Provincial municipalities receiving an $82 million investment from the government

All 49 municipalities across the province will see the benefits of a new service exchange agreement signed today, March 28.

The agreement, also known as a memorandum of understanding (MOU), takes effect Monday, April 1, and represents a historic annual investment of $82 million from the Province. This is a $52-million increase from the $30 million in funding through the annual Municipal Financial Capacity Grant.

“This service exchange agreement is the culmination of nearly two years of extensive discussion, compromise and collaboration between the Province and municipalities,” said John Lohr, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “We are proud of the work accomplished together, which reflects the needs of Nova Scotians and supports the growth of our communities.”

Amendments to legislation passed in the fall allow significant changes aimed at fostering growth and sustainability within Nova Scotia municipalities.

Changes include:
– removing the requirement under the Corrections Act for municipalities to make an annual contribution towards corrections
– removing the requirement under the Housing Supply and Services Act for municipalities to pay a portion of the net operating losses for public housing
– changing the Education Act so that ownership of schools built prior to 1981 will transfer back to the Province when they are deemed obsolete, with municipalities given the first right of offer to purchase the building at a negotiated price
– updating the Municipal Grants Act and moving elements of the Municipal Financial Capacity Grant formula into regulation so it is more flexible and easier to adapt to the changing needs of municipalities, and enabling the government to implement the new formula agreed to by municipalities.

“The signing of this service exchange agreement marks a pivotal moment for Nova Scotia’s municipalities, signalling a historic investment in our communities. Together, we’ve worked to address the evolving needs of our residents, fostering growth and sustainability across the province.” 
— Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, Mayor, Municipality of the District of Lunenburg; President, Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities

“Today’s agreement signifies a significant step forward in enhancing the partnership between the Province and municipalities. With the removal of certain financial burdens and the introduction of flexible funding mechanisms, we’re poised to build stronger, more resilient communities for generations to come.” 
— Murray Scott, Mayor, Municipality of the County of Cumberland; co-Chair, Service Exchange Renegotiation and Municipal Government Act Review Committee

“The new service exchange agreement reflects a collaborative effort to support the diverse needs of Nova Scotians and bolster the vitality of our municipalities. With increased investment and streamlined processes, we are better equipped to address the challenges and opportunities facing our communities.” 
— Juanita Spencer, CEO, Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities

Quick Facts:
– the previous agreement had been in place since 1995
– the Province has been consulting with the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) since the fall and determined including HRM in the agreement was advantageous
– the new agreement is the result of hundreds of hours of consultations over 18 months, working directly with municipalities across the province
– renegotiating the service exchange agreement with municipalities is a key part of the Minister’s mandate
– discussions on additional items beyond this service agreement continue

Via Provincial Release

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