Kentville is still interested in an independent study on regional government.
While discussing preparations for today’s Kings Partnership Steering Committee (KPSC) meeting, the town’s council advisory committee members voiced support.
“Our position has not changed,” Mayor Dave Corkum said Oct. 15. “We are in agreement with moving forward as long as we have acceptable terms of reference.”
Wolfville has taken a similar position. Berwick deemed the idea of a study “precipitous and premature,” but agreed to continue discussion at the steering committee level.
Kings County endorsed having a discussion at the KPSC level, but defeated a motion Oct. 1 to support an independent study until an internal study could be completed by the county’s chief administrative officer.
“I think we need to do all we can to move this forward in a co-operative manner, but I am concerned about thoughts out there that this is automatic that if we proceed together and we amalgamate and… automatically the county taxes will go up and the town taxes will go down,” Corkum said.
Corkum also pointed out the town would like to preserve its high standards for streets and recreational facilities, as well as the current tax rates of the county and town, which he said are relatively low.
“A lot of places in this province with a lot of need would like to trade places with Town of Kentville and Municipality of Kings,” he added. “However, I think we continue to work together and see where this goes.
“If it’s a matter of doing more things together, cheaper,” Corkum said he would be interested, “(but) if it turns out to be a full-fledged amalgamation, then that would be something I would be concerned about. We have to protect what we’ve got.”
Coun. Bill Boyd said it’s important not to jump to assumptions based on “comments made in the media by other units.” Boyd is chairman of the KPSC.
“I look at this as an opportunity to answer some of these questions. Let the process develop and the answers come forward,” he said of the potential study.
“I think it’s very obvious the majority have to be included, and, of course, the County of Kings. If County of Kings is not included in a study, then it’s not really a full Kings County study.”
Whatever happens and comes out of this, Corkum said, Kentville council is elected to do what’s best for the people of the town.
“Some people would say you have to look at yourself, but, if there was a major change, everyone here would have an opportunity to run for that position,” he said.
The Kings Partnerships Steering Committee meets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Kentville Fire Hall. Members of the public may attend as audience members. The discussion of regional governance study is expected to take place at approximately 3 p.m.