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News Release Kelly Invites Premier, Minister to Municipal Meeting
Kelly Invites Premier, Minister to Municipal Meeting
(Monday, March 12/2001)-- Mayor Peter Kelly has invited Premier John Hamm and his Municipal Relations Minister to attend a meeting of mayors and wardens in Halifax this Friday to discuss the province's proposed Equalization Fund for municipalities.
Mayor Kelly said letters of invitation were sent by fax and followed up by courier today to the Premier and the Honourable Angus MacIsaac, Minister Responsible for Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. The Mayor called for, and will host, the meeting of municipal leaders in Halifax Hall, City Hall, on March 16th.
In addition, Mayor Kelly has offered to make available to the Province members of a special project team from HRM's Financial Services unit to work with the provincial Finance Department and Municipal Relations staff to work out the detailed financial impact on the Halifax Regional Municipality.
He said "This approach will enable both parties to compare the impact on an 'apples-to-apples basis', rather than by the current convoluted approach of throwing conflicting figures around, without the appropriate knowledge and back-up documentation."
The Mayor said " Halifax Regional Council recognizes that some municipal units in Nova Scotia may be in need of financial assistance, but we believe that it is fundamentally wrong for the Province to consider using property tax dollars to finance an Equalization Fund. Equalization Funds are historically and traditionally funded through income tax dollars. No other province in Canada uses revenues raised through property taxes for this purpose and we do not want to see it happen in Nova Scotia."
Mayor Kelly said HRM is willing to discuss a number of other potential options with the Province, such as the regional municipality taking over responsibility for subdivision roads in the former County of Halifax area or the region assuming the full responsibility for its 9-1-1 system--- rather than having three separate call centres, as it does now.
"These types of alternatives will still provide the Province with the kind of dollars that it says it needs to help out less-resourced municipalities in Nova Scotia. Yet, they do not cross that sacred line of continually allowing the Province to dip into HRM's bank accounts to balance the Province's books" the Mayor said.
Mayor Peter Kelly