Comments on the Strategic Plan III

Mr. Sanderson has sent us a copy of the following,  further comments on the strategic plan, addressed to Ms Boyd. We add our two cents worth at the end.

Date: 20 July 2009
Subject: Strategic Plan
Dear J Boyd,

I endorse the suggestions expressed by Mr Becker and Mr Daniels. I also enclose a few of my own thoughts regarding the “Strategic Plan”.

* Regarding: Sub-Goal #1: Achieve fiscal health of our Town (“living within our means”)
o The above could mean anything depending upon the interpretation of “our”.
o I hope you don’t mean to improve the fiscal health of the Town by stripping more money from property owners and businesses!
o I suggest more specific language, i.e.:
Sub-Goal #1: Reduce the tax burden on businesses and property owners.

* Regarding: Objective #1: Develop a multi-year financial plan by examining the broad trends affecting the fiscal sustainability of the Town of Wolfville and explore the tools at the Town’s disposal to address those trends.
o OK, but we all know the “broad trend” has been for tax to increase more quickly than the income of the people who pay tax — so why not say so?
o And why not be upfront and specify “the tools” that the Town might use to reduce costs and thence reduce the tax burden?

* Regarding: Objective #2: Effectively communicate the fiscal reality of small towns by building relationships with other levels of government and our citizens to improve fiscal health.
o If Council knows the “fiscal reality” then just say what it is.
o Or is the problem that “the Town” just does not know what “fiscal reality” is? If not, say so.

* Generally, this “Strategic Plan” reeks of waffle speak.
* Most people in Wolfville understand the English language.
* I suggest “the Town” rewrite the “Strategic Plan” using the English language.

Better luck with the next draft,
Brian Sanderson

We too ploughed through the document. It is full of nice sentiment. Motherhood and sugar pie.  As the others have found, it is short on specifics. We would have liked to see something like this for a goal: At least 15 minutes per Council meeting shall be allowed for questions and comments from the Gallery.

Or ” The Deed Transfer tax shall be reduced by .5% each year of the remaining term of Council until it is eliminated.”

What is fiscal health and how will we, or anyone, know when it is achieved? Unlike a family budget where there is more or less fixed revenue, the Town can always go back to the well for more unless some sort of definition  of  “living within our means” is given.

We would also like to see some sort of report card or evaluation built in to monitor achievement of the plan. Our main worry about all the good intentional paving is that the Town has a snowball’s chance of living up to them.

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