By Greg Bennett
There will be two fewer Shelburne Town Councillors after the fall municipal elections.
Roland Deveau, acting vice chair for the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board made his decision immediately after hearing final submissions on the issue during a March 27 public hearing.
Deveau noted that the small turnout for the meeting and said if people in the town had been against the move “they would be here today.”
The hearing saw three people speak in favor of the move, including former town clerk Wilmont Hardy who said that while he didn’t personally agree with all the structural changes the Town had implemented that he believed a reduction of councillors made common and economic sense.
The hearing was the last of three public meetings on the issue. After the first URB meeting, Deveau decided that more public input was required before he made a decision.
The URB vice chair noted that decision to the lone person to speak against the application.
Doug Langley, who echoed some of his comments from the two previous meetings, argued that more people would have come out in opposition but for the feeling that they would open themselves to ridicule and they “can’t fight city hall.”
“I think it’s wrong,” he said.
Langley also repeated his concerns that for a savings of about $24,000 on a budget in excess of $2-million, that the elimination of two extra voices from town council was unnecessary.
Shelburne Town Deputy Mayor Elizabeth Acker noted that since moving to a system headed by a Chief Administrative Officer, that the workload for councillors had been greatly diminished and that she felt the reduction was a progressive move for the town.
Although municipal amalgamation had been a topic of the first URB hearing, Deveau agreed that it was a separate issue from the application for a reduction in councillors.