The 2021-22 mandatory provincial contribution area rate was set by Amherst town council at 40.2 cents per $100 of assessment when it met on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021.
The area rate raises the funds needed to cover the portion of provincial services – education, assessment services, correction services, housing and regional library services – the province requires the town to pay.
The town has no control or input into these costs, which for the 2021-22 fiscal year is estimated to be just under $2.2 million.
The new area rate is half a cent higher than last year’s rate of 39.7 cents per $100 of assessment. The increase was caused by rising costs to the town’s share of education services, which was increased by $32,983, and regional library services that went up by $25,479.
An updated Northern Region Solid Waste Agreement was approved by council, which also authorized the mayor and CAO to sign the document.
The agreement enables Colchester County, Cumberland County and the District of East Hants to collaborate in order to meet the waste resource objectives set by the provincial environment minister.
These objectives include, but are not limited to, solid waste resource management reports, plans, disposal targets, diversion goals and distribution of provincial funding.
The updated agreement deals mostly with housekeeping items, such as removing the former towns of Springhill and Parrsboro from the agreement and allowing a committee chairperson to serve more than two consecutive terms.
It also changes the quorum needed for a meeting to four elected representatives from five elected representatives. The financial formula for the committee remains unchanged.
Council approved the purchase of two properties at the corner of Victoria and Havelock streets, at a cost not to exceed $65,000.
The two lots have been used by the town as a public park for more than 20 years, though no formal agreement between the two property owners and the town has ever existed.
As the town worked to formalize an agreement with the owners, it was determined it would be beneficial for the town to own the two properties for the purposes of potential future development.
Revisions to its appointment of council members to external boards, committees and commissions policy were approved by council.
The revisions clarify the circumstances in which council will consider appointments to external boards, committees and commissions. It also outlines the commitment council members will have and the role they will play once appointed by council.
They also require external committees to submit terms of reference for council to consider when determining if a council appointment is appropriate.
In addition, the revisions set out the role council members have when serving on committee they have not been appointed to by council and how reports from external committees are to be made to council.