HALIFAX: Mulgrave is one of seven municipalities across the province facing financial challenges that has to come up with action plans for the Department of Municipal Affairs based on their 2017 assessment results.
The request for the plan is based on the number of red and yellow flags indicated on the municipality’s financial conditions.
Mark Peck, executive director of planning, policy and advisory services for the department said moderate or high risks in six of the 13 measures triggers a call for the action plan.
“The Department of Municipal Affairs provides financial condition indicators to all 50 municipalities, within those financial condition indicators, there are 13 measures, and what we do is we ask for action plans for any municipality that has six indicators in either the high-risk or moderate-risk categories,” he told The Reporter Monday morning. “And in Mulgrave’s case they had six – four in high-risk and two in moderate-risk measures.”
Peck said part of the department’s policy is they ask the town to provide an action plan, which serves as a number of things, but mainly as a tool for council to plan how to address flagged measures.
“Council represents the general public of the Town of Mulgrave so it’s really important for the public to know what council’s plan is. It’s to provide certainty for the town in terms of long-term financial planning,” he said. “It’s also a tool for us to use in terms of holding council accountable for addressing what they’ve committed to do, in terms of addressing those measures.”
The flagged measures that were identified as having a high-risk for Mulgrave were: reliance on a single business, underappreciated assets, operating reserves, and their five-year budget accuracy, while the two moderate-risk measures were their three-year change in the tax base, and number of deficits.
Mulgrave’s action plan talks about the recent amalgamation attempt that was rejected by the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the need for the province and the town to come up with a new direction of the community.
The plan states that during the town’s SWOT analysis – which is a study undertaken by an organization to identify its internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as its external opportunities and threats – one of the issues identified as a threat was the low opportunity for amalgamation without provincial assistance.
Through multiple attempts no one from the Town of Mulgrave was able to comment on The Reporter’s request to speak on specifics of their action plan by press time.
Peck said the province will now wait for Mulgrave to provide an update to their action plan, which is due in mid-July.
“We’ll see where they are, we’ll get a report from them and we’ll speak with the town again to measure how they did, and go from there.”