Regional Municipalities Bill Introduced

MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS--REGIONAL MUNICIPALITIES BILL INTRODUCED


  Nova Scotia municipalities who are considering amalgamation
  will soon have a legislative framework in place. Municipal
  Affairs Minister Sandy Jolly introduced a Regional
  Municipalities Bill in the Legislature today.
  
  "This new legislation will be used only when requested by
  municipalities," said the minister. "It's voluntary. It's
  there when they choose to use it."
  
  The Regional Municipalities Bill is made up of two
  divisions. The first contains definitions, a description on
  how the regional legislation is activated, and an outline of
  the rules to change municipal units to regional
  municipalities.
  
  The second division contains provisions dealing with the
  organization, powers and responsibilities of a regional
  municipality. The majority of what is contained in this bill
  is taken from the Halifax Regional Municipality Act.
  
  The minister outlined the process for future amalgamations. 
  First, she said, there must be a study requested by one or
  more councils in a county. Second, there must be a request
  for regional government by a majority of the municipal
  units. The power to establish a regional municipality cannot
  be exercised unless the majority of the councils in a
  particular county request it.
  
  "The province believes that municipalities have the
  interests of their communities at heart," the minister said.
  "They will move to regional government when it is shown to
  be advantageous."
  
  The minister noted that studies have been requested, and are
  about to be undertaken, in Cumberland and Pictou Counties. 
  Colchester municipal units have undertaken their own study. 
  A regional government will not be established in any of
  these counties unless requested, she said.
  
  "Our goal is to create strong local governments that meet
  the needs of today's taxpayers in terms of their structure
  and their ability to pay, their ability to plan, and deliver
  services in the best way possible," the minister said.
  
  The minister reiterated the benefits in amalgamation. Those
  benefits include less government, streamlined service
  delivery and more focused decisions.
  
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  Contact: Michelle Whelan  902-424-6336
  
  trp                       Oct. 26, 1995

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