Councillor Russell Walker
I hope everyone is enjoying the winter and that you purchased a good snow blower!
I would like to update you on a number of activities that have transpired over the past few months.
On January 31, myself and UNSM Executive members met with a number of provincial ministers for a round table meeting. Ministers in attendance included John MacDonell (Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations), Sterling Belliveau (Environment and Fisheries and Aquaculture), Ross Landry (Justice), Leonard Preyra (Communities, Culture and Heritage), and Maurice Smith (Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal). The UNSM presented the following items:
- Building the Provincial -Municipal Relationship
- UNSM Pre-Budget Submission
- Fiscal Review
- Infrastructure Program
- Towns Task Force Update
- Regional Enterprise Networks.
The UNSM Executive highlighted the following points with respect to our pre-budget submission:
- UNSM recognizes the Province's “Back to Balance” goal
- Municipalities have contributed to this goal through provincial changes to the MOU ($50 million +)
- At a minimum UNSM expects a “Do No Harm” approach with no further unexpected financial impacts on municipal budgets
- Federal-Provincial regulations will have enormous financial impacts on Nova Scotia municipalities – well over $1 Billion
- Municipal expenditures are growing slightly less than provincial expenditures
- UNSM recognizes that municipalities must be viable – this is being addressed through the Towns Task Force and Fiscal Review
- Municipalities expect more support in 2014-15