Sunday, 22 February 2015

Moment with the Mayor: Changes at the Landfill

Hi Neighbours:
I received an email recently with three questions about the changes at the landfill. Before answering, I want to provide some context around the landfill.

Total Revenue
Total Expenses

Many changes have been made at the landfill since the fire and it shows up with the size of the deficit. The Ministry of Environment has strict regulations the Town has to follow.
Here are the questions I received, and my response:

1 – Explain the charges at the waste site.
The charges at the landfill were implemented January 1, 2012 and there have been no changes to the rate since that time. What has changed this year is that a staff person is now stationed at the scale to determine the charge for using the landfill; a sign with the rates outlines the charges. There are two basic charges - charge by weight and charge by item. The Town is also ensuring compliance in two ways: excluded waste is not accepted, and if you need to dump stuff into the landfill, you will be escorted to the site. The escort is part of provincial legislation ensuring that no illegal dumping takes place and that the garbage is sorted correctly

2 – Do people from outside the local tax base pay the same rate as we do?
Only solid waste from the Town of Kindersley and the RM of Kindersley is accepted. Waste from all other areas is not accepted. This change has been in effect since the landfill fire. All waste is charged the same regardless if you are from the RM or the Town.

3 – Why is there so much difference in what one person gets charged as compared to the next person (for the same load)?
There should not be a difference in charge if you and I take the same stuff to the landfill. The staff person on site is still learning the system and I apologize for any mistakes that have been made. The goal is to ensure every person or business is charged based on the weight or the item of garbage they are disposing of.

Thank you for your continued patience as we implement a system designed to capture some costs and comply with provincial legislation.

Please write or phone if you would like me to discuss a particular topic. If you have any questions or comments, drop me a line at the town office or email me at You can also check out my blog at I appreciate your feedback.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Community Safety Officer (CSO) Update and Correction

In my weekend post regarding the CSO I missed the costs regarding the radio.

The annual cost of being linked to central dispatch to be in touch with the RCMP is $25,000 per annum. Without this cost the startup and operational cost differential is less than $10,000 per annum.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Response to a Student's Questions for a Class Assignment about Leadership

A couple of weeks ago I received a student letter asking about leadership. The student in question visits Kindersley to visit their grandparents. I have reformatted the letter, and omitted the students name and school to protect the student’s privacy, to make it easier for me to respond to questions. The letter and questions follow.

I am a grade 6 student in Calgary AB. My class is having a mock election. This is an inquiry project.  I would like to collect some information about you and what you had to do to become an elected representative.

My class and I are learning about Government and Democracy. I have a few questions for you.

·         What do you think makes you a good leader and what made you want to take on this job as a political leader?
     ·         I have vision and values by which I lead: a community that is beautiful, just, with opportunities for individuals to pursue fulfillment, and where people can find healthy relationships
     ·         I try to communicate as much as is possible on a wide variety of relevant issues.
     ·         Inclusiveness is very important and that includes Council and community groups and individuals.
     ·         It is important to be disciplined in pursuing Council’s goals.
     ·         Good leaders need to manage themselves well. Often we have a bit in our brain that wants to hijack our emotions so we respond inappropriately. It is important to rest to manage the worst part of ourselves.
     ·         I was hesitant to run for mayor. A number of friends strongly encouraged me to run; if they hadn’t encouraged me I doubt I would have run.
     ·         My goal is to provide leadership that pursues our strategic goals, gives our community confidence in our governance, and prudently manages our money for today and tomorrow

·         Where did you grow up?
     ·         I was born in St. Boniface MB, grew up in Newcastle ON, and have lived in worked in southern AB, northeastern BC, Yellowknife NT, and in three communities in SK.
     ·         I have also worked overseas.

·         When your job as a Mayor is over would you want to run as a leader again or you might also take on a higher or lower position, if not why?
     ·         I don’t know if I will run again.
     ·         It requires a lot of time and commitment leading to financial sacrifice.
     ·         I doubt I would become a Councillor: it wouldn’t be fair to the incoming Mayor.
     ·         Regarding politics at the federal or provincial levels: we having incumbents and they are running again.

