SYDNEY — The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities wants to know where Nova Scotia political leaders stand on issues affecting municipalities prior to the upcoming Oct. 8 provincial election.
The non-profit organization is calling on the province's three major political parties to answer a number of questions that interest municipal governments across the province.
Cape Breton Regional Municipality Coun. Clarence Prince said it's important to know where parties stand on important economic issues.
"We thought that it would be a fitting time to pose some questions to the leaders, as you know we've been talking about equalization and the fiscal review, and I think we're wondering what their stand would be on it," said Prince, who sits on the group's board of directors along with CBRM Coun. Claire Detheridge.
Prince said municipalities are not getting a fair shake from the province on issues related to HST rebates and payments relating to housing, education and corrections.
"We're wondering are they willing to more or less work more in consultation with the municipalities to see what our needs are," said Prince.
According to the UNSM, municipalities need to be recognized by the province as a true order of government, as they own the majority of infrastructure and provide important services such as water and wastewater, policing and recreation services.
The UNSM has written the leaders of Nova Scotia's three main parties requesting responses to a number of questions it says promotes the health and viability of municipalities across the province.
"Residents are expecting increased service demands yet municipalities receive only eight cents of every tax dollar and 18 per cent of our budgets pay for provincial services of education, housing and corrections," organization president Russell Walker in a release.
The UNSM is asking how political parties would work to develop a long-term strategy for municipalities, whether or not parties would be willing to develop an independent study on municipal taxation and how they plan to help tackle federally-imposed wastewater regulations.
The group would also like to see political leaders eliminate or at least limit mandatory education payments to school boards, corrections and housing.
Increased support for municipal roads is also requested, along with the creation of a standalone municipal affairs department.