Road to re­cov­ery to be a painful ride

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - OPINION -

The econ­omy may be on a slow road to re­cov­ery, but don’t ex­pect to feel that in Cum­ber­land County any­time soon.

Both Amherst Mayor Robert Small and Cum­ber­land County War­den Keith Hunter brought mes­sages of doom and gloom to their an­nual ad­dress to the Amherst Ro­tary Club this week. Nei­ther have any il­lu­sions that belt-tight­en­ing from the pro­vin­cial govern­ment will have no im­pact on their mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, with a 20 per cent cut to the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment ex­pected to be just the be­gin­ning of what is to come.

The county, for ex­am­ple, has been told to ex­pect $1-2 mil­lion less in fund­ing from the prov­ince this year.

Else­where in the prov­ince, out­looks are even more grim. One mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the Town of Canso, is even ap­ply­ing to the Nova Sco­tia Util­ity and Re­view Board for dis­so­lu­tion of its town sta­tus in the face of a $136,000 deficit.

The Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Ch­ester re­cently be­came the first com­mu­nity in Nova Sco­tia to ap­ply to shut down its wa­ter ser­vice, af­ter de­ter­min­ing that its wa­ter util­ity plant is just too ex­pen­sive to run. The Town of Ber­wick was al­ready fore­cast­ing a deficit be­fore its biggest in­dus­try and tax­payer, the Larsen’s meat plant, an­nounced it will close in April.

One might ex­pect news to be bet­ter in Hal­i­fax, the largest city in the Mar­itimes and the home to 40 per cent of Nova Sco­tians. Yet the city is spend­ing $13.9 mil­lion more than it is bring­ing in, with cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­tures like a new down­town con­ven­tion cen­tre and Canada Games fa­cil­i­ties not help­ing.

With fed­eral stim­u­lus fund­ing set to dry up this year and deficit cut­ting to be­gin from Ot­tawa, ex­pect no re­lief for hard times all over. It will get worse be­fore it gets bet­ter.

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