A few highlights from Council on the 23rd:
- Council endorsed setting up a task force to start implementing an open data initiative at City Hall. Kudos to Trevor Twining, Laura Ip and everyone else who was involved in putting together an excellent presentation, and helping to drive the City towards open data. I am hopeful that our steps in this direction will lead to better service for residents and more engagement by citizens in our community;
- Several changes were made to the city’s procedural bylaw, which explains how we govern ourselves. One of the biggest was my request that in-camera meetings be recorded so that there was an actual record of what is said in-camera. The number of $25,000 for a recording system is, in my estimation, massively inflated. There is no requirement for an expensive recording audio system; two digital audio recorders could be purchased for less than a thousand dollars (and those would be high-end audio recorders). In addition to that, I asked that staff remove the ability for in-camera meetings related to ‘training and education’. I don’t see any need for in-camera meetings of that sort, and Council agreed;
- Council passed the changes to the Open Air fires and Barbecue bylaw, as well as the Rates and Fees for 2015;
- I had the opportunity to thank the members of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Black History for their service over the last 4 years, which culminated last night with their report to City Council. The report will be used by Museum staff as they finish their strategic planning and look at how to incorporate Black History programming into the Lock 3 Museum, so that the stories of black history in Niagara can continue to be told.