·         I would also like to know about your background, what job did you have before you became a leader.
     ·         I have an double Hons BA as well as two graduate degrees: Master of Divinity (MDiv.), and an Master of Business Administration (MBA).  I am a self employed management consultant.
     ·         I am a part-time mayor who spends about 30 hours a week fulfilling my responsibilities and am still a self-employed management consultant
     ·         I am married with three sons ages 8, 13, 15.
·         Everyone faces challenges during their career no matter what job they take, what was your biggest challenge that you had to take?
     ·         A big challenge is running in an election and being Mayor.
     ·         I resigned a very good position to go back to school.
     ·         I have worked on some excellent projects over the years that have forced me to grow professionally and personally. It is important to accept these challenges to help us become better to help other people and ourselves.

·         If you fix or change something to improve your town what would it be?
     ·         Kindersley, like Calgary, has a lot of challenges. I would like us to have a culture of collaboration to continue to build a community you would like to visit and live in.

My grandparents live in Kindersley, Saskatchewan. Your town is really nice. Since it is so small I can walk around without feeling unsafe or lost. My dad grew up there too. He went to Westberry elementary school. The school is always having something new built in their park each time I go there to visit some of my relatives.

Thank you for your time. You do not have to answer if you are busy and I would not mind if you have to get someone else to answer.  

Response to Email: The Community Safety Officer (CSO) Program

Council is considering having a Community Safety Officer (CSO). Here is an email I received about the initiative. The email is in italics and my responses are in regular format. I have not edited the email I received. There is a formatting issue I wasn't able to resolve in the post)

Hearing and reading a bit about this "new initiative" re Community Safety Officer

First of all, I'm dead against it, for a few key reasons:

1.       Costs to set up, and operate to be covered by a limited local population and business base.
  •                     i.       The 2015 budget allocates a further $10,000 for this initiative.

2.       Benefits to our jurisdiction and defined boundary(ies), only have Town jurisdiction.
  •                     i.       With the CSO program the Town will have partnerships with provincial agencies to better collect monies

3.       Ongoing operating, enforcement, legal, and administrative expenses...again 5000 people carry these costs.
  •                     i.       We expect operational expenses to stay about the same. The extra initial costs are for training and certification.

4.       It's downloading and duplication, locally we pay all these CSO and related costs, in case of RCMP we have "some" subsidy
  •                     i.            I absolutely agree that this is something downloaded by the federal government through the RCMP. The RCMP work according to priorities given to them rather than any priorities a municipality may have.
  •                    ii.            The CSO gives Kindersley more risk assessment and compliance responsiveness.

5.       Start with "one", then 2, then, what???? slippery slope, unless "STOP " is clear and'll hang around and continue to resurface.
  •                     i.       I agree with this comment but the downloading of police services is so far down the road we need to respond to the local gap.
  •                    ii.       I believe we need to do more given the changes in the delivery of police services.
  •                  iii.       We are working with our relevant parties in other areas, such as health, to ensure downloading is stopped.

6.       Given RCMP costs, and "possibility" that a "town" police force (City is better) may be viable in future years....why add CSO into local policing model
  •                     i.       A local police force is significantly more expensive then contracting with the RCMP given our size.
  •                    ii.       A better model might be the development of a provincial police force rather than local police services so costs are spread around. (Saskatchewan Provincial Police, SPP)
  •                  iii.       CSO is a step that enhances the capacity of the bylaw officer without unreasonably increasing expenses and risk.
  •                  iv.       CSO will potentially provide 5 areas where a better level of service can be provided:
  •                                i.    Bylaw enforcement
  •                                ii.  Agency collaboration for enforcement/compliance and collections of fines
  •                              iii.  Community education surrounding the assessment of risks and gaining compliance
  •                              iv.  Enforcement of provincial statutes such as traffic violations (speeding) and weights (over weight trucks degrading town infrastructure)
  •                               v.  Ongoing development and accountability.

Above all....CSO legislation is not firmed up, its still going to be municipal in nature even after its done, and therefore fraught with legal risks/costs.
                    i.            Regretfully the training for the participants is occurring before the legislation is being finalized.
                   ii.            The legislation is based on the successful ‘Community Peace Officer’ program developed and implemented in Alberta
                 iii.            We have neighbours in West Central SK who are also implementing the program.

