Municipality says it will lead the way

Sueann Musick, The New Glasgow News
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PICTOU – If change is coming in the way of governance, the Municipality of Pictou County plans on leading the way, says its deputy warden.

 

Andy Thompson opened Monday night’s monthly council meeting with statement on the county’s plans to take a leadership role in getting the local municipal units to cooperate and come together for discussions about a possible memorandum of understanding.

 “Discussions that will take place over the next several months will be driven by this council,” said Thompson. “The Municipality of Pictou County has been good neighbors with the five towns and we believe in a cooperative approach to good government in Pictou County.”

He said county council will protect the interests of its residents, municipal taxpayers and assets when coming up with a new strategy for governance.

“This council will lay out plans and strategies that will lead to meaningful change in this council,” he said.

Thompson’s statement was made a week after New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan announced that it would begin discussions with the Town of Pictou and Municipality of Pictou County to work towards a memorandum of understanding that would include looking at such things regionalized service.   Trenton, Stellarton and Westville were not present at the March 28 press conference hosted by the Town of New Glasgow, but MacMillan said once an MOU is in place, they will have short period of time to decide if they want on board.

The deputy-warden admitted that New Glasgow’s announcement left residents wondering if rural Pictou County was in a “crisis situation” similar to that of Municipality of Springhill when it fact it is one of the most financially sound municipal units in the county.

“Council wants to ensure our residents and taxpayer that the County of Pictou is not in crisis mode,” he said. “The municipality is the largest of six municipal units in Pictou County both in terms of population and tax base….  This council has and will continue to develop policies and procedures that provide for strong fiscal management, cost effective delivery of services and growth opportunities within the municipality. “

This is why the county is committed to looking beyond its own borders and looking at regional initiatives, he said.

Thompson said a governance study would have given the local municipal units the information it needed to move forward in terms of regionalization, but now that the province is no longer funding the study, it is up to the municipalities to do it themselves.

However, he said, this can not be done properly without the involvement of all six municipal units, including Westville, Trenton and Stellarton who were not invited to press conference at New Glasgow town council chambers.

“Municipal council believes however that it is critical that all municipal units begin a dialogue to advance a regional vision. To that end, the towns of Stellarton, Trenton and Westville should be prepared to enter these discussions,” Thompson said. “These discussions require frank and open dialogue to change the way we do things.”

Organizations: New Glasgow town council

Geographic location: Pictou County, New Glasgow, Stellarton Westville

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