News

No Tax Rate Increase as Municipality of Colchester Approves 2020-21 Budget

After much scrutiny and thoughtful deliberation, the Municipality of Colchester approved its 2020-21 Operating Budget at a meeting of Council on May 14th.

The budgeting process was especially challenging this year. Council faced many uncertainties relating to COVID-19 and had to meet through ZOOM virtual meetings rather than in person. Despite the unusual circumstances, they were pleased to successfully achieve a balanced budget without increasing tax rates.

“We recognize that many of our residents and businesses may be struggling right now. We worked hard to find ways to reduce spending without impacting our high standard of service, to ensure that we could keep our tax rates the same.” said Colchester County Mayor, Christine Blair.

“We are proud to have one of the lowest tax rates in rural Nova Scotia. We have continued to invest in our reserve funds in preparation for emergency spending if needed and we have continued to invest in capital projects that will help stimulate our struggling economy while improving local infrastructure. I believe we are well positioned to work through these trying times.” said Mayor Blair.

The Operating Budget is set in a context of competing needs, requests, opportunities, and anticipated revenues. Some costs and revenue streams are not within the Municipality’s control. Taxes collected and required to be transferred to the Provincial Government for services such as schools, housing, libraries, and assessment services, and to the Federal Government for policing, increased $389,081 (2.8%) this year to a total of $14,463,224. It is a notable achievement that Council accommodated this increase in the budget without raising tax rates.

“I’m very proud that in this budget we continue to financially support hard-working community organizations throughout Colchester County,” remarked Mayor Blair. The Municipality provides extensive funding for facilities, programs, events, and many not-for-profit community groups in the County. “It is the vital work that these organizations do that makes our communities wonderful and caring places to live in.”

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Municipal Parks to Re-Open May 4

Consistent with the Provincial announcement easing some restrictions during the State of Emergency, the Municipality of Colchester is in the process of re-opening its parks.  The anticipated opening date is Monday, May 4th.It is important to note that all playgrounds will remain closed until further notice.The Cobequid Trail remains open. When participating in any outdoor activity, take precautions to protect yourself and the people around you.

  • You must practice social distancing during all activities. That means staying 2 metres (6 feet) away from people you don’t live with.
  • Plan your activities only with the people you live with. Gatherings are limited to 5 people or fewer.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling sick.
  • Limit non-essential travel. You should use the parks and trails in your local area, if possible.
  • Keep your hands clean. If you have hand sanitizer, bring it with you.
  • Follow cough and sneeze etiquette. Consider wearing a non-medical mask.

West Colchester Residents Request Privacy be Respected

Residents of the community of Portapique and surrounding area of West Colchester have requested that media please respect their privacy at this time as they grieve and heal from this senseless tragedy.

They have requested that media not enter their community or contact them.

“We appreciate the condolences and the love that has been expressed to us from all across the country. However, residents have asked the Municipality to convey this request to the media on their behalf. Please leave the community to grieve. The presence of cameras and contacting community members for comment is just too much to bear at this time,” said local Colchester County Councillor, Tom Taggart.

As all can appreciate, this has been a very traumatic event for the community. Thank you for respecting this request.

Colchester Offers Funeral Support to Families of All Victims

Monday evening (April 20) Colchester County Council held an emergency meeting related to the tragic events that occurred in our communities over the weekend.

Much sorrow and heartfelt sympathies were expressed along with concern for the families, friends and neighbors most affected.

At the meeting a motion was quickly tabled to support the families of victims left devastated. Council moved to contribute up to $5000 to help offset the funeral expenses of each victim.

“Council shares the incredible heartbreak that so many are feeling at this time. The families of the victims are left to grieve such incredible loss. We felt that this was one way we could alleviate concerns related to funeral costs and allow families to fully focus on healing.”

In memory of those lost, the flags at our Colchester Municipal Offices continue to be flown at half mast.

County Administration will put staff in place to help navigate any community member who needs assistance finding the support they need throughout this difficult time.

Residents are reminded that the Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line is available 24/7 for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or someone concerned about them. Call (toll-free) 1-888-429-8167.

Kids Help Phone is available 24/7. Call (toll-free) 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free).

Morneau Shepell has opened its 24/7 bilingual crisis support line to help anyone in need of emotional support as a result of these tragic events. Call (toll free) 1-844-751-2133.

HOSPICE Colchester East Hants is also available for grief support by calling 902-893-3265.

A Message of Condolences

“Words cannot describe the depth of sadness we are feeling as we mourn those lost to this senseless tragedy. The news has been shocking and for many of us, we are still coming to terms that this nightmare is indeed reality.

On behalf of Colchester County Council I would like to extend our sincerest and most heartfelt sympathies to all the families, friends and community members affected. Our hearts go out to you.

We especially acknowledge RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson who was killed in the line of duty as she bravely worked to serve and protect her community. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and the entire RCMP organization. Moreover, we thank all first responders for their selfless courage and heroic efforts and extend our profound appreciation for all involved.

In memory of those lost, the flags at our Colchester Municipal Offices are being flown at half mast.

For those affected by these tragic events and in need of help, please reach out.

  • The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll free).
  • Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free).
  • Morneau Shepell has also opened its 24/7 bilingual crisis support line to help anyone in need of emotional support as a result of these tragic events. The number is: 1-844-751-2133

In closing, as we learn more details about the tragic events of April 18th &19th  and the true impact to our community, we would encourage all to show love and support to one another as we process this unfathomable event together. We will get through this difficult time."

Mayor Christine Blair On behalf of Colchester County Council