AND, when everyone else has their "frugal" jacket on, trying to tighten up expenses and future monetary liabilities....we should not be going here.
  •                     i.       Yes, we need to be frugal, but we also have to use the tools available to collect revenue as well. A preliminary study I saw (I don’t have it with me) saw increased revenue offset increased implementation costs.
  •                    ii.       Operating costs are expected to remain about the same.
  •                  iii.       The CSO should not be developed and implemented as a revenue stream.

Between taxes, fees, levies, and NECESSARY future capital expenditures Town and residents are staring at....we should NOT be looking at the CSO project.
We are competing to attract and retain citizens, businesses, and employers.
  •                     i.       The goal of any community is to have a family friendly community safe for everyone. To accomplish this requires assessing risks and obtaining compliance.
  •                    ii.       The Anti bullying bylaw is a step in this direction as well and the CSO compliments this bylaw.

We must be wary of and avoid initiatives, projects, and expenditures that do or will hurt our competitive and financial position.
  •                     i.       I totally agree but do not see how the CSO will do this.

We have to grow our population, a CSO adds no value to growth, only costs and risks.
  •                     i.       I agree we need to grow. Growth is obtained by a combination of increased economic activity and quality of life.
  •                    ii.       The CSO will be able to patrol school zones, rec areas, etc to ensure no speeding and no antisocial behaviour such as bullying occurs (can de-escalate and report to RCMP)

It does not improve our competitive position, our ability to attract or retain residents, employers, or companies.
  •                     i.       I think people/businesses want to know what the rules are and have them applied fairly. The CSO contributes to this

Remember it is a limited tax base that pays, we are, in my opinion at the top end of "tax load" vis a vis others of like size.
  •                     i.        I agree that we need to keep taxes in line with inflation.
  •                    ii.       We are looking at growing revenue through growing our community:
  •                                 i. Housing in Brookhollow Estates
  •                                ii. New hotels
  •                              iii.  New commercial developments
  •                              iv.  There will be more announcements regarding commercial developments coming
  •                               v.  New industrial development remains to be seen given the downturn in oil prices; however, this is an opportunity to further work towards increased economic diversification.

The CSO project gets no offset income or subsidy from Prov or Feds.
  •                     i.       Regretfully this is true; however, as soon as we hit 5,000 people our payments to the RCMP increase from 75% to 90% regardless of our city status

AND, the front costs are one thing, the ongoing and op costs or deficits, expansion of,  are another.
  •                     i.       The operating costs are not expected to vary significantly from current operating costs.

Once its in the side door and going, it will expand, and it will depend on tax base to cover shortfalls and deficits.

We can't afford it, now or in near future.
  •                     i.       In communities in Alberta where it has been successfully implemented it has not run amok and has grew on proportion to population growth (Stony Plain)

In short, please tell admin an emphatic NO, we'll pass.
How's about...get us to City status, then look at City police "if warranted versus RCMP cost model" and skip CSO totally.
  •                     i.       We are working to determine City Status; the City Act requires public consultation amongst other things. Personally, I am in favour of moving towards City Status.

My opinion, and that of many I've talked to.
  •                     i.       Thank you very much for writing and please continue to write.
  •                    ii.       The other that are referred to: please write or call.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Broncos that Haunt Us

Great! I received an email today reminding me of our walk of shame at SUMA. There is no good picture but here is one:
The Broncos Celebrating our Humilation. SUMA Convention 2015 (libby morin)
At least we lost to a good and respected Mayor and a good community.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Stoplights at Main and HWY#7

Patience is a virtue when it comes to working with other jurisdictions.

We just found out that Ministry of Highways has received approval to replace the components of the stoplights at Main and #7.

The parts should be available in about 6 weeks to go ahead with the repairs. Hopefully everything will be up and running by the end of March.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Moment with the Mayor: SUMA Highlights

Hi Neighbours:
Last week was the 2015 SUMA Convention in Saskatoon. It was a busy few days.

·         Councillor Henry and I attended a professional development workshop. I spent my time learning about Community and Land Use Planning while Councillor Henry learned more about municipal human resources.
     ·         During the planning session, we covered the roles of various players and what Council’s role is around decision making and planning.

