2 mayors criticize how N.S. rates financial health of municipalities

Written by on October 29, 2020

The mayors of two Nova Scotia cities are taking exception to the evaluation system utilized by the province to charge the monetary well being of municipalities.

“The province’s evaluation device is flawed,” stated David Mitchell, the mayor of Bridgewater.

“It gives the look that you simply’re struggling financially, actually we’re not,” stated Nancy Dicks, the mayor of New Glasgow.

Bridgewater and New Glasgow are two of nine municipalities deemed by the province’s financial conditions index to be “high risk of financial instability” based mostly on 2019 monetary data.

In an electronic mail, a spokesperson for the Division of Municipal Affairs, Krista Higdon, stated “the monetary situation indicators are designed to make municipal authorities extra clear to Nova Scotians.”

Municipalities are assessed in 13 totally different classes together with debt and financial savings. New Glasgow was given one purple high-risk flag within the mixed reserves class and yellow moderate-risk flags in 5 different classes.

Nancy Dicks is the mayor of New Glasgow, N.S. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

Dicks believes the city is being penalized for doing ongoing upkeep on its roads and upgrading its water and sewer programs.

“The longer you let your property go, the costlier it’s down the highway to put money into them,” stated Dicks. “So we’ve by no means put cash right into a capital reserve as a result of we proceed to enhance our capital property.”

Bridgewater was given no purple flags in any of the classes, however had six yellow flags, together with one for a price range deficit previously 5 years.

“And that was for these big snowstorms in 2015,” stated Mitchell. “So we have been punished for $20,000 on a $20 million price range.”

David Mitchell is the mayor of Bridgewater. (Stephanie Blanchet/CBC)

Mitchell put an extended clarification of the monetary evaluation in town’s Fb web page final week.

“It might be nice in the event that they [the Department of Municipal Affairs] may develop a extra collaborative perspective on these issues,” he wrote.

Each Mitchell and Dicks imagine that some classes ought to have extra weight than others and wish the evaluation course of modified. Additionally they stated they’ve despatched in feedback to place their monetary state of affairs in context, however they haven’t been added to their publicly accessed evaluation information.

Higdon, the federal government spokesperson, stated the symptoms “have been developed in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities and the Affiliation of Municipal Directors of Nova Scotia.”

She additionally wrote that the division will “proceed to work with municipalities to deal with any points or considerations.”

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