New task force to look at municipality issues
The province has committed $100,000 to a Towns Task Force — which will study the challenges Nova Scotian municipalities are facing.
Earlier this month, the six-member Bridgetown council resigned over the town's ongoing financial problems, which is one reason the task force was set up.
The task force will look at development outside town boundaries and ways of working together to provide services more cheaply.
"Tackling these issues won't be easy," said Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell in a news release.
"Their recommendations will help us keep our communities great places to live, work and raise families."
The task force will address issues such as development outside town boundaries, finding ways to work together to deliver services at lower costs, amalgamation of smaller municipalities and finding room for towns to grow.
Kentville Mayor David Corkum, chair of the task force, told The Canadian Press earlier this month that small towns are finding it particularly difficult meeting the basic requirements for roads and updated water and sewer standards.
The volunteers met Thursday and will present preliminary findings to the province this fall.
The province will fund research and other work the task force deems necessary.
"Towns in Nova Scotia have a wide range of pressures, everything from declining tax bases to expanding boundaries," Corkum said in the release.
Corkum said the municipalities need to work together to find creative solutions to problems.
Corkum told CBC News earlier this month that he figures at least three other towns are in financial trouble.
Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter said the ideas discussed would help all municipalities.
The Towns Task Force is a joint effort of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities and the province.
Municipal representatives are Corkum, Hunter, Billy Joe MacLean, mayor of Port Hawkesbury, Darian Huskilson, mayor of Lockeport, Lunenburg councillor Sandra Statton and HRM councillor Russell Walker.
With files from The Canadian Press