As we move into budget season, Council has been tackling several issues worthy of update.
Plastic Bags: After a resolution was passed by the Valley Waste Resource Management Board supporting a ban on plastic bags and other single use products, our Council passed a motion to also support exploring this issue. Personally, my 2018 resolution is to avoid disposable coffee cups and plastic bags at the grocery store. While I haven't been perfect, it is something I am very conscious of, and I am happy that our Council is taking a position on this problem and actively supporting looking for solutions.
For more information on the recycling situation in NS, read here: www.annapoliscountyspectator.ca/news/local/vwrm-supports-plastic-shopping-bag-ban-as-stockpiles-at-scotia-recycling-facility-grow-186875/
We are Hiring: After hiring a new CAO in September, we have done some juggling in the organization and recognize the need for added support to this position. The closing date to apply for Deputy Chief Administrative Officer is March 28th. We are also searching for someone to fill our Diversity and Communications role. For more information about either of these jobs contact firstname.lastname@example.org
New Website: At February COTW I asked staff where we are at in terms of a new website, something that has been discussed since I was elected in late 2016 but I have never seen any action on. Staff quickly responded and at March Council a demonstration of our new website was revealed. It is still being loaded with content, and should become live by late spring. I will be very happy to see the old website retired.
Budget: We are rather short staffed in the Finance Department and playing catch up with a few items from last year. Staff have expressed regret that things aren't moving as quickly as they should, however they are working overtime to bring things "to balance". New budget dates will be set at the March 19th Budget and Finance Committee, but for now there has been no public budget presentation, nor has there been a date set.
Kings Youth Council: The KYC is a body of 10 youth from Kings County (as well as Councillor Hodges and I) who were selected to advise Council of things youth-related in the County and ensure all of Council's decisions are considered from a youth perspective. We have had several meetings, including one at the axe-throwing facility in Kentville, and the rest of our Council was able to meet this group at the March Council meeting. They were formally introduced and watched part of our meeting, after which they retreated for their own business. They are a highly motivated group led by co-chairs Tom Dalmazzi and Hannah Dawson-Murphy, two excellent youth representatives in this County.
District 7: After planning a series of three Open Houses in February, my plans were thwarted by a terrible flu and I only was able to hold one public information session. It was held in Windermere on February 19th and the residents there very thoughtfully threw me a baby shower, for which I am incredibly grateful. While there was some fun and entertainment, we did get down to business as well and a very engaging discussion ensued about some of the issues facing communities. Roads (Hall Rd in particular) was a popular topic, as well as senior care and the doctor shortage in the province. There is a great deal of concern and worry that we are failing people in the later years of their life- from the lack of hospice services to downloading care responsibilities to spouses who are ill-equipped to fall into the role of nurse. Many of the issues discussed were not specific to municipal services, however it was a good opportunity for me to learn what is on the minds of citizens so I am able to relay these thoughts to my provincial counterparts. Thanks to all who attended.
Maternity: For those wondering, I am due to have my second child on March 18th, and will be taking a leave from some of my Council duties. For the months of April and May I plan only to attend Council and COTW meetings (perhaps budget, if possible), and the rest of my committee work is being covered by my colleagues on Council. I will still be available to constituents by phone and email but will be delegating responses to staff and other Councillors. I will be reassessing my workload in June. I am thankful for a supportive Council as we transition into a family of four!
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