·         A big topic of conversation has been the province’s public talk about reducing municipalities’ share of revenue sharing; I talked about in last week’s Bean.
    ·         The Premier received polite applause for his remarks. We are still waiting for the province’s decision regarding revenue sharing. It could have a significant impact on our budget affecting level of service and tax rates.

·         A workshop was also held on Procurement and the process for making good request for tenders and proposals. Our job on Council is to reduce the Town’s exposure to risk, get the best value for us, and ensure a fair process for the bidders

·         There was also a session on Community Safety Officers (CS0). Council is looking at going to this level of service to provide improved compliance and enforcement.
    ·         The purpose of the CSO is to provide a more responsive model of enforcement with locally set priorities focused on risk assessment and compliance.

·         Monday afternoon, I shared a lot of information regarding our Youth Council including how it works, budget, communication, training, and their work levels.

·         There were also business meetings around different sectors.
    ·         Again, revenue sharing was in issue and infrastructure.

·         Journalist Chantal Hebert was a guest speaker but due to weather and cancelled flights, she was unable to attend in person and attempted to deliver her message using Skype. Unfortunately, the connection wasn't as good as we needed for a good delivery.
     ·         What we could hear about Hebert’s message was that the balance of power has shifted to urban centres, specifically the suburbs.

·         Tuesday, over lunch, I met with the Ministers of Health regarding next steps to implement the Kindersley Health Services Needs Assessment. There will be nothing to report on this until the roll out of the report.

Please write or phone if you would like me to discuss a particular topic. If you have any questions or comments, drop me a line at the town office or email me at You can also check out my blog at I appreciate your feedback.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Mayor Naheed Nenshi: World Mayor!

Mayor Nenshi of Calgary is the first North American to win the World Mayor's prize.

The philanthropic City Mayors Foundation awards the World Mayor Prize every two years to a mayor who has made outstanding contributions to his / her community and has developed a vision for urban living and working that is relevant to towns and cities across the world. The Prize has been awarded since 2004.
Congratulations to Mayor Nenshi on his accomplishments to date and I wish him the best as he leads Calgary through these challenging economic times.

SUMA Convention 2015: Ministers of Health

Today was a busy day. As I have indicated before I was meeting with the Ministers of Health regarding the Kindersley Health Services Needs Assessment. It was a good meeting and I am cautiously optimistic as we move forward.

I apologize but I am not able to comment on the report until the report is presented to the public in late February or early March. Sorry.

SUMA Convention 2015: President's Banquet

Tonight was the President's Banquet to celebrate the work accomplished and the coming year's aspirations. We also celebrated municipal employees who have been in the industry for at least 20 years.
President's Banquet. Feb 3/15
SUMAssure, with whom I am a Director, sponsored the meal and as a result I brought greetings to the crowd.

We also heard three poems by a performer, Bond, from Saskatoon.
Bond performing at the President's Banquet. Feb 3/2015.

SUMA Convention 2015: Chantal Hebert

A lot of us were looking forward to hearing the insights of Chantal Hebert. Ms Hebert has written a number of books about the Canadian political scene and a regular contributor to a variety of news sources.

Unfortunately the weather prevented her from travelling and then, according to Murphy's Law, we had significant problems with technology.

Here are snippets of her talk:

·         Things change quickly: the economy was strong, terror might be an issue

·         People make choices on what is being offered, as consumers, rather than loyalty to a party

·         Energy and terrorism will affect urban centres

·        The Federal government has little extra money for infrastructure

·         Infrastructure spending is a priority for municipalities, but there is no extra money due to drop in energy revenue

·         Federal spending on health will be slowing

·         Reform of pension fund is coming

·         Security and Terrorism

·         A new type of thinking is needed

·         Balance of power has shifted to urban, specifically suburban: BC, AB, ON

·         Who commands the suburbs commands power for the upcoming federal election

·         Mulcair is at a disadvantage due to reliance on urbans and not enough support in suburbs and rural
Chantal Hebert via Skype and then phone with video. Feb 3/15

SUMA Convention 2015: The Walk of Shame!

