By Wendy Elliott
Several Kings County residents are keen to see the Kings Partnership Steering Committee take on the challenge of reducing government.
Former Wolfville councillor Gordon Lummis made a presentation to the town during question period June 18. The group aims to communicate with elected representatives on the KPSC about the need for more effective and efficient municipal government in Kings County.
Lummis invited council members to attend the committee’s next meeting on June 27 to raise the issue. The meetings are also open to the public.
“We got off track, hopefully we can get back on. We can’t be little silos,” said Wolfville Coun. Hugh Simpson. “Nothing works better than seeing people in the audience squarely before members of the committee.”
Coun. Carl Oldham said he was 100 per cent behind more discussion.
According to another citizen advocate, John Calpin, “several of us have become increasingly concerned about the amount of government in Kings County and believe it is time for change.”
Calpin says Kings County cannot continue to afford so much government.
“For a population of 60,000 we have 56 municipal officials elected to serve four municipal units (Wolfville, Kentville, Berwick and the County of Kings) as well as the villages of Greenwood, Kingston, New Minas, Port Williams and Canning,” he said.
His figures suggest there is an elected representative for every 1,052 residents here, while in Halifax and Sydney, the comparable numbers are one in 24,000 and one in 8,000.
These elected representatives are backed up, Calpin suggests, by a generous administration of nine chief administrative officers or senior managers, many of whom have department heads or senior people in finance, planning, public works, and recreation etc.
“The lack of regional planning and parochial thinking fosters duplication, inefficiency and waste costing us millions, while municipal taxes are high and continue to increase.”
He sees that residents and businesses that move from towns to escape the high taxes are causing a deterioration of our towns.
Calpin said he believes that change will only happen “if we tell our leaders that we are fed up being over governed and over taxed and that we want more effective government in Kings County.”
The Kings Partnership Steering Committee meets at Kentville town hall on June 27 at 5 p.m.