Fun with big bubbles
If town council members were students facing their parents they would likely receive a nice pat on the head but no raise in their allowance.
Council members received their first report card on June 12 at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on how they were doing in completing the tasks outlined in the 2010-2013 Strategic Plan. And the marks were mixed.
Roy Brown, the town’s chief administrative officer, delivered administration’s assessment. It was the first report card given by administration for the strategic plan, which is being driven by a vision of moving the town progressively into the future by enhancing its community and quality of life while respecting the municipality’s rich history.
The CAO gave council an A grade for corporate accountability and a B+ for its communications with community partners.
“Council has done a very good job,” said Brown of council’s corporate accountability performance.
However, Brown was less impressed with council’s performance on encouraging economic development and fiscal accountability, and the tasks assigned for building the community. In both areas he gave a C- mark.
“There are a lot of things that are incomplete,” said Brown.
In the area of encouraging economic development, he noted council has not finished its evaluation of the town’s fiscal position, including an analysis of the tax base, user fees, government transfers and levies. He also noted a proposed Transportation Master Plan was incomplete.
In the Building Community area, Brown said several areas were incomplete, including enhancement of the town’s cemetery, parks and open spaces, redevelopment of lands adjoining the railway tracks along 19th and 20th streets, reconstruction of the south portion of 20th Street to 15th Avenue with heritage lighting standards and sidewalk enhancements, and the development and implementation of a Come Home campaign that focuses on encouraging people to return to the community.
Although Brown outlined several shortcomings, Mayor Brian Wittal said he felt the overall assessment was fair.
“With the Cs, there are a lot of things we are working on. If I was back at school I would argue that grade with the teacher a little bit, thinking we are doing better than that,” said Wittal. “We are not that far away from getting to the end of a lot of these things. Maybe we should be a little higher.”
Nevertheless, the mayor said administration’s report card will inspire council to “push” on the areas that need work, with a goal of earning an A or better score in future report cards.
He told council that some things are better left for the far future, such as the Transportation Master Plan. Wittal said the town has higher priorities, such as the ongoing development of Shantz Crossing.
“I think it should go on the shelf,” Wittal said of the transportation plan. “I don’t think right now that visioning for a 25-year plan, which roads are going to be our primary and secondary, is not right now as important to spend time and money for our staff as it is for Shantz, Bethany Care or these other projects that are going to take off.”
Meanwhile the next administrative report card is expected to be presented in September. Wittal said at that time council will have a better idea on what needs to be pushed forward into the new year.
“They could have budget implications in order to complete some of these things,” said the mayor. “If we decide not to do that (Transportation Master Plan) then we don’t have to worry about budgeting for it and we can take that off the list and maybe leave it to the new council in deciding whether to implement that.”