REPORT CARD – Year 1 progress on election promises

Establish a Municipal Ombudsperson’s Office Pass a sunshine by-law Ongoing Raised the issue of reform in Council in November 2013 – which lead in part to Council voting to have a significant governance review that will consider all of these
issues.  Governance reform debate and voting will likely take place between May and November 2014. Ombud may
not be debated until 2015 or later.
Change charter to allow Clerk’s and Soliciters’s work for council
Campaign Finance Reform
Give  Community Councils have more power and control over local decisions and local spending of existing tax dollars.
Ensure a stronger more adequately staffed Council Office Complete Number of Coordinators has increased, and hiring research staff approved for 2014/15.
Regular and better quality communication from Councillor Complete I am sending two mailed newsletters a year, more regular advertising, monthly email newsletters, participatory budgeting process, website, social media agenda updates daily.  Need to work harder to call people back faster!
Open government, dialog, data Complete
Open data sets are now online.  Culture of HRM is starting to be more open.This will be an ongoing process for some time. * open government is about attitude and vigilence, the work on this file never really ends.
Increasing investment in transit, active transportation and the downtown core  Ongoing My motion resulted in $50 million investement fund for downtown being setup + strategic reserve starting 2014/15.  Voted for increased capital funding for MT for 3 years.  Increased active transportation funding proposed for 2014/15.This budget vote in spring 2014 should confirm this promise is complete.
Provide stable and predictable funding for sports, recreation, arts, culture and parks – arts funding, rink strategy Ongoing My motion resulted in creation of committee to recommend arts funding for 2014/15 budget.  Rink next to Gorsebrook actively considered.Working with staff, public to establish park plan.  Should start to see funding in 2014/15
fiscal year.
Work harder to attract and retain immigrants to our community and ensure that there are meaningful and fulfilling jobs Complete 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. Delayed Neighbourhood plans and the corridor study will be a part of the Centre Plan process that should start in spring 2014.   Small steps like introducing a bedroom limit to the R2A zone, and related policies like licensing small units have already been started.
Transportation vision that does not focus on single occupancy cars. Ongoing The regional plan review proposes that HRM’s top objective be support for “viablealternatives to the single occupant vehicle”.  Policies in chapter will ideally support this vision.  Should be complete by January 2014.
Affordable Housing Strategy Ongoing The Mayor’s office has taken the lead on this file.  Affordable housing will be a component of all density bonusing in the Centre Plan, and HRM has joined the Affordable Housing partnership lead by United Way.Clear affordable housing policy should be in place no later than spring 2015.
Growing HRM without sprawl Ongoing The regional plan review proposes strong development controls in rural and suburban growth that will create “complete communities” that are walkable and mixed use.  The policy still needs strengthening.Completion anticipated January 2014.
HRM needs more ferry service, not less Complete Ferry service was restored, new ferry for Woodside approved, Metro Transit is conducting a five year review.
Public Safety and Crime Ongoing Don Clairmont and his team will complete their review of the Mayor’s Task Force on Violence and Public Safety in winter 2013/14.  The Mayor has been leading this charge.
Our HRM Alliance 7 points:
1. Use green belting to concentrate growth and preserve natural areas and eco-services Ongoing Some form of open space planning is proposed for RP5, there is some debate about whether it is greenbelting or not. Green wedges with open space reserves connecting them is an alternative.   RP5 should be complete in Jan 2014.
2. Invest in the downtown core and growth centres Ongoing As mentioned above, downtown $50 million is underway. Should be in budget 2014/15.
3. Prioritize and increase investment in transit and active transportation Ongoing As discussed above, between RP5’s objectives and the current transit review underway, when added to the
Active Transportation plan coming forward for this budget, all this should be confirmed by Jan/Feb 2014.
4. Adhere to residential growth targets Ongoing It will take time to see if proposed development charges, incentives and planning changes will accelerate urban growth and slow suburban/rural growth.
5. Evaluate development charges to ensure that the municipality is not burdened by growth Ongoing Council has approved requesting the full suite of development charges from the Province.  This will be debated and decided at Council apart from the RP5 process.
6. Protect water resources Ongoing Continuing debate over 20 or 30 metre riperian buffer.  Jan 2014.
7. Commit to measuring successes and deficiencies of actions identified in the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy Ongoing RP5 has a much stronger set of measures, and the citizen committee is pushing for regular updates to council and staff reports being placed in strategic context.  Jan 2014.
Create a program of fiscal restraint – slow tax increases due to assessment. Complete Council voted for no tax increase except for the sidewalk snow removal moving to general rate. 
Establish a policy whereby the average tax increases should never exceed the average increase in citizen’s income. Ongoing Raised during budget discussion this year and last year. No formal policy, but tax raise was less last year, and will likely be less this year.
Engage citizens in meaningful discussion around budget time. Complete Mayor and Council directed staff to develop public consultation process that is taking place this year (2014/15 fiscal year).
Ensure that “deferred maintenance” stops and ensure that we maintain our buildings, bridges and roads today  Ongoing This budget year will show if adequate resources are set aside to maintain existing infrastructure, from Saint Mary’s Boat Club to the fence around the Public Gardens.
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 will help solidify some of this with the Transit Service boundary and other similar service area issues.  (Jan 2014).  I have been working with my rural colleagues around getting research and benchmarks for HRM services and competitiveness in rural areas, something HRM has not yet done.
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 commecial 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.
Promises made: 30
Promises completed year 1: 5
Promises started year 1: 24
Promises delayed: 1
Goal for end of year 2 – promises kept: 17 of 30

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