E-News Bulletin--December 2013

President's Message

Dave Corkum--face on resized

Mayor Dave Corkum

 

I would like to thank the membership for supporting me as your new President at the November Fall Conference. I will be working hard on your behalf to advance municipal issues.

My goal for the year is for all of us to open our minds to change for the betterment of our municipalities to promote future fiscal sustainability.

A special thank you to the Fall Conference Organizing Committee and UNSM staff for organizing a great conference. The membership had many positive comments about the conference as indicated by the evaluations submitted.

For those of you who do not know me, I would like to provide a bit of background on myself. I have served on the UNSM Board since 2008, holding positions of Town Caucus Chair, Vice President, and now President. I also served as the Chair of the Towns Task Force, Chair of the Resolutions Committee and Chair of the Fall Conference Planning Committee. I have been a member of the Kentville Town Council for over 15 years, serving as Mayor since 2005. My full-time job is as a Real Estate Appraiser. In this capacity I am a member of the Nova Scotia Appraisers’ Association and the Canadian National Appraisers’ Association. I am also a Dale Carnegie Graduate. I am married to my wife Susan, and we have four grown children.  

I would like to introduce the Board of Directors for 2013-14:

•    Mayor David Corkum, Town of Kentville (President)
•    Councillor Russell Walker, Halifax Regional Municipality (Immediate Past President)
•    Warden Keith Hunter, County of Cumberland (Vice President/Secretary Treasurer)
•    Mayor Carl Chisholm, Town of Antigonish (Town Caucus Chair)
•    Mayor Bob Taylor, County of Colchester (Rural Caucus Chair)
•    Councillor Claire Detheridge, Cape Breton Regional Municipality (Regional Caucus Chair)
•    Councillor Laurie Murley, Town of Windsor (Town Caucus)
•    Deputy Mayor Greg MacArthur, Town of Truro (Town Caucus)
•    Mayor Don Downe, District of Lunenburg (Rural Caucus)
•    Warden Bruce Morrison, County of Victoria (Rural Caucus)
•    Councillor Bill Karsten, Halifax Regional Municipality (Regional Caucus)
•    Councillor Clarence Prince, Cape Breton Regional Municipality (Regional Caucus)
•    Rennie Bugley, CAO, County of Cumberland (AMANS Representative)

Our new Board held its initial meeting on December 6 where we identified a number of priorities to address over the next year. These include:

•    Towns Task Force Implementation
•    Fiscal Review
•    New Infrastructure Programs
•    Property Taxation/Capped Assessment Program
•    Economic Development.

I have written Premier McNeil and Minister Furey requesting a meeting to discuss how the UNSM and the Province can work together to address these and other priorities.

It should be noted that the UNSM will be addressing a number of other issues including Municipal Auditor General, amendments to Municipal Government Act, Halifax Charter, and the Municipal Elections Act, youth engagement, and affordable housing. We will also pursue ongoing initiatives including training opportunities for elected officials, Municipal Awareness Week and Women in Local Government.

We initiated a new process this year to encourage more timely responses for our resolutions. We sent all provincial-based resolutions to SNSMR requesting that they write the appropriate department for a quick response. We anticipate resolutions to have a departmental response within the next two months.

Speaking of resolutions, we heard the membership loud and clear at the Fall Conference. The Board will be undertaking a review of how the Resolutions Committee can better deal with late and emergency resolutions. It is obvious the current practice was not effective. We will work on By-Law revisions which will be brought forward to the membership for debate at the 2014 AGM.

On December 17, I issued a media release on behalf of UNSM opposing Canada Post's strategy to phase out home mail delivery over the next five years. In the release I suggested that the Federal Government fund a program to assist seniors and those physically challenged who are unable to access their mail in a timely manner from a community mailbox. This media release was picked up by the Chronicle Herald, a number of local papers, as well as nationally by CBC and CTV. For a copy of the media release, click the following link:

The UNSM Board appointed the following members to the following committees:

Sustainable Practices Committee:

•    Councillor Frank Fawson, District of Lunenburg
•    Councillor Tom Taggart, County of Colchester
•    Deputy Warden Jim Mustard, County of Inverness.

RCMP Contract Management Committee:

•    Councillor Wendy Donovan, Town of Wolfville
•    Councillor Dave Seeley, Town of Windsor
•    An HRM representative will also be appointed to this committee.

The UNSM still requires up to four municipal elected officials to participate on the Joint Police Services and Community Safety Advisory Committee. The UNSM office will be sending out another notice for expressions of interest by the end of December with members appointed at the February 14 Board meeting.

I wish to thank Immediate Past President Councillor Russell Walker for all of his efforts over the past year. I look forward to working with Past President Walker, Vice President Hunter and the other Board members.

In closing, I want to let the membership know my door is always open. If you have issues or questions you wish to discuss, I can be reached by email at   or by cell at 902-680-6125.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.