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Cape Breton Regional Municipality says new provincial bill will increase taxes

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s second largest municipality is vowing to fight proposed provincial legislation that it contends will raise taxes for its residents.

Mayor Amanda McDougall of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality says changes in the Municipal Reform Act will not yield the savings claimed by the province or the money needed to improve infrastructure.

Provincial Housing Minister John Lohr has said the changes to the agreement that covers 48 municipalities but not Halifax would save them up to $50 million in annual contributions that cover such things as jail costs, surplus schools and operating losses for public housing.

But McDougall says the $4.5 million in savings her municipality will now be able to collect and use for other purposes will still have to be recouped by the province to pay for those services, amounting to a double tax on residents.

The mayor says she will present her concerns during an appearance before a legislature committee next week, while the municipality will mount an information campaign with its residents that it hopes will put pressure on the provincial government.

Lohr says he doesn’t agree with McDougall’s assessment that there are no savings, but concedes they might not be as high as the municipality had hoped.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2023.

The Canadian Press