UNSM Board of Director Outcomes from November 29 & December 9 meeting
1. Signing Authority - The Board increased the Executive Director signing authority from $5000 to $5500 to accommodate the recent rent increase.
2. Meeting Dates - The Board approved the following meeting dates for 2017: February 3, March 3, April 7, May 10, June 16, August 17 & 18, October 5, November 7, December 1
3. Budget - The Board approved the budget for 2017. The 2016 year end is a projected surplus for the sixth consecutive year. UNSM has more than reached its goal for an operating reserve, with sufficient funds to ensure the continuation of the organization for six months.
4. Dues Formula - The membership dues collected for 2017 will be kept at the 2016 level which is $330,700. There would be some changes for individual municipalities based on the formula. The formula was approved by the membership at the 2016 AGM.
5. Financial Contribution to Association of Municipal Administrators (AMANS) - The UNSM confirmed its support for the work of the Association of Municipal Administrators. The AMA is a professional association whose members are staff of municipalities and include CAOs, Directors, Managers and others in the organization. The Association has assisted the UNSM over the years on many projects and issues. Through its membership, the AMA has a wealth of expertise, experience and knowledge. Its members are subject matter experts and have the operational understanding of matters relating to the legislative, policy and regulatory agenda. The AMA will continue to assist the UNSM by providing:
• evidence based information on the implications of public policy on municipalities, be it financial or otherwise;
• facilitate communication of facts and impacts of proposed and existing public policy to elected officials and other stakeholders;
• objective advice and expertise;
• Support municipalities with operational policy development through the development of model by-laws and policies;
• provide a forum for the exchange and sharing of information and best practices
This work will benefit all municipalities and, therefore, all municipalities will be asked to contribute a small amount to help fund the continuation of this policy work. The UNSM membership bills which will be sent out in January, will reflect the new amount. The UNSM and the AMA will be developing a service level agreement and work plan outlining the policy work it will be undertaking.
6. Committee Appointments - The following UNSM members were appointed to the following committees: Active Transportation - Councillor Mike Trinacty, Town of Berwick; 211 Committee - Councillor Heather Kelly, Region of Queens; Divert Nova Scotia - Councillor Pam MacInnis, Municipality of East Hants; Municipal Finance Corporation - Councillor Vince Byrne, Town of Amherst
7. Spring Workshop Topic - Municipal Response to Marijuana Legalization - Given the recent legalization of marijuana in certain states and pending legalization in Canada, it was suggested that the Spring Workshop Committee consider this as a topic at the Spring Workshop in May 2017. Specific emphasis will be on how municipalities will address this issue through zoning and other strategies.
8. Policing - The Department of Justice has two committees with UNSM which have not met in almost two years. It was agreed that Mayor Clarke will contact the Interim Justice Minister to request a meeting to discuss getting these committees active.
9. Fire Services Study - A draft report has been received from the consultant, and the Steering Committee overseeing the study met December 8 to determine if the study had completed the terms of reference and the consultant's proposal. The consultations have identified the top issues as funding, standards and organizational structure. Once the report is deemed complete, it will be made public and further work will need to be undertaken.
10. Forestry Taxation - UNSM has been working with DNR to form a Forestry Taxation Committee to review the current model while encouraging sustainable forestry practices. The Deputy Minister and Associate Deputy Minister for Natural Resources have both been moved to another department. Staff will explore the proposed committee with the new Deputy Minister.
11. Solid Waste Review - NS Environment has identified funding for the design and implementation of a comprehensive study of the efficiency and effectiveness of all aspects of solid waste management systems in Nova Scotia, including a comparison to other provinces. The study will be overseen by the Environment Department and include Divert NS, the solid waste regions, and municipalities. The Regional Chairs have been advised by NSE to involve UNSM to develop the strongest possible consensus amongst municipalities.
12. Revised Resolutions Process - The revised resolutions process document was approved by the membership at the 2016 AGM. This is an evolving document that can be amended. Staff did receive some comments on the initial draft. The document will be discussed at upcoming caucus and regional meetings seeking additional feedback from the membership.
13. Resolutions/Partnership Framework - Five resolutions were adopted at the AGM by the membership including priorities, economic development, connectivity, financial arrangements and infrastructure. A number of these resolutions are incorporated into the Partnership Framework which was signed at the Fall Conference by the UNSM President and Municipal Affairs Minister. Next steps include UNSM Executive Director meeting with the Deputy Minister to discuss the development of an implementation workplan that will address the resolutions and other items identified in the Partnership Framework.
14. Provincial Election Strategy - The UNSM will prepare a provincial election strategy in advance of the election to ensure municipal issues are part of the platform. It was agreed that the UNSM President will write to all MLA's and include a copy of the Partnership Framework and the adopted resolutions for their review.
15. Communications Strategy - The Board agreed to consider hiring a consultant to develop a media/communications strategy which would include revisions to the current website to enable social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook. The strategy would also include rebranding, and engaging media at the annual fall conference. UNSM staff will develop a terms of reference to engage a consultant and bring it back to the board for discussion at a future meeting.
16. Code of Conduct - All Board members present at the meeting signed a Code of Conduct which establishes guidelines for ethical and interpersonal standards of conduct for UNSM Directors, assists directors in avoiding issues pertaining to role clarity and behaviour, and establishes a consistent process for decision making and communicating decisions.