Nova Scotia

Village of Baddeck's move to dissolve raises questions about finances, future

The Nova Scotia village's finances is matter of 'quite a lot of concern,' says CAO.

Baddeck village commission wants to become part of Victoria County

A sign welcomes visitors to Baddeck, N.S. Commissioners for the village began seriously considering dissolution last year. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

The Village of Baddeck's move to dissolve and join with the surrounding County of Victoria has raised questions with no immediate answers.

For one, what is the state of the Nova Scotia village's finances?

"One of the particular points to review in terms of noting their finances is their financial statements. And the commission hasn't filed a financial statement because of its circumstances in the last two years," said Mark Peck, associate deputy minister with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The commissioners for the 113-year-old village began seriously considering dissolution last year, saying they had been discussing the high cost of providing sewer and water services with aging infrastructure, and might have to consider hiking taxes and fees.

The village's chief administrative officer later proposed a plan to cut costs by taking over the sewer and water accounts from the county. But earlier this year, she was let go and retired CAO Maris Freimanis was brought in to straighten out the finances.

General account 'depleted,' says CAO

In an interview Monday with CBC Radio's Information Morning Cape Breton, Freimanis said there have been no audits performed over the past two years, and tax and water bills have been delayed.

Freimanis said he couldn't explain why that is, because it involves personnel issues. But he did say the village's financial situation is a matter of "quite a lot of concern."

"Basically, the general account currently now is depleted," he said.

"The tax bills that went out recently should restore some funds into that account. But really, it's going to be very difficult to make it to the end of the year with the general account."

Freimanis said a key problem is that Baddeck only has one administrative employee, which is not sufficient to run the village, and there are no funds to hire more people.

"And certainly I don't think increasing the area rate for taxes is going to provide a viable solution there," he said.

Mark Peck, associate deputy minister with the Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing, says Victoria County is 'well aware' of Baddeck's financial difficulties. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

That raises the question of whether Victoria County and its taxpayers will want to take on the obligations of the Village of Baddeck. 

"Ah, tough one," said Peck. "I know the county is well aware of the situation. And no doubt that council and staff are keeping in mind ... what the implications could be."

Baddeck residents will have their say on whether they want to dissolve the village at a community meeting on Dec. 2.

Pending the outcome of that vote, the commission will then submit a request to the minister.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Holly Conners is a reporter and current affairs producer who has been with CBC Cape Breton since 1998. Contact her at holly.conners@cbc.ca.

With files from CBC Radio's Information Morning Cape Breton

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now