SHAPE YOUR CITY  –  PUBLIC INPUT
HRM has launched “Shape Your City” – a new community engagement tool that provides innovative and more flexible options for you to share your thoughts on municipal initiatives. This “Shape Your City” Halifax Community Engagement Hub will be used to host information, feedback, and discussions regarding initiatives that require a public engagement component. HRM has secured the services of a third-party software provider, SustaiNet, to develop and deliver an online engagement hub tailored to meet our specific needs. SustaiNet provides ongoing technology support as well as 24/7 moderation of the online discussions. The first project to be hosted on the new engagement hub is the Metro Transit 5 Year Service Plan. In addition to background material on the project and a schedule for public meetings, the site will also feature an online discussion forum, a survey with embedded videos, and interactive questions and answers. Another initiative that will be highlighted on the site is the HRM Solid Waste / Resource Strategy Review. This autumn there will also be a series of public meetings to discuss this strategy: www.halifax.ca/wrms/WasteStrategy/index.html .

There will be 2 public sessions at the new Porters Lake Elementary School on Oct. 3rd & 23rd at 7 PM.

Send your thoughts to wasteless@halifax.ca . Residents interested in participating in the latest option for community engagement are encouraged to visit http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca to register. Sign up to give us with your input.

CURBSIDE GIVE AWAY – OCT. 19 & 20
Curbside Give Away is a bi-annual event that promotes diversion of reusable items from landfill by offering items for others to claim. Since participation in Curbside Give Away is difficult to track, HRM wishes to reach out to residents via an on-line survey, to find out how the event is being received and if there is anything we can do to make it better. http://fluidsurveys.com/s/CurbSideGiveawayFeedback/ . It’s time to reduce your home’s clutter; give someone the chance to reuse things you no longer need, by recycling your clean and working goods. The next dates are Saturday & Sunday, October 19th & 20th.  Check the Curbside Give Away web-page for more details on this year’s event: www.halifax.ca/wrms/CGAW.html

WASTE    REDUCTION    WEEK    2013
October 21st – 27th is Waste Reduction Week (WRW). Canada’s annual WRW program urges everyone to do their part by reducing, reusing and recycling in every aspect of their lives – at home, school and work. Please take a moment to visit: www.wrwcanada.com . Be sure to join the “Ease My Load” Campaign to take actions to reduce waste. Then share your actions with Canada by uploading your photos and videos with campaign mascot ‘Atlas’. Also check out the Recycle My Cell (phone) program: www.recyclemycell.ca .  Residents can now take all batteries to a Call2Recycle drop-off location for disposal. This includes rechargeable and single-use batteries (under 5kg) as well as used cell phones. Visit www.call2recycle.ca to find the nearest drop-off site. Leftover paint can be taken to any ENVIRO-DEPOT in HRM free of charge. Check here for details on NS Paint Recycling program: www.productcare.org/Nova-Scotia or call 1-888-772-9772.  If you have small amounts of liquid paint, open the lid to air dry; or mix with sand or ‘kitty litter’, then place with regular garbage for disposal. Place empty paint cans in the garbage too. Passenger or small truck tires (up to 4) can be brought back to any tire retail centre free of charge. For more information on tire disposal, please call 1-877-313-RRFB (7732) or visit www.PutWasteInItsPlace.com . If you have any questions about HRM Solid Waste – Resource programs and services; call 311 or check out their web-sites: www.halifax.ca/wrms/ or www.facebook.com/HalifaxRecycles . For more details about Waste Reduction activities please contact Clean Nova Scotia at 420-3474 or Toll-Free: 1-855-736-3474 or by Fax: 982-6768 or by E-mail: cns@clean.ns.ca .

OPEN-AIR BURNING SEASON AGAIN As of October 16th (weather permitting) and whether or not the NS Forest Weather Index (FWI) is at a low to moderate reading, the Open-Air Burning Season outside the HRM Urban No-Burn Zone will be allowed where Provincial Permits will not be necessary. However; HRM Burning Permits are still required but at no charge. Local HRM Fire Departments still have the right to limit the number of municipal permits issued in an area. For more information about open-air burning by-law and safe practices visit:  www.halifax.ca/fireprevention/OpenAirBurning.html
Please be very careful when burning!

INPUT ON PORTERS LAKE A.T. PLAN
HRM with SATA (www.shoreat.ca ) invites the community to attend the second of two public engagement sessions for the Porters Lake Region Active Transportation (AT) Plan.  Residents of all ages are invited to participate and contribute. We want to hear from residents who are interested in expanding AT options in the area. The public input session will be on Monday, October 28th at 7PM in the Lake & Shore Recreation Centre – 40 Inspiration Drive by Hwy 107 Exit #20. Please participate!

