A First Year in Review 2016–2017
When I decided to run for Office my goals were to bring enhanced transparency and accountability to the City of Saint John and to lead with my values and principles. One year later, I am proud of the fact that this has been my moral compass as I work to continue to improve the quality of life for Saint John residents. It has been an honour to work alongside my council colleagues and represent our citizens.
As mentioned in a previous Blog, our city is not on a sustainable path. We have tremendous opportunities and so many advantages. We must however, address our sluggish Growth and Fiscal Challenges, to position our city to take full advantage of these opportunities. It will not be easy, however I am fully committed.
On a few fronts, we can look back on this year as one that set the stage for the future of growth in our city.
Here is a brief list of key initiatives that we have been completed:
- Undertook Citizens Engagement Sessions through workshops using input from the Ipsos Ried Citizens Survey, the PinIT sessions, a City employee survey, and a number of focus groups and context setting sessions focused on financial and service-based initiatives.
- Developed and adopted Council Priorities 2017–2020: Growth and Prosperity, Vibrant and Safe City, Valued Service Delivery and Fiscally Responsible
- Established the Growth Committee to support the community in achieving its long-term vision and goal of growth and community building.
- Formed the Finance Committee to focus on responsible, prudent financial management and sustainable life-cycle management. I am very proud, that we are moving forward with Asset Management and long term financial planning.
- Balanced the 2016 Municipal Budget without a tax increase and set aside surplus savings to create an emergency reserve fund.
- Established a Central Peninsula Neighborhood Plan that includes a planning process to enhance the South Central peninsula, which includes the Uptown, South End, and Waterloo Village areas.
- We have a productive working relationship with the Provincial and Federal Governments and are focused, on delivering on city wide priorities. Since taking office, there have been many important initiatives funded to help create a brighter future.
- Secured funding through collaborative government partnerships making a combined Provincial and Federal investment of $7,061,762 to the City of Saint John through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. And $6.09 million from all three levels of government to support infrastructure upgrades and improvements to the Saint John City Market.
- We have many other projects underway in the city, that are contributing to an improved economy and quality of life. Project like the Clean Water Project, Port modernization, Irving Oil HQ, Innovative research at Dalhousie Medical, and the new NBCC trade school, to name a few.
- Launched Saint John as the first city in Atlantic Canada to promote the 2015 National Building Code permitting wood frame construction of up to six-stories.
- Released the Roadmap for Smart Growth, our new economic growth and development strategy developed by the Growth Committee and approved by common council. The Roadmap has six strategies and 45 immediate actions we can take to help get us started, while providing accountability and measurable results.
- Initiated the call for expressions of Interest to right size city hall for efficiencies through the services of Cushman Wakefield Commercial Realtors.
One of the significant challenges I have learned in my role in government is how to say no and how to make a decision to stop doing something. The tendency is to add new services and programs and projects that are not in the best interests of the city. So taking the politics out of politics is tricky. Learning to keep the politics in check and focus on balanced, results-based decision making is my continued objective. Learning to balance the demands of the role, family and everyday life I continue to work on. I also continue to commit to open lines of communication and connecting with residents and stakeholders is essential to understanding the many lenses of our community.
For all those who have connected with me, thank you and for those who wish to my door is always open.