Second reading of Deed Transfer Tax bylaw amendment passed by Amherst town council

Amherst town council approved the second reading of an amendment to the Deed Transfer Tax during a special meeting on June 18.

The amendment increases the Deed Transfer Tax to 1.25 per cent from one per cent of the sale price or value of property. The amendment is to take effect July 1.

The first reading of the amendment to Deed Transfer Tax was held on May 23 and a notice of intent was published on June 2.

The increase in the Deed Transfer Tax is expected to generate $50,000, which is earmarked for poverty reduction, one of council’s strategic priorities.

Regional emergency plan gets committee of the whole’s approval

Amherst’s town council’s committee of the whole agreed to send an upgraded regional emergency plan, presented to them by Fire Chief Greg Jones, to the June 25 council session for approval.

The updated plan was developed to ensure the three municipalities in Cumberland County – the Municipality of Cumberland, Amherst and Oxford – work from the same emergency plan.

The new plan will go into effect once all three municipalities approve it.

Changes recommended to Amherst Youth Town Council policy

The Amherst Youth Town Council is recommending the term for members of the council be increased to two years from one.

The recommendation from the youth council to change the length of service was the result of several youth councillors feeling they were just learning to do the job properly when their terms ended.

The youth council asked Amherst town council’s committee of the whole to send their recommendation to the June 25 session of council for approval, which the committee agreed to do.

Dickey Park off-leash dog park a step closer

The development of an off-leash dog park in Dickey Park took another step towards reality on June 18 when Amherst town council’s committee of the whole agreed to send the $35,000 project to the June 25 council session for approval.

The recommendation to send the project to council for approval was made by the Recreation Department during the committee of the whole meeting. The department noted their recommendation followed a successful pilot project at the Robbs complex that ended in April and council’s direction in the same month to develop a scope of work for a dog park in Dickey Park.

The department also noted that Dickey Park was a close second to the Robb complex as a preferred location.

East Pleasant Street reconstruction tender

The committee of the whole approved a recommendation by the Operations Department to refer the awarding of a tender for the East Pleasant Street to the June 25 council session for approval.

“A” Fresh Start

An amendment to the Town of Amherst’s Community Support Grant has been sent by the committee of the whole to the June 25 council session for approval.

The amendment would see the introduction of the “A” Fresh Start initiative, which would see presentations made by groups seeking community support grants in a meeting open to the public. Following the presentations, those attending the meeting would then vote for the projects they thought should get funding, in a manner similar to the 100 Women Who Care format.

In order to qualify for a Fresh Start initiative, the money being sought the community groups must be for creative new events or initiatives, or to enhance current programs. About $17,500 has been budgeted this year for the initiative.

Join forces

Amherst town council’s committee of the whole directed town staff to join forces with the Cumberland Energy Authority in order to apply for a FCM Climate Change Staff Grant and a Efficiency NS Onsite Energy Manager Grant as well as funding from the Clean Energy and Building Efficiency Program and the Solar Electricity for Community Buildings Program.

Railway crossing upgrades

Town staff inform the committee that changes to railway crossings as mandated by Transport Canada will be required to ensure the railway crossings on Industrial Park Drive and Chamberlain, Victoria and Erncliff streets meet updated safety regulations.

Staff said the details of the cost of upgrading the railway crossings, which would be shared with CN, are still being worked on and when more information is available the matter will be brought back to the committee of the whole.

Urban chickens

The committee of the whole directed staff and the town’s planning advisory committee to investigate the possibility of allowing citizens to keep chickens within town boundaries. The direction came after the committee received a report on what regulations other communities have in regards to urban farming.

The Town of Amherst current bylaws prevent urban farming from taking place within town boundaries.