New Minas conducting preliminary research into becoming a town

Kirk Starratt
Published on June 12, 2014
New Minas Village Commission chairman Dave Chaulk 
Kirk Starratt

If preliminary research indicates it could be a better deal for New Minas taxpayers, the village could become Nova Scotia’s newest town.

New Minas Village Commission chairman Dave Chaulk said they are “kicking tires, basically” when it comes to exploring the issue. The commission has directed clerk/treasurer Terry Silver to undertake some preliminary research into the “big ticket items,” such as policing and road maintenance, to determine whether or not it could be beneficial to the village to incorporate as a town.

Chaulk said that although the commission has had informal discussions, no decisions have been made and no applications have been made to the Utility and Review Board at this point.

“If her research determines there would be a massive increase in the tax rates, we’d probably drop it, but that’s a decision the entire commission would have to make,” Chaulk said.

He said if it looks like New Minas taxpayers could benefit from the change, the village commission would consider embarking on a formal study to see if the village could become a town.

Chaulk said recent discussions about a governance study for Kings County was the catalyst for exploring the issue. The village wanted to join the Kings Partnership Steering Committee but the request was denied. Chaulk said that “kind of left us in limbo with the possibility of someone else determining our future.”

He said the village is “in great financial shape” with no debt and Chaulk sees this investigation as the village commission being “somewhat proactive” on the governance issue.

The commission simply wants to determine if seeking town status would be a reasonable option, Chaulk said, adding that there was one similar study conducted in the past.

If the village were not in sound financial shape, Chaulk said the exploration into whether or not to become a town probably wouldn’t happen.

Village residents currently pay taxes to both the village and the County of Kings. If New Minas were to become a town, Chaulk said, “all the tax money would actually stay here.” The village represents roughly 20 per cent of the county’s tax base.

“It’s not like we’re a small community,” Chaulk said. “We’re bigger than most towns.”