Nova Scotia

Province now debt collector for 31 municipalities

The Nova Scotia government is taking over debt collection for more than half of the municipalities in the province.

The Nova Scotia government is taking over debt collection for more than half of the municipalities in the province.

Under regulations released this week, any debt owed to municipalities is a debt owed to the province.

31 municipalities:

  • County of Antigonish
  • District of Argyle
  • Barrington
  • District of Chester
  • Clare
  • County of Colchester
  • District of Digby
  • District of Guysborough
  • Halifax Regional Municipality
  • District of East Hants
  • District of West Hants
  • District of Lunenburg
  • County of Pictou
  • Region of Queens
  • District of St. Mary's
  • Town of Antigonish
  • Town of Berwick
  • Town of Bridgetown
  • Town of Clark's Harbour
  • Town of Digby
  • Town of Lockeport
  • Town of Mahone Bay
  • Town of Middleton
  • Town of Mulgrave
  • Town of New Glasgow
  • Town of Oxford
  • Town of Shelburne
  • Town of Stewiacke
  • Town of Trenton
  • Town of Windsor
  • Village of Pugwash

In practical terms, this means corporate collection services at Service Nova Scotia becomes the debt collector of unpaid fines levied for municipal bylaw violations as of Sept. 13.

"Reducing the debt owed to municipalities allows more money to go into their budgets for services and programs, benefiting residents and making life more affordable," Service Nova Scotia spokeswoman Celeste Sulliman told CBC News.

The order was requested by 31 of the province's 55 municipalities. All of them — from Argyle to Guysborough — are on the mainland.

The province estimates that unpaid fines for all municipalities total $8 million, but says it doesn't know how much is owed to the 31 in question.

"At this point in the process we don't have specific numbers by municipal unit or the exact amount of debt," Sulliman said.

"A debt inventory is an initial part of the process, and we will be gathering this information for some time before an amount by unit becomes clear.

"We are rolling this out by working with municipal units who have this option available on a totally voluntary basis."

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