I wasn't even in the trade show area and I could hear the noise. As soon as I turned the corner the razzing picked up. The Walk of Shame, including the photos of shame you can see below, was because Humboldt beat us this past summer in our 'Tidy Week" contest. Thanks to Wayne Gibson for the photos.
Councillor Henry and I in Broncos sweaters. I am wearing Mayor Eaton's son's jersey from a RBC Cup appearance. Feb 3/15
All I recall is that our Youth Council did their best but there was way too much rain. I reminded Mayor Eaton of a saying of Conn Smythe: "If you can't beat them on the ice, beat them on the streets." Given the standings we thought that might help diminish the shame of wearing a Broncos' jersey.

Alas, the pain doesn't stop there: tonight, of all nights, the Klipper lost to the Broncos 4-3. I hate to say this but I am not looking forward to my breakfast meeting with Mayor Eaton.

The shame was rubbed in when we had our photos taken with the Humboldt Council.
The Humboldt Council, Sherye,Mayor Easton is beside Councillor Henry. Roger, next to me, nominated me to continue to be Director of SUMAssure, and Leon. Councillor Linda didn't pose with us.  Feb 3/15.

SUMA Convention 2015: Minister of Government Relations

Jim Reiter, Minister of Government Relations spoke this afternoon. I wish that I could write what he said but he didn't say a whole lot.
  • no decision has been made regarding cuts to revenue sharing;
  • he spoke about Disaster Relief and based on our first hand experience he has a great service
  • a columnist from the Globe and Mail was quoted and I am going to do a paraphrase:
    • in the past Sask is tomorrow's country
    • today, the future isn't guaranteed,
    • tomorrow is now here
Jim Reiter. Feb 3/15

SUMA Convention 2015: Preventing Council Misconduct

One of the sessions Council Henry and I took in was Preventing Council Misconduct. The speaker, Saskatoon's former lawyer had six points summarizing his presentation.

1. Put public interest First‎
2. Know the rules
3. Follow the rules
4. Create a positive ethical environment
5. Provide access to professional advice
6. Pay yourself properly
Preventing Council Misconduct. Feb 3/15

SUMA Convention 2015: Resolutions

Here are the resolutions discussed today and voted on.

  1. Asset Management: carried
  2. Animal Control Officer Training: carried
  3. Publishing Rejected Membership Resolutions: carried
  4. Public Works Certificate Program: carried
  5. Bicycle Helmet Safety: carried
  6. Tax Incentives for Municipal Bonds: carried
  7. Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: carried
  8. Fuel Tax for Municipal Police and Fire: carried
  9. Expanded Golf-Cart Use: carried
  10. Motor Vehicle Collision Rates for Fire Departments: carried
  11. Northern Road Maintenance and Repair: carried
  12. Revenue Sharing: (preserve 1 point)carried
  13. MMRP: (immediately implement) carried

Photos I Forgot to Add in SUMA Convention 2015

Community Safety Officer Session. Feb 2/15

FCM President Brad Woodside. Feb 2/15

Premier's Address. Feb 2/15

Tax Abatement Workshop. Feb 2/15

View from the Youth Panel. Feb 2/15

Another View from the Youth Panel. Feb 2/15

Monday, 2 February 2015

SUMA Convention 2015: Premier's Address

The following are some of my notes of the Premier's address.

  • Revenue loss estimated $600m-$800m which is about 5%-6%
  • No money for more, some same, some less
  • Revenue sharing has worked well and has been consistent and stable
  • Sask Party keeps commitments
  • People expect politicians to respond to extraordinary conditions
  • Last downturn saw main stream growth
  • This time is not as bad with strong potash and agriculture
  • Economic growth in 2015 expected to be 2%
  • Only 2% of new jobs are in resource sector
  • Provincial role is to set tone and good environment
  • Budget Goal: keep strong
  • Priorities:

·         low taxes,

·         income and education tax reduction,

·         new incentives,

·         controlled operational spending,

·         build infrastructure and reduce infrastructure deficit,

·         HR training, international engagement including municipalities,

·         competitiveness,

·         no deficit

  • Working towards a tax revenue virtuous circle.

·         This is my understanding of the what the Premier means: where the growth in tax revenue is due to economic growth and is enough for government business and capital