29 JUNE 2011

A whole lot of average
AIMS asks, are you happy with your council’s compromises?

Halifax: Nobody in Nova Scotia has found the means to deliver consistent high quality low cost services across the full range of municipal responsibilities. This is the finding of AIMS second annual Municipal Performance Report for Nova Scotia. 

“This report shows us, once again, that governing is about choices but not all choices are created equal,” said report co-author and AIMS Policy Analyst Jamie Newman. “The challenge now is for the public to consider the choices their governments have made, and decide if they were the right ones. Are you happy paying more for lower service levels if it means you buy locally? Are you happy having fewer parks if it means you get better recycling?”

The report grades and ranks each municipality on its efficiency – ability to keep costs low – and effectiveness – deliver high quality services – in seven categories: Governance and Finance, Taxation, Safety and Protection, Environment, Transportation, Economic Development, and Recreation and Culture. Results are presented for overall performance and for performance in these individual categories.

Governance and Finance: Stellarton has the lowest cost Governance and Finance services, while Bridgetown’s costs are highest.  Trenton has the most effective; Shelburne County, the least.

Taxation: Guysborough County has the lowest tax burden; while Shelburne County’s tax burden is highest.  Hantsport has the most Effective taxation; Canso, the least effective. 

Economic Development: Lockeport has the lowest Economic Development costs; Annapolis Royal, the highest.  Parrsboro has the most effective Economic Development; Annapolis Royal, the least.

Safety and Protection: Parrsboro has the lowest cost police and fire services; Annapolis Royal, the highest.  The most effective police and fire services are in Stellarton; the least, Shelburne. 

Transportation: Pictou has the lowest cost transportation services; Mulgrave, the highest. 

Environment: The lowest cost environmental services are in Mahone Bay; the highest; Annapolis Royal.  Canso has the most effective environmental services; the least, Shelburne. 

Recreation and Culture: Inverness County has the lowest cost Recreation and Culture services; Hantsport, the highest.

“In assigning the overall grades, the authors have set a high bar for our municipalities” says AIMS President Charles Cirtwill, “low cost, high quality services across seven broad categories of what our communities are supposed to provide. With the best overall mark being a “B” I think that says we have lots of room for improvement.”

The top three municipal governments overall are Stellarton, Parrsboro and Digby County. While all three perform well in certain areas, they perform poorly in others.  Similar can be said for the bottom three: Annapolis Royal, Shelburne and Oxford. They perform poorly in more areas but in some areas they are exemplary.
AIMS’ 2nd Annual Nova Scotia Municipal Performance Report can be found online at:


For more information, please contact:

Jamie Newman
Policy Analyst
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
[email protected]
902.429.1143 ext. 230

Charles Cirtwill
President and CEO
Atlantic Institute for Market Studies
[email protected]
902.429.1143 ext. 225