We will do our best to answer all of your questions around the consolidation. These are the questions we have heard so far.
The first step was for the Town of Windsor and the Municipality of the District of West Hants to pass motions agreeing to enter negotiations to voluntarily consolidate the two municipalities through legislation. These motions passed in July 2018. We then approached the Provincial Government requesting legislation that would allow the consolidation process to proceed.
The special legislation, or Bill 55, passed in Fall 2018. The legislation was required as our situation is unique. Typically, under the Municipal Government Act, a regional government would be formed of all the municipalities in a particular county where as in this case, only Windsor and West Hants wish to consolidate.
The special legislation addresses transitional matters and allows for the voluntary consolidation of our two communities. It outlines the appointment of a transition co-ordinator and establishment of a transition co-ordinating committee and the responsibilities of each.
Our Transition Co-ordinator, Kevin Latimer, was hired in December 2018 and the Co-ordinating Committee was formed. The Co-ordinating Committee has begun the complex work of bringing our two municipalities together. Matters which require research will need to be identified and studies will be completed in various areas.
The Co-ordinating Committee consists of the Co-ordinator, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of the Town and the Warden and Deputy Warden of the Municipality. Two Councillors are appointed to the Committee to sit as alternates as well.
The consolidation will be complete by April 2020.
The coming together of two communities is a complex undertaking. There is a lot of work to be done including studies around human resources and infrastructure.
The Province has committed to providing transition funding and is considering further financial support as needs are identified. The Co-ordinating Committee has been tasked with coming up with a plan for funding.
It will be spent on establishing the Transition Co-ordinator and Co-ordinating Committee and any reports that are required to guide the consolidation of the new region, such as the Governance Study.
We have developed a principle to guide this aspect of the consolidation. When developing the blended administrative structure of the new Regional Government all efforts will be made to ensure that there is no job loss as a result of the consolidation. We will strive for any planned efficiencies to be achieved through attrition and maintaining corporate knowledge.
No, we are making our own decisions about consolidation and are demonstrating leadership in making decisions which we feel are in the best interests of all residents of both municipalities. Both the Town of Windsor and the Municipality of the District of West Hants passed motions asking the Province to pass legislation.
There are many varied interests at play, however, for the most part, residents are supportive.
The Transition Committee will lead the transition position however, the Councils have developed guiding principles that will help the Transition Committee make decisions about the new Regional Municipality. These guiding principles can be found here (insert link to guiding principles).
Yes. The public engagement has been identified as a guiding principle throughout this process and the Transition Committee is committed to ensuring that the residents of both municipal units are able to help shape our new Regional Municipality.
There is no difference. They mean the same thing.
Through a dissolution, a municipal unit surrenders its charter and ceases to exist. The assets of the dissolving unit are then absorbed into a neighbouring municipal unit that is willing to accept them.
Through consolidation, both municipal units surrender their charters and cease to exist. The assets of both of those units are then consolidated into a new municipal unit.
Tax rates are set each year by Council and are based on services that residents receive. The consolidation process will not increase the tax rate.
Currently residents pay a residential tax rate based on their property assessment. Included in this rate are costs for policing, schools and the education system, corrections and prisons, and garbage/recycling.
In the communities of Hantsport, Three Mile Plains, and Falmouth, residents pay an area rate for such things as sidewalks, street lights and snow removal which is added to their tax bill. There are also associated costs for residents who use town/municipal water and sewer. Residents who do not directly receive these services do not pay for them.
Consolidation is about much more than tax rates going up or down. It is about the Hants West region having the ability to reinvent itself and move forward as a stronger region.
We have so many great things happening in our area such as the twinning of Highway 101, new sports complexes, world class festivals, new developments, incredible trails and roots strong in history and tradition. The potential for the future of our region is endless.
This consolidation will eliminate the red tape that exists between our two competing municipal units, create a unified vision for growth and development while creating efficiencies by reducing duplication of services and resources.
The Council of the new municipal unit will be unified with a focused approach to making decisions for our entire region.
Our region is very large. We are fortunate that many of our districts have reliable internet, postal service, cell service etc. but others do not. We continue to strive to discover the best mix of delivery methods that guarantees the message is always delivered 100%.
We are using this website along with our municipal sites, Facebook and Twitter to post information as well there have been Town Hall meetings in our communities to provide the opportunity for residents to discuss concerns and ask questions about the consolidation.
If you still feel as though you are not hearing information you can always contact your Warden, Mayor or Councillor at any time. They have been elected by you to serve you and would be more than happy to answer any questions or talk about matters that are important to you.
Contact our Communications Coordinator, Chrystal Remme if you are having issues receiving information at 902-798-8391 ext#109.
How the debt burden of the two units is paid moving forward will be a decision of the new Regional Council. It is anticipated that the debts will remain with each municipal unit, however there is no way to determine the decisions of future Council.
Through the consolidation process, the charters of both the Municipality and the Town will be dissolved but the communities in our regions will remain. Windsor will still be Windsor, Brooklyn will still be Brooklyn, Falmouth will still be Falmouth, Summerville will still be Summerville, so too will every other community in our beautiful area. No community will lose its identity.
The rural areas in West Hants are our backbone and consist of some of our most engaged residents. Council has committed to ensuring the needs of our rural residents are addressed through the recent creation of the Rural Representation Committee comprising of three councillors of the municipality and four residents from the rural area.