The weekly Green Cart organic collection program will come to an end on Friday, August 29th. Upon completion of this summer service, collection will return to its regular bi-weekly schedule. Hopefully residents took advantage of this new service while it was available. Results of this summer service will be evaluated to determine if it should continue again next year. I would welcome your comments on this topic. Please reply!

As reported last year, ( Issue # 189 ) the NS Dept. of Energy requested municipalities to confirm their intentions to take ownership of  NS Power’s older high intensity sodium, mercury vapour, and/or metal halide filament streetlight fixtures and to convert them over to the new LED technology lights. We have come to an agreement to pay NS Power $7,197,594.34 (net HST) for 28,864 old streetlights and 4,548 LED fixtures. Soon HRM will be in the process of changing the old lights over to the newer environmental friendly fixtures. An additional $32 Million will be required to do this conversion over a 5 year period. This will be funded by the HRM LED Street Light Conversion Reserve (Q327) with debt financing outside of the HRM Debt Policy. The debt will be repaid from realized operational savings instead of the general tax rate. As streetlights are converted over to LED technology, the annual operational cost is anticipated to decline each year thereafter by 50% to 90% over the projected current cost, for a potential savings of $1 to $5 Million annually. I have asked HRM to have a program in place whereby residents who have any privately rented streetlights on their own personal power-bill can request consideration of transferring their streetlight over to the municipality as long as it can be accepted and re-positioned to meet our standard to shine onto public roadways.

Effective as of August 23rd all telephone communications in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will require business and residential consumers to reprogram their telephone functions and communications equipment to comply with 10-digit dialing that encompasses the local area code and phone number. After this date, local 7-digit dialed calls will be interrupted by a network announcement before being connected. After November 16th any phone calls dialed without the area code will not be completed. Also after November 30th a new area code  782 will be gradually introduced and will co-exist with area code 902 in NS and PEI. This new area code will only be assigned to new phone numbers. If you have any questions, please contact the Telecommunications Alliance web-site at www.dial10.ca . Please be sure to check all of your telecommunication devices that will require reprogramming to meet this new service standard. Phone features such as speed-dial lists, call forwarding, fax machine pre-set numbers, modems and internet connections, cellular phone directory lists and other wireless devices such as pagers, security systems, voice messaging, auto-dial systems, and other phone number database updates should be revised.

HRM’s Auditor General is responsible for holding our administrators accountable for the quality of stewardship over the public funds and for achievement of value for money in municipal operations. The Taking Improvement & Performance Seriously (TIPS) Hot-line has been established to capture and evaluate concerns and complaints related to potential inefficiencies or fraudulent behaviour involving HRM resources. To report any concerns, please call 902-490-1144 or go on-line to the Auditor General web-page TIPS form at www.halifax.ca/auditorgeneral

As the summer weather continues to be hot and humid, HRM Partners in Policing remind citizens about the dangers of leaving children and pets alone in unattended vehicles. Leaving windows slightly opened does not slow the heating process or decrease the maximum temperature attained. To prevent deadly consequences for your children and/or pets, never leave them inside an unoccupied vehicle, even for a few minutes. If you can’t take them with you when you park your vehicle, then leave them at home or with friends or arrange for day-care services. If you see any child or a pet in distress, please call 9-1-1 immediately.

After a couple of years of discussion HRM has approved a funding program that is intended to help support community-based transit by providing funding to subsidize the regular operation and maintenance of an organization’s vehicles. This program will pay a flat rate $0.50/km for every vehicle kilometer logged while providing service within HRM (dependent on budget availability). This program will also provide an additional lump sum of $5,000 or $10,000 of support per year to an organization depending on the level of service provided to the community. It is intended that this program will help supplement the cost of fuel and regular maintenance of fleet vehicles, or the fuel and maintenance of personal vehicles being used by volunteer drivers. It is not intended to subsidize the full cost of providing the service. Funding will be renewed annually, assuming that quarterly reporting criteria are fulfilled and subject to HRM budget availability. Our own local service – MusGo Rider – will be a beneficiary of this new municipal funding regime. Coupled with the provincial rural transportation programs, this initiative will help stabilize and possibly encourage the expansion of our local community-based transit elsewhere within the district.