Mayor, councillors offer opinions on future of town
One hundred and twenty-five years after its incorporation, this small town is not ready to give up its town status yet.
PARRSBORO – In the aftermath of neighbouring Springhill’s decision to dissolve as a town, and amidst a call from some local residents to do the same, Parrsboro’s mayor and councillors are showing no signs of heading that way anytime soon.
“There’s no reason why we should take that path at this moment in time, unless my councillors disagree with me,” said Mayor Lois Smith, during council’s monthly session on March 25. “There would have to be an advantage for us, and right now I don’t see it.”
With a debt of $5.1 million, and projected expenditures outweighing its revenue, Springhill council decided earlier this month to apply to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to dissolve the town into the Municipality of Cumberland County, a move expected to take effect on April 1, 2015.
While Parrsboro has no debt and has been declared by auditors to be in sound financial shape, some residents have pointed to its shrinking tax base and declining population as indicators that it should take a similar course.
Coun. David Harrison said they would watch and learn as Springhill undergoes its transition.
“We’ve never really looked into it any great amount, but sitting here right now, we have a real time live experiment going on in the next town over,” he said. “We can look at it in 2-3 years’ time, and if it’s the best thing that ever happened, then we will have to look at that.”
He said he was shocked by Springhill’s decision because he understood the previous council had reduced the town’s debt by a significant margin.
Deputy mayor Lisa Ward said she would like to have “hard facts” before entertaining such a decision.
“To give up town status, that’s a big commitment and that would be a hard thing to do,” she said. “But if it’s for the better of the citizens, it’s something we would have to look at. It’s why we’re elected.”
While it may be lacking in industry, Parrsboro still has a lot to offer, according to Ward, who said they are strong financially.
“I truly believe we’re moving towards the right path,” she said.