Outside Halifax, Nova Scotia municipalities face a financial squeeze. With increasing spending obligations to meet higher service standards, the cost of operating a local government is rising.
Meanwhile, the property tax base is declining from ageing and outmigration. Municipalities need more money to afford water and wastewater, bridges, road infrastructure, and fire and police services.
This trajectory is untenable. Raising property taxes on a declining base would hasten a flight of people and money.
To address this issue, rural municipalities can adopt different taxation models, amalgamations, revised development agreements and greater cooperation with the Province. Only through modernization can Nova Scotia municipalities flourish.