Media release: February 2015–Update on Bridgetown Dissolution
On January 7, 2015, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) issued an order for dissolution of the Town of Bridgetown and for it to become part of the Municipality of the County of Annapolis, effective April 1, 2015. This decision was made after information and reports were filed with the Board, a Letter of Intent was signed by the provincial government, Bridgetown and the County of Annapolis, and a hearing on the merits of the application was held on December 1, 2014.
A number of items have been identified in the NSUARB’s order, including who will represent Bridgetown citizens on the municipal council between April 1, 2015 and October 2016. The town’s current mayor, Horace Hurlburt, will represent Bridgetown on a 12-member council until the next municipal election. As part of the information provided to the NSUARB, it was presented that the new council for the County of Annapolis after the 2016 election will be represented by 11 councilors, with a warden elected by his or her peers.
All assets and liabilities of the town will be transferred to the County of Annapolis upon dissolution. Employees of Bridgetown have been offered jobs with the municipality and Town Hall will continue to offer services to all Annapolis County citizens. It still needs to be finalized which municipal departments will be located in Bridgetown office.
The letter of intent signed by the provincial government, the town and the municipality on November 28, 2014 highlights the provincial government’s investment over five years to help transition Bridgetown to a new governance structure within the County of Annapolis. The funding was confirmed by the NSUARB’s order and will support infrastructure, operating and capital investments for roads, and transitional costs associated with the dissolution process. Equalization funding for the combined municipality will continue for five years at the level currently paid to the town and municipality.
Over the next two months the transition committee, under the coordination of Allister Surette, will continue to oversee the tasks that need to be completed and provide updates to the NSUARB. Some of the items will be completed before or by April 1, while others may take longer to implement. The intent is to carry them out as soon as possible and to ensure a smooth transition to a new governance structure.
All information associated with Bridgetown’s application for dissolution is available on the NSUARB website at http://nsuarb.novascotia.ca/ The file can be found by searching under the Cases and Evidence tab at the top of the page and searching by the town name (Bridgetown) or by the case number (M06208).
On March 31, Bridgetown will hold its last town council meeting at 7 p.m. at the Bridgetown Legion. After regular council business has been completed there will be an opportunity for residents to meet members of the county council and employees. The following day, April 1, Horace Hurlburt will be sworn in as the new councilor representing Bridgetown at council chambers in Annapolis Royal. Later in the day an open house will be held at the municipal offices in Annapolis Royal, Bridgetown and Lawrencetown. Details of the open house will be shared when confirmed.
Community meetings are also being planned to update residents on the process for merging Bridgetown with the county. Details of the dates and locations of these meetings will be communicated when they are finalized.
Although separate from the dissolution application, the Town of Bridgetown completed a water utility rate review and has made an application on behalf of the town’s water utility to the NSUARB to amend water rates. The Board will hold a hearing in Bridgetown to review the application and make a decision.
The County of Annapolis has also identified a point of contact for residents of Bridgetown and Annapolis County if they have questions regarding the transition. Cody Joudry can be contacted by email at email@example.com or by phone at 902-526-2590 or 1-855-665-8601. For information about the transition committee, contact Allister Surette, Transition Coordinator, 902-769-7494.