discuss payment options and financial assistance programs.
Property taxes ensure that the City can continue to provide essential services. While the City's Payment Centre locations remain closed, residents are encouraged to make payments using one of the following means:
- Through online banking.
- Through your financial institution.
- Using our drop boxes at 1211 John Counter Blvd. or at City Hall's Market Street entrance.
- For taxation or other payments by mail, send a cheque to: City of Kingston – Taxation PO Box 640, Kingston, ON, K7L 4X1.
Protect Your Collector
Waste collectors are on the frontline of the pandemic and handle thousands of garbage bags, Green Bins and recycling boxes each week. Take a minute to see how to sort your waste to help protect them.
How should the City engage you on its efforts during COVID-19?
Kingston wins when you engage! But the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a curveball in the City's plans to gather input on its efforts this year.
"Are residents ready for us to engage them on subjects beyond the pandemic? If so, how can we best do that given that in-person engagements such as open houses, workshop and appearances at community events aren't an option at the moment," says Debbi Miller, Manager, Communications and Public Engagement.
To help Council decide how the City should engage residents in 2020, the City is seeking input at GetInvolved.CityofKingston.ca until May 22. A brief survey on that page asks about engagement in general – and also about the possible use of specific technologies. Residents may also offer their ideas for communicating with them during COVID-19 on this site.
The City has not held an in-person engagement since mid-March, but has a number of projects that were scheduled for engagement and City staff will be providing a recommendation on how to replace in-person engagement during this time. The results of this survey will inform a Report to Council on this subject in June.
This is not the first time the City has engaged on engagement! "Great engagement results in better decisions. The City is deeply committed to engaging residents as part of its decision-making process. More than 100 City employees have had International Association of Public Participation foundations training and the Communications and Public Engagement team supports the City's many departments as they engage on their efforts," says Miller.
In 2019 the City of Kingston was named the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Canada's Organization of the Year, in recognition of its work to produce, implement and support its Public Engagement Framework.
Spring clean-up: Working to keep Kingston beautiful!
The City's Public Works team is working to keep Kingston beautiful by picking up litter and debris in parks, along trails and in public spaces. Clean-up efforts will take longer than usual this year as crews must practice extra safety precautions to protect themselves and others due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Safety is our number one priority and this year it's more important than ever. We want to ensure our crews are protected while working to keep our city safe and beautiful for everyone to enjoy," says Bill Linnen, Director, Public Works. "Kingston has over 200 parks and over 40 kilometres of trails to maintain, so work will take some time. If you notice an area that needs attention, let us know and our crews will get to it."
- Notice a public place in need of some TLC? Let the City's Public Works team know.
- Notice private property that could use cleaning up? The standard of cleanliness for private property is regulated by City bylaws. Contact the Bylaw Enforcement Officer for your area by clicking on the map on the bottom of the Bylaw Enforcement page or call 613-546-0000.
Healthy at Home
Shane Stillwell, Fitness and Wellness Program Coordinator, offers you tips on how to your improve muscular endurance at home. Find this and other City Healthy at Home fitness and wellness videos on the City of Kingston's YouTube channel.
The opening of the Collecting Histories exhibition at the PumpHouse – exploring the role objects and artifacts play in engaging us in local history – is delayed due to the pandemic. But this is an historic moment with many stories that demand to be shared! So Collecting Histories has launched online to let you explore, and participate in, history as it is being written. Make history at Get Involved Kingston! Visit the site to tell us about objects you collect, what you would put in a time capsule right now and learn about the City's Civic Collection.
LoveKingston.ca makes it easier to quickly find local options for restaurants, goods and services. Listings include details on how a business is serving clients during COVID-19. This initiative is brought to you by Kingston Economic Development in partnership with the City, Downtown Kingston, Tourism Kingston, Chamber of Commerce and Kingston Accommodation Partners.
Together At Home
Share your stay-at-home stories and activities and find community resources on this Get Involved Kingston page. Find out about the Neighbour-to-Neighbour and Success by 6 programs, local grants for COVID-19 response efforts and resources for seniors, free guided meditation sessions and more!
City Special Events
Victoria Day celebrations and fireworks have been cancelled – but the City is planning to have virtual activities for Canada Day. Stay tuned to our Special Events page for details.