e-News Bulletin - July- August 2012

President's Message

president

Deputy Warden Jimmy MacAlpine

The UNSM was granted the authority to award six Diamond Jubilee medals to mark the 2012 celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the Throne. The Diamond Jubilee Medal serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. A Nominating Committee was struck consisting of myself, UNSM Vice President, Councillor Jim Smith, and Town Caucus Representative, Mayor Carl Chisholm. The Committee received sixteen eligible applications, all of which were strong candidates. The following six candidates were selected based on years of service as a municipal elected official, number of years on the UNSM Board, and years of service as a Mayor, Warden or Deputy Mayor/Deputy Warden:

  • Bill Cox (former Mayor, Town of Shelburne)
  • Warden Lloyd Hines, District of Guysborough
  • Mayor Billy Joe MacLean, Town of Port Hawkesbury
  • Councillor Lee Nauss, District of Lunenburg
  • Mayor John Prall, Town of Berwick
  • Mayor Carroll Publicover, Town of Bridgewater

The medals will be awarded to the above individuals at the UNSM Fall Conference.

The Towns Task Force continues to receive comments from municipalities on the initial draft report. Deadline to submit comments to the UNSM office is August 27. The Task Force will take into consideration all feedback received. The final document will be presented at the Fall Conference.

I am pleased to announce that the UNSM will be launching a new website which is also mobile phone friendly. The new website has a members only section which requires a password. UNSM staff will send out the members-only information necessary to log in to this part of the website. We welcome any feedback you may have on the new website. We will send out a notice to the Membership to let them know when they can access the new website.

I want to congratulate County of Colchester CAO Dan McDougall who was appointed the new Associate Deputy Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations effective October 15. I have worked a lot with Dan over the last few years in his capacity with the AMA and as a member of the UNSM Board. While this will be a big loss for Colchester, I know Dan will work hard to address municipal issues in his new role.

This year's Fall Conference will be taking place September 18-21 at the Westin in Halifax. A number of interesting topics will be presented including the case for regional shared services, revitalization strategies for urban and rural Nova Scotia, and Target 2014, a new long term infrastructure program. I encourage you to attend the various sessions as they touch on issues relevant for municipalities.

As you are aware, the UNSM reinstated regional meetings this year which were extremely successful and will be ongoing on an annual basis. We had a total of 150 members attend the five regional meetings. The UNSM Board recently approved a policy on regional meetings. Access the Regional Meeting Policy August 2012.

In July I was appointed to a Provincial Steering Committee mandated to undertake a review of the current Regional Development Authority (RDA) model. An independent panel has also been established to consult with municipalities and the business community. Their role will be to present recommendations to the Steering Committee based on feedback they receive. Panel members include Jo Ann Fewer (CEO of Perennia and former Executive Director of the Colchester RDA), Keith MacDonald (Executive Director, Cape Breton Partnership), Bob MacEachern (business owner, Port Hawkesbury), and Allister Surette (President, Universite Ste. Anne). The UNSM and AMA are working on a joint presentation to the Panel to express the views of municipalities. UNSM and AMA will present to the Panel on September 21 following the UNSM conference.

The Fiscal Review Project is ongoing. The Steering Committee, of which I am a member, is meeting in October to review the Current Situation Document prepared by the working group.

The Municipal Auditor General (MAG) Oversight Committee is expecting to complete the MAG job description by mid-September with the job posted in October and interviews conducted in November.

UNSM Executive Director Betty MacDonald will present arguments on behalf of the UNSM regarding LED streetlights at the UARB Hearing on September 13. The UARB is also hosting a public session on this topic on September 18. I would encourage municipal units to participate in these hearings to convey their issues associated with the conversion to the new technology. Those units interested in participating in the public hearing must notify the UARB Office by September 10.

As we all know, municipal elections will take place on Saturday, October 20. For those reoffering, I wish you success with your campaign. For those who have decided to retire from public life, a huge thank you for your dedication, leadership and service you have given to your communities.

As I reflect back on my year as President, I worked hard to establish a strong working relationship with the Province. I had regular meetings with Minister MacDonnell and met directly with the Premier to discuss UNSM's priorities. I instituted Advocacy Days where UNSM Board members met with a number of MLA's to discuss municipal issues. This was a very successful initiative and will continue on an annual basis. I also reinstated regional meetings which was something our membership wanted as way to bring all caucuses together to discuss issues in their local areas. The UNSM Board agreed that regional meetings will continue on an annual basis.

As this will be my last newsletter as UNSM President, I want to take this opportunity to thank the UNSM Board members and staff for making this a very successful year. I enjoyed meeting with municipal colleagues from across the province. I look forward to working with the new president and board members in my role as Immediate Past President.