Postpone application to dissolve Springhill

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I, like most residents of Springhill, was shocked to hear the recent decision by Springhill’s mayor and council to apply to the province for dissolution.

This act of dissolution changes our status from an incorporated town to becoming a community under the governance of the Municipality of Cumberland.

Let me begin by saying that it is never easy to govern, especially when money is always a major factor. However, after speaking with many local residents and listening to their comments, I am convinced that the process chosen here was and is not the way to proceed. There is a misconception that it is already too late. That is not the case. There is still time to engage the community and its citizens in the process.

Canso is an example of a community which took time to inform its citizens of their situation. Options were explored and information was made public. Citizens were given opportunities for discussion and thus were fully prepared to make an informed decision when the plebiscite was given. Their mayor and council had chosen transparency and that resulted in the majority choosing the act of dissolution.

Bridgetown, as we know, is facing the same challenges. However, their mayor has been quoted as saying that they will not proceed in the manner that Springhill has chosen.

The issue of timing is very important. Why are we rushing to dissolve our town when we have neither had all of the facts presented to us, nor had an opportunity to work through the process.

We know that we have high taxes and that we are faced with financial challenges by there is so much more which we do not know.

If our financial situation is as bleak as has been stated, then show us the facts and give us all the information which the mayor and council have been privy. Does this not make sense?

Have other option s been explored? Was there dialogue with the other units in Cumberland County o see if services could be shared? Was the provincial government approached to explore options or opportunities. Was the advice or expertise sought from other knowledgeable resources? If these questions were posed then what were the results? Do we not deserve to know the answers?

It has been suggested that the benefits to dissolution will mean lower taxes but what about the disadvantages? The citizens of Springhill need time to discuss all aspects, both benefits and disadvantages, so that there will not be unexpected surprises.

I fear there will be a far greater job loss than many suspect. The dissolution will have a trickledown effect. The pink slips have begun to appear. What other town employees will be next? No position can be considered safe.

What will the future be for All Saints Hospital? Previous mayors and councils, along with the citizens of Springhill, have banded together with the Cumberland District Health Authority to protect and expand services provided at All Saints. As District Health Authorities are eliminated, and with the proposal for dissolution, who will work to maintain a hospital here in Springhill? Have these jobs been factored into the equation?

The list of other services, that we enjoy in Springhill, may possibly be in jeopardy as well. What will be in store for the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre or our Senior Citizen’s Centre?

As citizens of the Town of Springhill we have the right to know what the results of the act of dissolution will be prior to the dissolution. Our future should not be marked with so many unknowns. We need to be given the opportunity to know everything was tried before the town was dissolved and we can’t be assured of that if we have not been involved in the process.

We are only asking for the same opportunities as the citizens of Canso. After we have been presented with all the facts, we must be given the right to have a plebiscite. We, the people, have a right to decide our future. If the citizens decide that dissolution is the route that Springhill should take, then so be it.

It is not too late. The mayor and council must act in the interests of all citizens and notify the province that it is postponing the application for dissolution immediately. The process must include citizen involvement. A committee chosen by the citizens must be given the mandate which would include searching out all possible options, calling upon qualified individuals when necessary to assist, and keeping residents informed of the process. The final action must be a plebiscite.

Is this not what democracy means?

 

Murray Scott

A Springhill taxpayer

Organizations: All Saints Hospital, Cumberland District Health Authority

Geographic location: Springhill, Cumberland County, Canso All Saints

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Recent comments

  • Cronyism
    April 14, 2014 - 11:34

    Who's going to pay off the taxes? Murray Scott and his crony's at the police station of course. Who else. Hope you got 5.1 mill in the bank there Murray. The fact is that the Maritimes has the most civil servants per-capita than any other jurisdiction in Canada. It's time to amalgamate, not only our towns, but our provinces.

  • John Alderson
    April 10, 2014 - 07:49

    Where do people get the idea that taxes will be lower for Springhill if they amalgamate with the County of Cumberland? People in Springhill will still have to pay extra for water and sewer, street lights and still have to pay off the debt that Springhill owes. I will sell some ocean front property in Arizona if any of these people are interested in buying.

