All too soon, summer is winding down. I notice it most in the early evenings, when it gets dark so early. The cooler mornngs are a big change too - it's hard to believe that less than two weeks ago Andrea and I were sweltering through a hot and humid summer day in Toronto before catching the train back to Saskatoon - apparently the first over 30 day that they had enjoyed all year. The Ontario summer was even cooler than ours, which is certainly a change.
The start of fall seems like a time of new beginnings, probably because those school day feelings stay with us our whole lives. Although council doesn't break for the summer, we do have fewer meetings, they start earlier in the day, and we abandon our usual dress code for July and August. So now it's back to the suit, weekly meetings (Council and Executive in alternating weeks), and the 5 p.m. meeting start.
I didn't have my usual summer building project, unlike last year, when I shingled the north half of the house, or the year before when I built a deck. This year I did spend some time at Ingrid's house in Saskatoon, replacing the frames around her two front windows, and replacing the roof vent. We also spent some time helping Guthrie as he moved to Saskatoon to start a new job, and find new living arrangements. I do have an indoor project planned - putting new hardwood floors in the living room, and putting in new under-floor heating there as well. It's the kind of project that doesn't depend on a stretch of good weather, and shouldn't be as brutal on me as last year's roof project turned out to be.
For council, this fall marks the half-way point of the current term. We have continued to work well as a team, and I think that we've made good progress on one of our major goals, catching up on some of the road repair backlog, although not as much as last year, because of the weather. And we've set some new targets for ourselves, most notably our goal of having the budget process completed before the end of the calendar year, rather than in the spring.
Shifting the timeline for the budget back by months is going to require extra effort by administration, since many of our budget decisions depend on knowing how this year's money has been spent, and the turnaround on that information isn't always known quickly. However, the target was made known quite early - if it turns out not to be feasible, then adjustments will have to be made to the process.
As always, I hope that as a council we do a better job of focusing on the job at hand, and we take the energy of the new beginning of fall to remember our priorities, and work together to keep the momentum going through the winter.
"You can't turn the clock back, so you have to look ahead." - Mel Gibson