St. Marys Journal Argus
St. Marys Town Council is hoping to look back to 2009 this week, with an eye to helping them make decisions about the future.
In what's being described as a “strategic planning session” taking place in the time slot normally set aside for “Day 1” of its twice-per-month Committee of the Whole meeting schedule, Council will meet on Tuesday, Jan. 6 to look over, among other documents, a Town of St. Marys Strategic Plan that was finalized back in 2009.
“It is an official document of the Town, approved by Council, and it does need to be updated at some point,” explained CAO Kevin McLlwain, in an interview earlier this week.
McLlwain stressed that Tuesday’s meeting is not meant as a first step towards updating the 2009 Plan. Instead, it's part of a two-session training schedule for the 2014-18 version of Town Council, a schedule that began with a session that occurred following Council’s most recent regular meeting just before Christmas.
At that time, Council was provided information about the procedural bylaws on the books with the Town, and the requirements of municipal governments under provincial legislation.
For this week’s session, councillors were provided information about other documents that could potentially influence decision-making around the Town Hall table. That includes the town’s Heritage Conservation District bylaw, a Master Servicing Plan created by engineering consultants back in 2010, a Cultural Plan from 2012, and the 2009 Strategic Plan.
Speaking to the Journal Argus on Monday, Mayor Al Strathdee said his interest was piqued in the meeting before Christmas by the town’s Procurement Bylaw, which governs when administrative staff can sign off on a purchase without Council consent, and what guidelines Council must follow when approving or denying a purchase request. Plus, the bylaw is something that’s supposed to be examined on a regular basis by Council, to decide if it needs updating.
And from this week’s meeting, the Strategic Plan and Master Servicing Plan are definitely documents the Mayor wants to explore further.
“There are a number of things, when you look at the Master Servicing Plan and the Strategic Plan in particular, that haven’t been followed up on,” offered Strathdee. “I’m interested in finding out what Council thinks about some of those things.”
McLlwain said the fact the Strategic Plan is now six years old is pause for consideration that it, too, might need an update. He certainly wasn’t around when it was created, nor were five of the seven members of Council. Only Councillors Don Van Galen and Bill Osborne had seats around the table, the CAO noted, when it was approved.
“Quite truthfully, I don’t believe the last Council necessarily took the time to (examine the 2009 Strategic Plan),” McLlwain said. “So maybe we’re coming up to a time when we need to do that.”
With the 2015 budget planning season now in full swing, the presence of this week’s strategic planning session isn’t the only detour from the typical monthly agenda. This month, both Committee of the Whole Day 1 and Day 2 will be combined into one meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 13. A budget planning session will be held Tuesday, Jan. 20. And the monthly regular Council meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 27.
The public is welcome at all meetings, including this week’s strategic planning session.