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A look back at 2012

click to flip through (4) PHOTO SUBMITTED - A decision has yet to be reached on the University Lands, although groundwork has been set.
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  • A decision has yet to be reached on the University Lands, although groundwork has been set.
     
 

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By and large it has stuck to the plan. And when new opportunities have come up, it's been able to react.

This year has also been a year of laying groundwork, putting processes in place that will herald in big decisions in the rest of the term.

"There were many, many quite significant achievements over the course of the last 12 months," said Wilhelm-Morden.

"It's been quite a year."

The Budget

This was a big one, one the election skeptics said wasn't possible, the one Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said was — a balanced municipal budget with zero property tax increases. The official 2012 budget was presented to council in April, the culmination of months of hard work. At the time the mayor said: "None of these decisions were easy. I can safely say that."

At the first budget open house in March, community members praised the council work on the financial plan. The overall feeling was one of "meaningful dialogue" and "genuine interest" and "turning over a new leaf" when it comes to spending taxpayers' money. High praise indeed from the typically critical taxpaying public.

Taxpayer Paul Mathews was at that first open house. Now a year later he said he's pleased with council spending and its influence on the $70 million plus municipal budget.

Last year he expects to see even more impact as council has had more time with the numbers, understands the intricacies of the hall even better.

"That should also ring out some further fat from the system," said Mathews.

There's an expectation that tax increases, if any, would be in the range of one to two per cent he said.

And that makes for relatively happy taxpayers.

The Committees

Committees of council have taken on a life of their own in 2012 as per council's direction. New committees have been created, like the ones on illegal space, on festivals, events and animation (FE&A), on economic partnership (EPI). Old committees have been brought back to life, like recreation and leisure, and seldom-used committees have been put to work like finance and audit. And then there's the Committee of the Whole meetings, almost twice a month, that allow groups to come before council in a more informal meeting.

Much of the nitty-gritty work is getting done at the committee level but council has its hand in everywhere. It's a way to engage, seek community feedback and gauge the tempo in town.

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