Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Keeping You Informed 129 Times…and Counting

I believe that a huge part of my service as your Mayor depends on two-way communication about issues and challenges facing Pelham. Part of that communication centres on my (mostly) weekly columns.

Each column takes me from 1.5 to 3.5 hours to write. To keep it to 400 words for the newspapers, I use much of that time researching and editing.

How do I decide on a column topic? I write about what people ask me about or express concern about. For example, 50 columns were updates on progress or information about recent Council decisions. Twenty-three columns gave advance notice of special meetings, event, or Council debate. Nineteen columns reported on Regional issues or decisions while 11 focused on Federal or Provincial matters. Seventeen columns appreciated the work of others or were light-hearted in nature.

As a result, it is not surprising that tied for the most columns – 17 each – were “Budgets & Property Taxes” and “Facilities & Property”. Our pre-budget consultations, the capital and operating budgets, property taxes and tax rates, and changes at MPAC were the first 17. The 17 “Facilities & Property” columns focused on the 2007-08 Facilities Feasibility Study, the establishment of and updates from the three Facilities committees, and updates on the Town’s 32 acres at Rice Road and Highway #20.

The next largest grouping of columns – 16 – were about recent or upcoming events; these included community events like Canada Day, Family Day, and Remembrance Day, and also specific events like the Youth Forum, and the success of the Mayor’s Galas.

Next, seven columns each were about Downtowns, Roads, and Appreciation. In the Downtowns columns I invited you to a meeting to improve our Downtowns, and wrote about upcoming workshops, and updates on work and funding for revitalizing Pelham’s downtowns. The Roads columns concentrated on the resurfacing and reconstruction of Pelham’s roads and about the Highway 20 medians. The seven other columns concentrated on my deep appreciation for volunteers in the Town – like coaches, members of service clubs, associations, and community groups.

Six columns concentrated on Police facilities and another six were about Planning issues like the Official Plan update, and the East Fonthill Secondary Plan. Five columns concentrated on the unprecedented infrastructure investments Pelham received from Federal and Provincial governments.

And there were many more topics – like updating bylaws, or preserving the Fonthill Kame – and many, many more columns – 129 to be exact!

I deeply appreciate the local media publishing my column week after week. And, I appreciate you reading them and staying informed about our Town.