Town Council decisions on band stand, amalgamation and outside help from financial expert

The new band stand should look much like the old one

The new band stand should look much like the old one

Parrsboro should have its new band stand by mid-May in time for next year’s summer season according to a committee report presented at tonight’s Town Council meeting.

So far, three contractors have expressed an interest in the project. The tender closes on  December 14th and Council expects to award the contract on December 16th.

The original plan called for construction this year, but Councillor Norm Rafuse said it’s better now to wait for warmer weather because of all the detail, hand work and framing in the building.

“You wouldn’t get a decent job building that in the wintertime,” he said, adding that there’s specialized roofing that can’t be put on in the winter. “You’d get a much better job doing it in the spring.”

The new band stand is expected to be slightly larger than the old one, but will likely look much the same.

Amalgamation moving ahead

Town Council voted tonight to appoint Mayor Lois Smith and Deputy Mayor Lisa Ward to the transition committee that will oversee the process of amalgamating the Town of Parrsboro with the Municipality of Cumberland County. Councillor Ron Shaw will serve as an alternate member of the committee.

The committee will include two representatives from each municipality as well as a provincially appointed co-ordinator who will serve as Chair.

Parrsboro’s Chief Administrative Officer, Ray Hickey, explained that the committee will hire a transition manager as well as consultants to carry out studies required by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB), the body that will make the final decision on amalgamation.

Preliminary hearing on amalgamation

Lisa Ward reported that the NSUARB will hold a preliminary hearing at 11 a.m. on Monday, November 9th at the Parrsboro Legion.

CAO Hickey said the purpose of the meeting is to hear what consultants’ reports the NSUARB will need.

“It’s not a decision-making hearing,” Hickey said. “It’s not about making a case for or against (amalgamation), but suggesting to the NSUARB what information they should have to make that decision.”

A notice on the NSUARB website says the preliminary hearing will also consider which individuals or groups will be granted formal standing and the right to call witnesses or cross-examine witnesses at a second hearing tentatively scheduled for March or April next year.

The notice says that those who wish formal standing must file a written application by Monday, November 2.

“Applicants for formal standing must demonstrate a real and substantial interest in this Application, and must set out detailed reasons why the individual or group is requesting formal standing,” the notice adds.

According to the notice, anyone who is not granted formal standing will still be able to speak at the second public meeting.

Town still needs help from financial consultant

During the public forum portion of tonight’s meeting, Ray Hickey acknowledged that the town still requires the services of Bruce Purchase, a retired financial officer from the Municipality of Colchester.

Purchase was hired last February, five months after the town missed its deadline for filing financial information to the province.

At the time, councillors blamed new computer software for causing the problems.

Mayor Smith would not say how much Purchase was being paid then, but tonight Hickey said the financial consultant received a cheque for around $1,000 for two visits earlier this month.

He said Purchase was helping pull together financial figures the NSUARB will require as it weighs the case for amalgamation.

You can read my February report on hiring Purchase by clicking here.

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