To my opponent Sandra Snow:
In your recent letter to the editor of the (Annapolis Valley) Register, you were most disappointed but you can imagine how disappointed I am to have to address your “Donald Trump” style of politics that you are bringing to Kentville.
In this letter to the editor, you stated many untruths, inaccuracies and outdated information, along with negative dangerous assumptions. Because of the above, I felt I must answer you with the facts. By the way, all the information here is open to the public through the Town – just for the asking. My facts can be easily verified.
To address the points in your letter:
- 1. Citizen Advisory Committees are eliminated.
This is not a true fact.
Policy Statement G-57 Committees of Council speaks to the establishment of committees. Its authority is gleaned from the Municipal Government Act Sections 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 44 and 200. Following is a list of committees/commissions:
Council Advisory Committee (working committee of council)
Investment Advisory Committee
Environmental Action Committee
Kentville Board of Police Commissioners
Kentville Water Commission
In addition, Ad Hoc Committees are established, as needed, and once their work is complete they could be dissolved. Such committees include (for example):
Recreation Advisory Committee
Municipal Planning Strategy Review Committee
- 2. Two councilors winter in Florida
Policy Statement I-02 Video Conferencing sets the guidelines for conducting meetings by electronic facilities, as authorized under Section 23 of the Municipal Government Act.
Technology has changed the way we do business today. Not only do big business Skype, conference call, text and email but also, today, robots do the work of our hands in many cases. There are high schools and universities in our county which do not require the physical attendance of the students.
- 3. Pension Benefits extended to Council
Policy Statement G5 Council Remuneration and Benefits outlines the process of benefit eligibility. Section 8 cites council’s eligibility to participate in the pension plan.
Council members are deemed to be employees of the Town of Kentville. Contracts with the pension provider requires that all eligible employees shall take part in the Town’s pension plan. For all employees of the pension plan, contributions are shared between the Town and the employee.
Yes, the Mayor has a town pension plan. After 21 years of service, I have accumulated $ 59,000 in that plan. Therefore, if I retire tomorrow, I would be lucky to receive $ 100 per month. As for the taxpayers paying, the Mayor and Council are not volunteer positions. In your previous employment also paid by taxpayers, I am sure you had a more lucrative pension, which I am sure you did not turn down when you retired.
- 4. Group Benefits extended to Council
Policy Statement G5 Council Remuneration and Benefits outlines the process of benefit eligibility. Section 8 cites council’s eligibility to participate in the group benefit plan.
As employees of the Town of Kentville, eligible Council members can opt into the group benefit plan - in whole or in part. For all members of the group plan, premiums are shared between the Town and the employee.
- 5. Monthly payments for mileage/Internet
This is not a true fact.
The Mayor and Council do not receive the payments as cited in the letter. If and when Council members travel on behalf of the Town, they are reimbursed for travel expenditures at the per-kilometre rate set by the Province of Nova Scotia every April.
As per CRA guidelines, one-third of the annual remuneration is exempt when calculating taxable income, in accordance with subsection 81 (3) of the Income Tax Act. This allowance is for expenses related to the discharge of the duties of council members, in their capacity as elected officers of the Town.
- 6. Mayor’s budget account
The Mayor’s account was overspent in 2015/16 because he was appointed to the national board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). Prior to his acceptance of this appointment, permission was asked and granted by Town Council to permit the Mayor’s expense account to exceed its budget (as this was not known when the budget was struck).
The Mayor has been reappointed to the FCM board, and therefore, the Mayor’s expense account was increased accordingly in the 2016/2017 budget.
This Board appointment gives the Town a clear voice and a prominence at the national level. These engagements keep local issues on the table – in front of the upper-levels of government.
For example, the Gas Tax Program is now a permanent program with significant funding flowing to municipalities on an annual basis. Much lobbying by municipal leaders occurred for many years to get this result.
In addition to the above, the Mayor (and councilors) are deemed to be the ambassadors for the Town. It is important that our council attends local, provincial and national gatherings to bring Kentville’s and Nova Scotia’s perspective to the local, provincial and national scenes, keeping Kentville abreast of local, provincial and national initiatives that will affect local government.
Unfortunately, the price of doing business and success comes with a cost or expense. An example of this expense, my service as the president of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities board has helped support these successes.
a) For the last 10 years, Kentville has received $ 400,000 in Federal Gas Tax Funds every year.
b) The recent millions and millions of dollars of additional infrastructure money announced to come to Nova Scotia by Prime Minister Trudeau in Bridgetown last week started with a meeting I had with the Prime Minister-elect a couple of years ago in Lunenburg.
Now you don’t have to take my word for this successful lobbying. All you have to do is contact the former minister of Municipal Affairs, Mark Furey, who can verify this fact.
Disappointment - yes, fool me once - maybe, but I doubt the good people of Kentville will want their mayor promoting untruths, inaccuracies and unsubstantiated facts based on your own personal political agenda and aspirations.
Mayor David L. Corkum