With all the talk south of the border about change we got thinking about change locally. We have been hoping for change for quite a while. We are talking about the Town Council of course and how a real shake-up is in order. Not that change for change sake is necessarily the best thing. As one of the Republican candidates asked “change what?”. It’s an important question. It’s easy to campaign on change but one needs “to put some verbs in the sentences” as a certain TV personality would say.
So let’s be specific. We need a Council who would:
1. Freeze the Town Budget with staff instructed to cut where NO impact would be on services, but staff salaries or positions would be on the table if they couldn’t find efficiencies elsewhere. Everyone would be amazed at what cuts staff will be able to come up with.
2. Instruct staff to stop asking the NS Assessment Office to reassess houses in Wolfville. Assessment is none of the Town’s business and they should stay out of it. Staff should not be allowed to view assessment numbers for the Town before they have a draft budget constructed, one not based on last year’s budget but only on essential and proven costs.
3. Cut business taxes in Town so that they are no more than those paid by the underground economy businesses selling at Wolfville’s farm market. Use this Town as a model to emulate.
4. Restore R1 zones (if they have been lost)
5. Make Town services – policing, roads, recreation, building inspection, water utilities, priorities. Drop the push for high profile but unrealistic or unenforceable projects like Fair Trade designation, anti-smoking, anti-pesticide or buy local campaigns.
6. Make Acadia pay its way for policing student housing OR ask in the strongest terms that Acadia institute a “must live in residence rule” for first and second year students. This would also help Acadia’s bottom line. (Living off campus should be a privilege for those with a good residence behavior history and good marks.)
7. Make Wolfville Council and Mayoral honorariums equal to those of Wolfville volunteer Firemen. Councillors should get a travel allowance, that’s it. We would have a whole different class of people running for office.
8. Run meetings like “Town Hall meetings” and less like morning roll call at Stalag 13. Information meetings should allow for a lot of give and take between different views and not salted with supporters of one side only. They should not resemble reeducation camps.
9. Refuse requests by The Raging Grannies (as a group) to perform at any and all meetings. Ditto requests from The Nagging Neocons should they ever get their act together.
10. Institute now, before any requests come in, a policy that the Town will not recognise any one group with a flag or special “week”.
11. Bylaws should be pruned to those the Town is willing to enforce 100%.
12. Remove the overhead crosswalk signs. Sell them to HRM municipality or something. Declutter the streets of signs everywhere in Town. We will all be safer for it.
13. Require all new house builders to include underground wiring from the house to the street and require all multi building developments to have underground wiring along new streets within the development. Investigate with NS Power and cable companies the cost of putting all wiring underground along Main Street, including in the estimation the expense of trimming trees along Main Street every year over the life of the project and beyond.
That’s a bakers dozen. We are sure other townspeople could suggest many more.