As we continue to work together through the various challenges presented by COVID-19, the Municipality of the District of Shelburne recognizes the financial and mental stress faced by our residents. The Province of Nova Scotia and the Federal Government have recently announced programs to help those in need. The Municipality of Shelburne is also looking at what they can do to help ease the burden. The budget was scheduled to be approved on March 23, 2020 but due to COVID-19, Council made the decision to refrain from holding any meetings of Council until April 6, 2020. With the new directive from Minister Porter, municipalities have been provided the authority to hold meetings virtually or through conference calls, with draft minutes being posted within 24 hours on their website.
In light of this new directive, Council held a meeting, via a teleconference call, on March 25, 2020 to discuss measures the Municipality could put in place to assist their residents. Council has made the decision to further delay charging any interest on funds owed to the Municipality until further notice and will delay sending the tax bill out, extending the payment timeline beyond June 30, 2020. A new due date for tax payment will be determined within the next few weeks. A number of measures to further aid residents were discussed and staff have been directed to provide more information for Council’s consideration.
In these uncertain times, essential service delivery, such as fire service, is top of mind. Council also made a decision, which was supported by a majority community vote, to approve an area rate for a new fire truck to service the Town of Lockeport fire district, which includes the communities of East Green Harbour, West Green Harbour and Western Head, located within the Municipality. This rate will follow the same revised delays and deadlines as the tax bill.
“Being able to resume meetings of Council is extremely important. We can now look at approving the budget and making decisions that are required to continue to operate the Municipality and provide services. The situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve and because of that our budget needs to evolve as well, to help meet the challenges being faced in our communities. Council understands these are challenging times and we ask residents for their ongoing patience and understanding as we all work together to support each other and to remember to continue to practice Dr. Robert Strang’s three Cs – caring, community and common sense,” stated Warden Penny Smith. Everyone is encouraged to visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus for the most updated information provided by the Province of Nova Scotia on COVID-19 and to visit the Municipality’s website and social media sites to stay informed about municipal matters. The Municipal website is www.municipalityofshelburne.ca.
For mental health information please visit www.shelburnecountymentalhealth.ca. Also, a great resource to call is 211 Nova Scotia, a free helpline that can connect you to community and social services in Shelburne County, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.