A major milestone has been achieved in intermunicipal co-operation between the Town of Amherst and the Municipality of the County of Cumberland.
A memorandum of understanding between the two units that will enable new and existing Cumberland County residential properties, located on Highway 6 between the town boundary and Exit 3, access to a town sewer main was approved by Amherst town council during a meeting on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021.
The memorandum, which has already been approved by the Municipality of Cumberland, makes it clear no commercial property can be connected to the sewer line and no extension of the line will take place without the approval of the Amherst town council. In addition, the Cumberland residents will be required to adhere to all the town’s sanitary sewer policies and bylaws.
Significantly, the memorandum states the two municipalities will share in any increase in assessment and subsequent tax revenue from Cumberland properties accessing the sewer service, with the county receiving 65 per cent and the town 35 per cent of the additional revenue.
A $2,000 Community Support grant to the Amherst Food Assistance Network was approved by the council in order to assist the network with the increased cost of providing Christmas Cheer Boxes to families in need.
In making the request for the grant, the network noted that within the past year the number of people accessing their services has increased, while the cost of food has risen significantly.
In approving the grant, council noted COVID-19 has affected the economy and families and has had an even greater effect on those who are already struggling to make ends meet financially.
Appointments to the town’s North Tyndal Wellfield Advisory Committee and the Amherst Audit Committee were approved by the council.
Appointed as a citizen appointee to a one-year term on the wellfield committee was Ben Pitman. Reappointed to two-year terms as citizen appointees on the audit committee were Jeff Brennan and Robert Small.
Council approved amendments to the town’s snow and ice management policy.
The amendments included updating the list in the policy of town-owned and/or -leased parking lots, a definition of “bare pavement” and formally establishing a priority sidewalk snow-clearing route, which has been in effect on a trial basis for the past two years.
This priority route is intended to make pedestrian travel on some of the town’s busier sidewalks safer during snow-clearing operations.
Amendments to the town’s salary administration policy were approved by the council.
Following a salary review of wage rates across municipalities of similar size and services, several positions were identified as being below market values.
The amendments adjusted the rates of pay for the town’s active living co-ordinator, bylaw enforcement officer, culture, events and marketing co-ordinator, dispatcher, firefighter and fire inspector.
In addition, council approved a two percent wage adjustment for the entire salary grid, effective Jan. 1, 2022. This adjustment will bring the salary grid more in line with other similar Nova Scotia municipalities and ensures the town offers a competitive salary to its employees.