    • Doug.P
      April 10, 2014 - 10:49

      The residents should be paying a much lower rate than it's current level. Otherwise the community will just stay economically gutted permanently. Where do people get off thinking that taxation can be maintained at current levels in spite of the devastation as a result of over taxation? Do you want business to come to town or do you want to keep town staff levels? It's a simple choice really.

    • Doug.P
      April 10, 2014 - 11:04

      ...And the debt owed should be defaulted on. The town people did not contract this debt. Town officials did. Let the banks collect it from these "representatives" accordingly.

  • Jim Kurchak
    April 09, 2014 - 13:25

    I have to agree with Colin. Although my wife and I have only recently bought a home in Springhill for retirement, we still look forward to living in the Community of Springhill in the County of Cumberland. The fact that the taxes are going to lower, makes it even better. When a need comes up for the people of Springhill to be heard, it can still be done as taxpayers in the County of Cumberland. An association of concerned citizens can be formed and maintained, without adding the need for a mayor for the figurehead. Look at the number of ratepayers associations across Canada, in other communities that gave up town status for the betterment of the people living there. I have no reason to believe we couldn't do the same in Springhill

  • colin martin
    April 09, 2014 - 08:45

    Who is going to pay the 5.1 million dollar deficit? Where will the money come from? This town has a lot of seniors on fixed incomes, no government pensions. No one will move here, business or residential because of the high taxes. The roads will not get repaired, no funds to do so. Common sense must prevail. I am sure the council has taken all this in consideration and have seeked out advice. Let them do what's best for Springhill. It must be dissolved. We will still be know as Springhill only it will the the Community of Springhill in the County of Cumberland

  • Garry w. Noiles
    April 09, 2014 - 07:43

    my way of thinking is not if its right or wrong, its the way the mayor and council did it, the people of Springhill are not children, so let them have a voice, just a yes or no, its that easy. I am with you Murray & also a Springhill Taxpayer

  • tony mckenzie
    April 08, 2014 - 21:59

    I don't usually coment here but i do beleave ,the citizens of Springhill should read thies articals..In my opinion Murry Scott is very well respected and the people should like he said in the two articals ,be asking questions and make sure they get the answeres they desirve ,before proceding with this

  • DJ MacLean
    April 08, 2014 - 12:13

    I believe trying to blame "politics" is being ignorant to the situation. Yes taxes play a factor for many things but it is not the only thing that needs to be considered. Like Murray has indicated it's not about whether or not the town decides to dissolve or not, it's about making sure everyone has the correct information to make an educated vote towards the future and your children's future town that so many families have had the privledge to live, grow and prosper in. Give the people time..allow questions to be asked and research the answers. DJ

    • Doug.P
      April 08, 2014 - 14:26

      Trying to blame politics? There are real people in office who ignorantly raise taxes not thinking one whim about the payer of these taxes nor the long term repercussions and damage they are doing. When the damage finally and predictably comes about the fools who perpetrated it never pay for their mistakes - the victims of their lunacy have to pay. Politics is the realm of never never land, where every fool can inflict his stupidity on the rest of us, all the while claiming to save us from ourselves. We must suffer each and every knave who can get 51% even though 49% think him to be one. If one word could aptly describe politics it is ignorance. It is insanity repeated over and over. Those who believe in democracy as a peaceful solution to humanities problems are the most ignorant of all.

  • Doug.P
    April 08, 2014 - 10:02

    Extreme rates of taxation killed the Springhill economy. Those tax rates were forced on the people by politicians. The town's bankruptcy was an inevitable result in such circumstances and will be in the future when you let elected officials have blank checks to "fix things". The lesson keeps getting forgotten. Never trust a politician, even if you might know them - ever! Here is to more town bankruptcies! And the freedom from political looting their weary citizens will get from it. Some times the little guy wins!

  • Florence Gilroy
    April 08, 2014 - 09:33

    Perfectly said and I couldn't agree more. Thank you Murray!

  • Doug.P
    April 08, 2014 - 09:27

    I say let it fail. Let it fail and give the taxpayer some justice. Let the record stand the politicians and local officials bent on maintaining a reckless childlike desire to spend with out consequence the just fruit of their actions. Let it be a lesson to all when politics becomes the guiding religion of our time. Mr. Scott take your lesson from all the economic mess that will befall this province and its communities: Political "saviors" created it all to begin with.