Development of Local Government in Nova Scotia

“The basic governmental structure, as it exists to-day, was completed in 1923 with the passing of the Village Supply Act and more recently in 1925 when provision was made for communities. While cities, towns and municipalities constitute the basic units of local government, with villages and communities of lesser importance, a wide variety of governmental organizations perform functions in local areas. Some of these are properly described as units of government, others as types of governmental organization. Still others are merely administrative mechanisms controlled and operated by one or more governmental units.

At the present time the law provides for twelve distinct types of governmental organizations or entities for the performance of certain specific or general functions with the power to raise revenue by taxation or incur expenditures against a particular district. Their geographical and political interrelationship is such that the powers of cities and towns are mutually exclusive from those of the municipality, and in some cases county, of which they constitute an integral geographical part.

But, while only the council of a city or town has power to raise revenue by taxation within that area, the inhabitants may in certain circumstances be brought within the jurisdictional area of either a Joint School Board or a County Board of Health, or both. Nine distinct types may be established to function within the area of a municipal unit. In addition to the municipal government, the law provides for the compulsory organization of school sections, poor districts, fire districts, health districts and for the permissive organization of villages, communities, a County Health Board and either a municipal or a Joint School Board. While the maximum number which must be organized is four, only three have direct tax raising power the municipality, the village and the school section.”

McAllister, G. A. “Development of Local Government in Nova Scotia” Public Affairs: A Maritime Quarterly for Discussion of Public Affairs, vol.7, no.1

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