The Amherst town council, at its Monday, March 28, 2022, meeting, set the Mandatory Provincial Contribution Area rate for the 2022-23 fiscal year at 40.2 cents per $100 of assessment.
The rate, which is the same as the previous year, provides funding for provincial services the town is mandated by the province to pay. Those services include: education ($1,643,211), correctional services ($110,753), housing ($291,411), library services ($87,299) and Property Valuation Services Corp. assessment services ($112,038).
While the town collects the funds, the money is sent directly to the province as soon as it is received.
The council approved sending funding applications for two major capital works projects to the federal government’s Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
The town is seeking federal funding to help cover the costs of the projects that together are estimated to be about $3 million. The federal program covers 73.33 per cent of the costs for projects that fit its criteria.
If received, the federal funding will be used to help cover the cost of replacing a 115-year-old sanitary sewer and water main on West Victoria Street as well as replacing the corrugated storm sewer, pulverize and rebuild the street and install new curbs and sidewalks.
The funding will also be used to replace a 100-year-old sanitary trunk sewer on Russell Street as well as the corrugated storm sewer and pulverize and rebuild the street.
If the federal funding is approved, the work on both streets is planned to take place in the spring-summer of 2023.
During the meeting, the council approved appointments of citizen representatives to its Planning Advisory Committee and the Amherst Board of Police Commissioners.
Appointed to the Planning Advisory Committee for one-year terms were Larry Pardy and Creighton McCarthy. Their appointments take effect on April 1, 2022.
Appointed to the Amherst Board of Police Commissioners as citizen representatives were Holly MacDonald, for a two-year term, and Lloyd Bruce, for a one-year term. Their terms will expire on March 31, 2023, and March 31, 2024, respectively.
Council also approved the appointment of Marc Buske, the town’s building inspector, as a development officer for the Town of Amherst.
Staff noted the appointment of a development officer is required by the Municipal Government Act and most municipalities designate their building inspectors as development officers because doing so improves customer service efficiency for those seeking most development permits.
The council gave first reading to an amendment to Amherst’s Bylaw Respecting Intrusion, Robbery and Fire Alarm systems.
Originally drafted in 1999, when such alarms were not as prevalent in homes and businesses as they are today, the amendment eliminates a section of the bylaw that requires property owners to register their alarms with the police department.
The Board of Police Commissioners had previously recommended the approval of the amendment, which must undergo a second reading before it goes into effect.
A new, five-year lease between the town and the Cumberland Adult Network for Upgrading was approved by the council.
The network has leased space on the second floor of the library since 2016. The new lease will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2022, with the lease payment being $2,466.99 plus HST per month, a slight increase of $14.10 over the previous lease.
Council named retired RCMP officer and longtime resident Paul Calder as the town’s 2022 Amherst Volunteer of the Year. Calder will represent Amherst during the provincial volunteer awards ceremony that will be held in Halifax this coming fall.