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Tax rates stay the same; Municipality of Shelburne council outlines priorities in its budget

Municipality of Shelburne building. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
Municipality of Shelburne building. TINA COMEAU PHOTO - Tina Comeau
SHELBURNE, N.S. —

The Municipality of Shelburne has approved a $8,200,212 budget for the 2019/20 fiscal year, maintaining the current residential and resource tax rate of $1.26 per $100 of assessment and current commercial tax rate of $1.82 per $100 of assessment.

“This budget is the continuation of investing in our community and our residents by doing it strategically and within our own fiscal resources entrusted to us by the community,” said Warden Penny Smith in the Warden’s Budget Address on March 25. “We will continue to work with neighboring municipalities and others to become as efficient and effective as possible through sharing resources where possible to help keep costs lower for our citizens and businesses. We will also continue to be a positive proponent of such arrangements where our residents will see a clear benefit in doing so.”

HEALTH CARE

Quality health care has been and continues to remain a top priority for council into the upcoming fiscal year, said Warden Smith. The municipality is involved in a number of initiatives including being actively engaged in a variety of recruitment efforts, including partnering with the Roseway Hospital Foundation to fund ‘return of service’ contracts with Doctors, partnering with the Municipality of Barrington and the Roseway Hospital Charitable Foundation to annually provide locum funding for temporary housing for ER doctors from outside the area while they are working at Roseway, and collaborating with the Municipality of Barrington in its efforts to secure the services of a family doctor who has agreed to serve one 12 hour shift per week for a period of one year in the Roseway Hospital Emergency Department.

RURAL INTERNET

Rural internet service is also a priority for the Municipality of Shelburne again this year, with approximately $1.14 million designated for the $5.2 million Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Broadband Project. The project is aimed at providing high-speed internet service to at least 95 percent of rural households.

MARINE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

Warden Smith said the municipality is continuing “to move forward with the development of the Shelburne County Marine Centre of Excellence. The proposed Marine Centre of Excellence will be an integral component in helping Nova Scotia become Canada’s lead on marine research, technology, and related products, services, and businesses and it will work with all levels of government, marine industries and stakeholders, non-profit organizations with a focus on community development and the ocean sector, to advance the long-term sustainability of the fisheries and marine sectors.

The establishment of Shelburne County Marine Centre of Excellence “is strongly supported by our partners at Dalhousie University and NSCC Shelburne Campus and we have significant expressions of interest from Development Nova Scotia, COVE, and Ignite Labs,” said Warden Smith. “We have also had very encouraging meetings with representatives from ACOA and the Atlantic Fisheries Fund and we will continue to move this matter forward.”

NEW MUNICIPAL BUILDING

The Municipality is also going ahead with plans for a new, modern municipal building. “Our goal is to create a tri-government complex where our residents can access municipal, provincial and federal services. We are working with the federal government to secure space in our new building for Employment Services Development Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. We are also working with the provincial government for the relocation of the court house and Registry of Motor Vehicles to the new complex.”

Initial estimates for the capital cost for the new municipal building are approximately $11 million, with up to two-thirds of the complex being occupied by rent paying tenants, said Warden Smith. The municipality is continuing to work with the architect on the conceptual design of the building.

ACCESSIBILITY REVIEW AND REGIONAL COOPERATION

The budget also includes funding to hire a consultant to conduct a full accessibility review of Welkum Park, with recommendations on how to make the park fully accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Regional cooperation with the Town of Shelburne and the Town of Lockeport with respect to the possibility of a regional municipal planning strategy and complimentary land use bylaws; partnering with the Municipality of Barrington and the Town of Shelburne on the development of a mobile tourism website/ app called the Show Me App; and a cost-shared Fire Services Agreement with the Town of Shelburne for the provision of fire protection services by the Shelburne Fire Department for municipal residents impacted by the closure of the Port Clyde Fire Department are among the other initiatives being pursued by the Municipality this year.

The budget also continues to fund reserves with $315,510 being budgeted for the capital reserve and $200,000 for the operating reserve, said Warden Smith. “At the end of fiscal 2019-20, the Municipality’s total reserves will be approximately $4,992,038, once all projects are completed for the year.”

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