March has been a busy month-- so much so that I think the term "March Madness" could better describe municipal politics than college basketball. We have had budget deliberations, an introduction to our draft MPS/LUB (Municipal Planning Strategy/Land Use By-Law), and a Strategic Planning workshop on top of our regular Council meetings and commitments. My brain is full.
Balance also seems be a theme this month. In terms of our budget, we must make it balanced in terms of dollars but also in terms of being fair and reflective of Council's priorities, on which we sometimes have differing opinions. How do we decide where best to allocate these scarce dollar amounts? What are the best investments for the future taxpayers as well as the taxpayers of today?
Another balancing act has come up in our planning documents, and the most controversial so far has been the protection of agricultural land. The discussion has been whether we limit the use of land in agricultural zones to strictly agriculture-- meaning to restrict subdivision of land, building non-farm dwellings, etc., in many areas of the County. I believe in order to support our farmers of today and of tomorrow, we have to protect this land. It is our responsibility to be stewards of our County's future, and one of the most effective tools we have to do this is by creating rules that protect our productive land, and our land with the potential to be farmed. Farmers are thriving. Young farmers are trying to make a go of it. We have to set an example for future Councils and keep these documents designed to protect our current and future productive capacity. In balancing private interests against the future of our County's agriculture industry, for me the balance will always fall toward long-term planning.
Finally, work-life balance is another important balance to be maintained. I'm happy to inform you that with the coming of spring, my little outdoorsman and I have spent lots of time starting seeds, playing in chilly puddles, and pruning our grapevines. Without this balance, I'd hardly be prepared to try and find it in other avenues of my work.