News

Colchester holds the line on tax rates yet again

Colchester County Council successfully approved its 2022/23 operating budget last evening with no increases to the residential or commercial tax rates. This is the fourth year of the last five that the Municipality has been able to hold the line on its rates, with just a half cent increase in 2019.

“The cost of living has been rising at an alarming rate. Council is aware of the financial pressure this has been putting on our residents. Although our Municipality is facing similar rising costs, we were determined to do our best to avoid an increase in our tax rates. I am pleased to announce that we achieved just that,” said Christine Blair, Mayor of the Municipality of Colchester.

The Municipality prides itself on delivering a high level of service to residents while maintaining one of the lowest municipal tax rates in the province. Calculated spending, investment in contingency reserve funds, and long-term forecasting have all contributed to the Municipality’s stable financial position.

In addition to careful spending, this year’s $35 Million budget continues to invest in critical infrastructure and economic development initiatives in the County including rural broadband internet, Debert Business Park and Airport, Fundy Discovery Site, the Cliffs of Fundy UNESCO Global Geopark and other partnerships such as the Truro Colchester Partnership for Economic Prosperity (TCPEP) and the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

Funding to support the repaving of deteriorating, Provincially-owned J-class roads (subdivision roads built prior to 1995) in the county was not included in this year’s budget. Despite generating significant debate, most of Council were opposed to paying to help fix roads not owned by the Municipality, holding firm to the point that roads owned by the Province should be the sole responsibility of the Province.

With an emissions target of net zero by 2050, the Municipality will continue to lead environmental change by investing in its recently adopted Carbon-Free Colchester Plan including initiatives such as Cozy Colchester and Solar Colchester that offer residents interest-free loan programs to increase home energy efficiency.

Numerous community organizations will also receive support through the County’s extensive not-for-profit grant programs. “It is rewarding to support the many community groups providing such important services and facilities across our Municipality. This support is especially needed as organizations aim to bounce back from the challenges of the past two years,” remarked Mayor Blair.

Each year the County’s operating budget is set within a context of competing needs, requests, opportunities, and anticipated revenues. Some costs and revenue streams are not within the Municipality’s control. Over 44% of taxes collected by the Municipality are transferred to the Provincial Government for services such as schools, housing, libraries, assessment services, corrections, and policing.

Policing costs to the Municipality alone went up 11.04% contributing to the total 5.4% increase in required mandatory payments to the Province, which totaled $15.68 Million. Such rising costs made the budgeting process even more demanding this year.

Colchester County Council remains optimistic about the municipality’s future with much to look forward to in the year ahead.

Truro-Colchester + You. Moving Accessibility Forward Plan

Read the approved Truro-Colchester + You. Moving Accessibility Forward Plan.

or read the summary document. 

The Truro-Colchester Moving Accessibility Forward Plan addresses accessibility improvements for the Truro-Colchester Region which includes Municipality of Colchester, Town of Truro, Town of Stewiacke, Village of Bible Hill, and Village of Tatamagouche. Working with the Regional Accessibility Committee, reachAbility attempted to include the range and experiences of all disabilities and all intersectional barriers. Based on the research reachAbility did and the feedback received, the plan provides recommendations for the Municipality, Towns, and Villages regarding Employment, Transportation, Built Environment, Information and Communication, Goods and Services, and Awareness and Capacity Building.

Community space to open during Mass Casualty Commission Hearings

A community space is being opened in Debert during the Mass Casualty Commission Public Hearings. The Debert Fire Hall will open its doors to offer members of the community a place to go and connect with others in an informal and welcoming environment. Tea and coffee will be available. A community navigator will also be onsite to offer support and resources for those who need it.

Dates and Times:

Wednesday, March 30 (10 -4)

Thursday, March 31 (10 -4)

Friday, April 1 (10 – 12)

Address:
Debert Fire Hall
34 Carter Road,
Debert, NS, B0M 1G0

 

French River Watershed Designated as Protected Water Area

Provincial Environment Minister Tim Halman has designated the French River Watershed as a Protected Water Area. As a result, the watershed that gives people of Tatamagouche their drinking water is now protected provincially, further safeguarding access to quality water for area residents.

The application process for the Protected Water Area designation was initiated by the Municipality of Colchester in 2018. Extensive public consultation, including a public survey and community meetings, supported the application and informed the regulations implemented to protect the watershed area.

“It was clear from the public consultation process that most area residents were in favour of advancing the application for the Protected Water Area designation,” said Christine Blair, Mayor of the Municipality of Colchester. “Clean water is one of the most fundamental needs of a community. It is essential to human health, a healthy environment, and a sustainable economy. We are pleased to be able to protect this valuable resource for generations both now and into the future.”

The Protected Water Area regulations protect drinking water supplies by giving municipalities the authority to manage watersheds, including restricting or prohibiting activities that may impact water quality or quantity. Now that the watershed is designated as a Protected Water Area the Tatamagouche Water Utility, owned and operated by the Municipality, is responsible for protecting the area and enforcing the regulations.

“The watershed provides water for the village of Tatamagouche. It’s important that we maintain the pristine water that the village is fortunate enough to have. I am pleased the government has taken into consideration the work that was done to protect the watershed and has designated it as a Protected Water Area. Kudos need to go to the staff of the Municipality for the work that went into getting here and to the community for standing up to be heard. I am over the moon,” said Michael Gregory, Councillor, Municipality of Colchester and Chair of the Tatamagouche Source Water Protection Committee.

More information on the Protected Water Area regulations.

Moving Accessibility Forward

The Regional Accessibility Committee and the Truro-Colchester Region want to ensure everyone can access Municipal, Town, and Village services. Share your feedback on accessibility in the Truro-Colchester Region through the "Moving Accessibility Forward" project. Community insights will be used to help shape the creation of an Accessibility Plan for improving access to and awareness of the services, programs, and infrastructure owned or operated by the Municipality, Towns, and Villages.

Visit the project page for more information: https://www.reachability.org/colchester-and-you-moving-accessibility-forward

Take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VLRS7SQ

Join the conversation at upcoming virtual engagement sessions: https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/moving-accessibility-forward-69199

Donations in Memory of Bill Masters

At the request of Bill’s family, the Municipality of Colchester will accept donations for the expansion of the Fundy Discovery Site Playground in memory of Bill Masters who served as a Councillor and Deputy Mayor. He was also a driving force behind this project. Donations should be made out to the “Fundy Discovery Site Playground Project in care of the Municipality of Colchester” and can be dropped off or mailed to Mattatall – Varner Funeral Home or the Municipality of Colchester at 1 Church Street, Truro, NS  B2N 3Z5.


Council and staff extend our sincerest sympathies to Bill’s family and friends and are grateful for any contributions made to this community project in his memory. Receipts will be issued by the Municipality.

Donations in Memory of Bill Masters