NSFM chooses five priority areas of focus for the organization at our annual general meeting, called our resolutions. In 2019, the members voted to keep our priorities for three years to give staff time to advocate on the issues and work with other levels of government toward change.
Our 2019-2022 Resolutions are:
WHEREAS the CAP program distorts the property tax system; and
WHEREAS it is not clear the homeowners most in need of property tax relief are the ones benefitting from the CAP program; and
WHEREAS municipalities are willing to offer pilot programs that will continue to meet the original objectives of the CAP program though a different approach; and
WHEREAS pilot programs can be evaluated to determine intended and unintended impacts of changes; and
WHEREAS a study on Municipal Property Taxation in Nova Scotia, by academic experts Harry Kitchen and Enid Slack recommended a phase-out of the CAP program;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Province work with municipalities and other stakeholders to phase out the CAP program and provide better alternatives to protect low-income homeowners and those experiencing significant increases in residential property assessments; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Province enable pilot projects to be undertaken as soon as possible.
Further Information and Current Progress:
On January 29, 2020, NSFM's proposal to phase out the CAP was introduced to an All-Party Committee . The committee, chaired by NSFM President Pam Mood, includes Keith Irving (Liberal MLA), Tim Houston (Conservative Leader) and Gary Burrill (NDP Leader), along with Department of Municipal Affairs critics Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin (Conservative) and Lisa Roberts (NDP).
In December, 2020, NSFM launched the CAP Map Interactive Tool, designed to help familiarize ratepayers with the effects of the CAP on tax rates. It also features an in-depth analysis of the CAP by MountainMath Software and Analytics, the developers of the tool.
Since the release of the CAP Map tool, attempts to reconvene the Committee have stalled, despite pressure from NSFM to continue movement on the issue.
For further reading on the Capped Assessment Program, please visit the CAP Archive
WHEREAS municipalities have been abiding by the Solid Waste-Resource Management Regulations since 1995; and
WHEREAS these regulations hold municipalities solely accountable for proper separation of blue bag materials; and
WHEREAS municipalities must manage the risk of rising costs and fluctuating commodity markets for blue bag materials; and
WHEREAS municipalities’ residential blue-bag recycling programs cost over $25 million per year and are paid for primarily by municipal taxpayers; and
WHEREAS 80% of Canadian consumers live in areas where producers fund PPP programs by incorporating program costs into their national product pricing; and
WHEREAS Nova Scotia consumers are already paying the national product prices that support PPP programs in other provinces, but receive none of the benefits because Nova Scotia has no EPR program; and
WHEREAS the NSFM has developed a proposed model for EPR for PPP in cooperation with municipalities; and WHEREAS EPR for PPP would significantly decrease both costs and risks associated with municipal curbside recycling programs;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that NSFM request the Province develop legislation and regulations, in support of a full EPR for PPP model as proposed by NSFM in consultation with municipalities and other stakeholders; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Province will provide a transition program to assist those municipalities who are left with redundant facilities.
WHEREAS Towns are responsible for the cost of maintenance and capital improvements with respect to all roads within their municipal boundaries, including roads of joint benefit to the Province and towns, such as arterial and collector roads, for which the Province does not share costs; and
WHEREAS Rural municipalities make financial contributions to the Province for the maintenance of J-Class roads, and there is insufficient provincial funding to maintain these roads; and
WHEREAS a strong road network is essential to the Province and its residents for economic, social, educational, and health reasons, and increased investment in roads is required;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Province provide equitable funding to Towns and Municipalities containing former towns for shared arterial and collector roads in the 2019 Budget or before; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED the Province increase its transportation budget for JClass roads in the 2019 Budget or before; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED the Joint Provincial-Municipal Committee on Roads develop a proposed new funding agreement and plan by the end of June 2019.\
WHEREAS municipalities recognize opportunities to accomplish more together and are willing to find new ways of collaborating; and
WHEREAS individual municipalities are often limited in resources to appropriately pursue these opportunities; and
WHEREAS there may be numerous barriers that hinder collaboration; and
WHEREAS all municipalities will benefit from lessons learned in collaborative efforts;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province provide human, material, and financial resources in the 2019 budget or before, to those municipalities willing to collaborate, based on the specific needs of those requesting assistance.
WHEREAS operational costs continue to rise due to factors beyond municipal control, and provincial financial support has not kept pace; and
WHEREAS one in five property tax dollars collected by municipalities are transferred to the Province;
WHEREAS the legalization of cannabis is creating a new revenue source for both the federal and provincial governments, yet municipalities are incurring a significant portion of the associated costs
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province freeze mandatory education payments for each municipality at 2017 levels; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Province increase its annual funding for the municipal equalization program by $20 million over three years, beginning in 2019; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Province of Nova Scotia cost share 50/50 in all municipal projects required to comply with the Accessibility Act, if those projects do not receive other funding, beginning in 2019; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that the Province provide municipalities with a substantial share of all the related tax revenues being generated through the sale of cannabis.
Statements of concern are issues that our members have identified as areas they would like NSFM to work on once we have success with our other priorities.
These include issues like:
- Sustainability and Infrastructure Funding
- Climate Change
- Municipal Responsibilities
- Surplus Schools