FINAL   TAX   BILL   DUE   –  OCT. 31st
HRM sends out its property tax bills in two phases and invoices all property owners twice each year. The Final Tax Bill was mailed out in September with a final due date of Wednesday, October 31st. The tax calculation is based on the taxable assessed value of the property multiplied by the applicable tax rate. The taxable assessed value is determined by the Property Valuation Services Corporation – www.PVSC.ca . The tax rate is the sum of two levies – a general rate (Urban, Suburban or Rural) and any local area tax rates within a district. For a better understanding of your tax-bill, please visit: www.halifax.ca/revenue/taxbill/
IS YOUR CIVIC  ADDRESS  POSTED?
Make sure your civic number is posted in front of your home or business, and that it is clearly visible from the road day or night. This will assist police, firefighters and paramedics in being able to locate you as quickly as possible if an emergency should occur. Emergency Services can’t help you if they can’t find you. Seconds can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency. However, without clearly posted civic numbers to guide them, emergency responders can sometimes have difficulty locating your address. Civic number signs are relatively inexpensive ($15) and are extremely effective. Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind:
•       Civic numbers should be in Arabic numerals (12 not XII or Twelve)
•       Have at least 48 inches between the bottom of the numbers and the ground.
•       The colour of the numbers should clearly contrast the background. White numbers on a blue background work best. Reflective numbers are recommended.
•       If the building can’t be seen clearly from the road, post the numbers on a sign. Signs should be within 15 feet of the road.
•       If the building is less than 50 feet from the road, numbers should be at least 65 mm (2 inches) tall.
•       If the building is more than 50 feet from the road, numbers should be at least 100 mm (4 inches) tall.
The following local HRM Fire Stations offer Blue Residential Civic Signs.  Please call the station or 490-5347 for civic addressing information.
Stn. # 20 – Lawrencetown  – phone # 434-9213
Stn. # 21 – Lake Echo  – phone # 829-3105
Stn. # 26 – Oyster Pond  – phone # 889-2516

For more information about HRM Bylaw C-300 Respecting Civic Addressing, go to:
www.halifax.ca/legislation/bylaws/hrm/documents/_0506094120_001.pdf

CLICK ON HRM SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

In addition to HRM Web-site: www.halifax.ca,  residents can now connect and stay current through various HRM official social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, YouTube and RSS feeds. Here’s a list of some municipal services and initiatives that use this new information medium for communication:
•       HRM’s Official Twitter feed
•       HRM’s Official YouTube Channel
•       HRM News Releases
•       HRM Grand Parade e-Newsletter
•       Office of the Mayor
•       Metro Transit
•       Civic Events
•       HRM Recreation
•       SkateHRM/The Oval
•       Field Conditions
•       Halifax Regional Police
•       Regional Police’s YouTube Channel
•       Public Safety
•       Spotlight on Public Safety
•       Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency
•       Fire Investigations
•       PlanHRM
•       Cultural Affairs
•       HRM SmartTrip
•       HRM Bike Week
•       Halifax Public Gardens
•       HalifaxRecycles
•       HRM Youth
•       myHRM.ca  – Good Neighbours/Great Neighborhoods

In addition to these links, be sure to check my  Twitter & Facebook Pages and my web-sites which are mobile device friendly and if your e-mail address has changed recently, please send me a note so I can keep you posted on local issues and community advisories.

ARE YOU ON CITYWATCH ALERTS?

CityWatch is a full-featured, outbound and inbound computerized notification system, connected to a series of phone lines. With one simultaneous phone call, CityWatch can deliver important public safety messages… a lost child, a forest fire, a toxic spill, crime alerts, severe weather advisories, evacuation notices, business watch alerts… to hundreds of homes and businesses in HRM. Even our local EMO Joint Emergency Management Teams use the CityWatch system. By signing on, you will be advised of any critical information that could affect you in your area of HRM. You have the option to provide up to two phone numbers and up to two e-mail addresses or a combination of both. For more information, please e-mail CityWatch Administrator Alana MacDonald at macdona@halifax.ca   or  citywatch@halifax.ca  or call 490-7403.

NOT-FOR-PROFIT TAX EXEMPTIONS
HRM can help some non-profit organizations reduce their level of property tax through the Tax Exemption for Non-Profit Organizations Program. It is available only to actively registered non-profit and charitable organizations located within HRM.  Application deadline is November 30th. For details:www.halifax.ca/boardscom/bccgrants/TaxExemptionsforNon-ProfitOrganziations.html .  A reminder that it is mandatory for all previously registered entities already enrolled in this program to re-apply annually in order to maintain their tax exemption status.