NEW GLASGOW – The Nova Scotia Municipal Performance Report, released Tuesday by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, graded all of the municipalities in Nova Scotia. None of the municipalities did great and none did badly enough to receive a failing grade.

Here in Pictou County, however, municipalities remained squarely in the C bracket, with Trenton, Westville and Pictou all doing the best with a C+. New Glasgow and the county came in with a C. Stellarton did the worst with a C-.

That’s about average with the rest of the province. The top municipality is Lockeport, which obtained the only B in Nova Scotia. Middleton, Inverness, Kings and the town of Shelburne rounded out the top five municipalities taking 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th places sharing an overall grade of B-. The majority of the grades for all municipalities fall into the C+ range.

That leaves plenty of room for improvement, said AIMS executive vice-president Charles Cirtwill.

“The answer to improvement is not always in the amount of money spent but where and how it is spent,” he explains. “In Nova Scotia, there is a lack of public information for residents to determine whether they are getting value for their money.”

Not all municipalities were graded in all of the categories AIMS was looking at, explained Cirtwill, although all of the municipalities in Pictou County were. Although the province requires municipalities to report on all of the indicators AIMS used in the survey, such reporting is apparently quite inconsistent.

“Before AIMS began asking for the information, the Municipal Indicators had not been updated on the provincial website in three years,” he says. “After we sent letters requesting information, the index was updated, but many of the indicators are still missing.”

This missing data reflects the weakness of current public reporting, Cirtwill says.
“Much of the data isn’t current and we were told because all municipalities did not agree, some information would not be made public,” he said.

The report grades municipalities based on the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery using a three-year average taken from 2005, 2006 and 2007. Efficiency examines how the municipality spends tax dollars and effectiveness looks at the extent to which a service or policy achieves its intended result.