Proven Results

PROVEN RESULTS: REPORT CARD 2016

I made 30 commitments during the 2012 election, and I have provided yearly report cards to residents about my progress.

As of May 2016, 22 commitments have been completed, and eight are underway and on going.

FIX COUNCIL:

   
PROMISE STATUS DETAILS
Establish a Municipal Ombudsperson’s Office Pass a sunshine by-law Complete The provincial Office of the Ombudsman provides these services. Motion made to better coordinate and publicize this service to residents who are disastisifed with application and results of an HRM process. This will help make Council more responsive and accountable.
Change charter to allow Clerk’s and Soliciters’s work for council Ongoing The Clerk’s Office and relationship with Legal has been strengthend and roles clarified. Work remains to be done to ensure independent legal advice for Council when required.
Give  Community Councils have more power and control over local decisions and local spending of existing tax dollars. For the forth year community councils are being used during the budget process to solicit community input. The standing committee system and the budget process have adequately addressed the governance issues.
Campaign Finance Reform Complete The Legislature is about to pass Bill 154, and HRM has started the process of drafting a bylaw. While this may not be in place in time for the 2016 election, it will be in place for 2020.
Ensure a stronger more adequately staffed Council Office Complete (2013) Number of Coordinators has increased, and hiring research staff completed, as well as a new intern position shared with the Mayor’s Office.
Regular and better quality communication from Councillor Complete (2013) I publish my calendar on my website, update residents about my agenda daily on social media. I also send a monthly enewsletter and publish two direct mailed newsletters a year. I will have sent an estimated 32304 emails, returned 2556 voice mail messages, and attended 3227 meetings and events during my four year term!
Open government, dialog, data Complete (2013) New Administrative Order makes open data and transparency the norm. HRM accepts that there is little reason to hold data for cash.   Many new data sets already available in 2014, read more here http://www.thecoast.ca/RealityBites/archives/2014/08/05/halifax-wants-an-open-data-relationship

GROW SUSTAINABLY

   
PROMISE STATUS DETAILS
Increasing investment in transit, active transportation and the downtown core Complete Streetcaping approved or Spring Garden and Argyle. Major investment in Discovery Centre. Major refurbishment of Barrington Street. Lighting and paving upgrades on Spring Garden in 2016/17. Cornwallis Park and Grand Parade in the midst of major refits. Improvements to Public Gardens and Victoria Park.
Provide stable and predictable funding for sports, recreation, arts, culture and parks – arts funding, rink strategy Complete Arts funding is in place. Recreation review is underway. Rink and recreation funding strategy approved in principle Council. New reorganization of the city departments recreates Parks & Rec department.
Work harder to attract and retain immigrants to our community and ensure that there are meaningful and fulfilling jobs Complete (2013) Council voted to establish Local Immigration Partnership, funding staff positions to support immigration.  Mayor lead process to create internships at HRM and encourage private sector to do same.  Job creation will never be “complete” though!
A sensible approach to neighbourhood planning / sensible approach to development. Ongoing The Centre Plan will provide the protection we demand for our neighbourhoods.
Transportation vision that does not focus on single occupancy cars. Complete The regional plan adopted by council now states that HRM’s top objective be support for “viable alternatives to the single occupant vehicle”.
Affordable Housing Strategy Ongoing The Affordable Housing needs assessment is complete. Affordable targets complete. Policy in development to support targets.
Growing HRM without sprawl Complete The regional plan contains strong development controls in rural and suburban growth that will create “complete communities” that are walkable and mixed use. In principle this is complete, though Council will have to “walk the walk” and act on and defend this plan.
HRM needs more ferry service, not less Complete (2013) Ferry service was restored, new ferry for Woodside approved, Metro Transit is conducting a five year review.
Public Safety and Crime Complete The Clairmont Report was adopted by Council and the Public Safety Office moved out of the police and into the CAOs office, among many other recommendations. This is a huge step.
Our HRM Alliance 7 points:
1. Use green belting to concentrate growth and preserve natural areas and eco-services Complete Regional Plan requires a Green Belting Priorities Plan be created. This work will start 2015.
2. Invest in the downtown core and growth centres Complete As mentioned above, downtown $50 million was put into budget for 2013/14.
3. Prioritize and increase investment in transit and active transportation Ongoing Transit budget was increased, capital plan acted on, active transportation spending has increased, several major projects planned for the next two years, including Brunswick, South Park, and University/Morris.
4. Adhere to residential growth targets Complete 35% of building permits were granted in the Urban Core in 15/16. Urban core growth has grown in the cumulative percentage since the 2006 plan was adopted from 14% in 2012 to 20% in 2016.
5. Evaluate development charges to ensure that the municipality is not burdened by growth Complete Council has focused on Greenfield or new suburb charges, which should be considered for adoption in 2015.
6. Protect water resources Complete Council did not increase the riperan buffer in RP5 though other measures are included RP5 to protect water resources.
7. Commit to measuring successes and deficiencies of actions identified in the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy Complete RP5 has a much stronger set of measures, and staff must provide annual updates to Council.

SPEND SMARTER

   
PROMISE STATUS DETAILS
Create a program of fiscal restraint – slow tax increases due to assessment. Complete Tax rate decreased and per household average tax stayed level for the second year in a row.
Establish a policy whereby the average tax increases should never exceed the average increase in citizen’s income. Complete Raised during budget discussion this year and last year. Unlikely to become a firm policy, but practically in effect due to restraint so far on tax level.   Tax rate is dropping, average tax is not growing as fast as income.
Engage citizens in meaningful discussion around budget time. Complete (2013) Public consultation at Community Councils and at the end of each budget meeting, written submissions and the website buget calculator.
Ensure that “deferred maintenance” stops and ensure that we maintain our buildings, bridges and roads today Ongoing Most projects now factor in total lifecycle costs. An ambition Enterprise Asset Management system, combined with a Pavement Management Program, will give us a clear picture of maintenance needs and gaps by 17/18.
Recognize that money is only saved through efficiency if the services its funds don’t suffer as a result of imposed efficacies. Ongoing This will never be complete, as a councillor I have to use this lens to assess every proposal.
Recognize that urban and suburban areas will receive different and higher service levels than the rural (County) parts of HRM, while ensuring rural HRM receives service at a high a level as any other rural part of Nova Scotia. Ongoing The regional plan solidified some of this with the Transit Service boundary and other similar service area issues. Work continues to identify service standards for rural areas.
Tax Fairness – residential tax structure that supports dense growth, commecial tax that is competative, assessment spikes eased Ongoing HRM Council has asked the Province to let HRM average commercial assessment over three years, to slow spikes in tax increases.  Council has debated and passed a new tax framework for assessing our future tax structure. Condo taxes may be addressed in the Charter review – HRM does not currently have the ability to tax condo owners differently than others residential units. Council voted for commercial tax reform, but this requires provincial legislative change that has not yet been granted.
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