The Town of Amherst is keeping its police force.
The decision to keep the local department and not request a proposal from the RCMP was made by Amherst town council on Dec. 17 after it received two reports on policing that it commissioned last May.
In passing the motion, council also directed town and police department staffs to work together on an expanded internally focused review that would seek ways to increase efficiencies within the department while also examining opportunities to expand the services offered by the force.
The pause button has been pressed on the $2.3-million Willow Street infrastructure renewal project.
Work on the project began in September when workers from Beale and Inch Construction Ltd. removed pavement at the corner of Spring and Willow streets. Between then and the stoppage of construction around the end of November, crews replaced the water main on Willow Street between Spring Street and Walter Purdy Drive.
They also installed new fire hydrants, modified some existing storm and sanitary sewer systems, reconstructed the road subgrade, installed new concrete curbs and gutters and applied an asphalt base coat.
Amherst is a “very attractive town,” Communities in Bloom judge Judith Cabrita said in a recently released report containing the results of her inspection of the town.
“As the first urban area for visitor vehicular traffic, and as one of only two land entrances (to the province), it represents Nova Scotia well and is a great entranceway and introduction to the province.”
Cabrita inspected the town on Sept. 13 for tidiness, environmental action, heritage conservation, urban forestry, landscape and floral displays. She gave the town “four blooms” for achieving an average mark of 75.2 per cent in those areas.
Amherst town council rescinded its existing travel policy and adopted new expense reimbursement and hospitality policies during its Nov. 26 council session.
The changes bring the town in line with new provincial legislation that came into effect after expense irregularities were found in some Nova Scotia municipalities. The changes in provincial legislation required the town to establish separate expense and hospitality policies.
The expense policy prohibits the municipality from reimbursing expense claims for alcohol, identifies those who have the signing authority to reimburse expenses, sets out the rules for using corporate credit cards, outlines permitted expenses and the procedures for claiming them.