AMHERST – Amherst will stop funding the core operations of Cumberland’s development authority at the end of March.
With the province moving toward the creation of six regional enterprise networks to replace the existing RDAs, the county’s mayors and warden have unanimously decided to stop funding the Cumberland Regional Development Authority.
“While the future is unclear in terms of what regional economic and community development will look like in the next six months it is clear that both of our former RDA funding partners have now pulled their financial support for the core operations and that, to mitigate our financial exposure, we should do the same,” Coun. Lisa Emery told Amherst town council at its regular January meeting last night.
The province announced in November plans to create six regional enterprise networks that will bring together business communities, the province, municipalities and other groups involved in economic development. These new regional networks will improve co-ordination and bring planning in line with the province’s jobsHere strategy.
Under the plan, Cumberland County’s five municipalities will be part of REN 4 along with Colchester and East Hants as well as the towns of Stewiacke and Truro and portions of the Musquodoboit Valley area of HRM.
Emery said CAPSO, the organization that includes the mayors, warden and CAOs from the county’s five municipal units, met last week in Amherst to discuss the issue of winding down operations of CRDA.
Amherst has also appointed its CAO, Greg Herrett, to be the town’s representative on a wind down committee that would include representatives from the county, Springhill, Oxford, Parrsboro, CRDA and Nova Scotia Economic and Rural Development.
The wind down team will follow the template provided by the federal and provincial governments that includes forecasted balance sheets, statements of cash flow, timely audits, and inventory, valuation and disposition of assets, inventory and valuation of liabilities and notification to staff and service providers and other financial requirements.
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations is preparing a standard dissolution agreement between the five municipal units and the RDAs that will be presented on a timely basis.
Last year, the federal government announced its funding for development authorities would come to an end on May 21, while the province recently announced its funding would cease on July 22.
CRDA is presently undergoing a forensic examination by PricewaterhouseCoopers after a report last summer by provincial ombudsman Dwight Bishop reported questionable accounting practices and a lack of oversight at the development authority.