Town of Digby Municipal Boundary Review 2022
- Published: September 07 2022 11:42
Town of Digby Municipal Boundary Review Process 2022
In 2022, the Town of Digby and every municipality in Nova Scotia is required to conduct a Municipal Boundary Review.
In the Town of Digby’s case, where Town Council members are elected at large, community members have the opportunity to offer their input on the size of Digby Town Council and if they believe that the number of elected officials serves the needs of the community and offers appropriate representation for its citizens or if they believe a change to the existing system should be made.
The population of the Town of Digby during the 2021 Census was 2,001, population ratio per Councillor is 500. The Town of Digby’s Land area is 3.16 square KMs. Digby Town Council consists of an elected Mayor and four at-large elected Town Council members. “At large” means that Council members represent the entire community and not any specific district or ward within the Town of Digby.
How does the Town of Digby stack up to other towns of similar size in Nova Scotia? The Town of Annapolis Royal (pop. 530) (land area 1.98 square KMs) has a mayor and four at-large councillors (ratio per Councillor 133). The Town of Pictou (pop. 3,107) (land area 7.69 square KMs) has a mayor and four at-large councillors (ratio per Councillor 777). The Town of Port Hawkesbury (pop. 3,210) (land area 8.10 square KMs) has a mayor and four at-large councillors (ratio per Councillor 803). The Town of Trenton (pop. 2,407) (land area 6.07 square KMs) has a mayor and four at-large councillors (ratio per Councillor 602). While the Town of Berwick (pop. 2,455) (ratio per Councillor 409) (land area 6.53 square KMs), Town of Lockport (pop. 476) (ratio per Councillor 79) (land area 3.12 square KMs), Town of Lunenburg (pop. 2,396)(ratio per Councillor 399) (land area 4.04 square KMs),Town of Mahone Bay (pop. 1,064) (ratio per Councillor 177) (land area 3.12 square KMs), Town of Middleton (pop. 1,873) (ratio per Councillor 312) (land area 5.55 square KMs), Town of Oxford (pop. 1,170) (ratio per Councillor 195) (land area 10.68 square KMs), Town of Shelburne (pop. 1,644) (ratio per Councillor 235), (land area 8.75 square KMs) Town of Stewiacke (pop. 1,557) (ratio per Councillor 260) (land area 17.62 square KMs) and the Town of Wolfville (pop. 5,057) (ratio per Councillor 843) (land area 6.46 square KMs) all have a mayor and six at-large councillors.
The average population including the Town of Digby is 2068, the average ratio per Councillor is 409 and the average land area is 6.57 square KMs.
Town Councillors in the Town of Digby are paid a taxed salary of $19,537 per year for their service. The Deputy Mayor (elected by Town Council) receives a taxed salary of $21,187 per year. The Mayor receives a taxed salary of $28,642 per year. In addition to monthly Town Council meetings and Committee of the Whole meetings, there are approximately twenty-four committees and commissions which require Town Council representation, with each Town Councillor generally serving on at least eight committees.
Council is required to make a submission to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board stating what Council composition should look like in the future, specifically:
• Should there be polling districts? (There are not currently polling districts in the Town of Digby)
• Should Council remain at the status quo which is made up of four councillors + one mayor?
The factors to consider when making a decision of the above questions are:
• What is the best number of people to represent the electors of the Town of Digby?
• What are the deciding factors for this recommendation? Generally, this is based on representation (who is sitting around the Council table? is this a good representation of the community?), workload (what do Councillors do? are there enough people to share the load?), costs (members of Council receive an honorarium, and there are expenses incurred for training, travel, etc), and how do the numbers work if there is a split decision.
Why does this matter to the citizens of The Town of Digby?
Because this process determines what representation looks like at Council, your local government.
Council will reach out to the public for YOUR opinion before making their submission to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
HOW YOU CAN PROVIDE YOUR INPUT
As part of the public engagement process around the Municipal Boundary Review:
• You can participate in an online survey just follow the link here: Town of Digby Municipal Boundary Review Survey
• You may submit written comments by regular mail to the Town of Digby or drop off at Town Hall, located at 147 First Avenue in Digby (please include "Municipal Boundary Review" in writing in the title of your submission.
• You may participate in a Public Meeting that will be held at the Council Chambers located at Town Hall 147 First Avenue in Digby, on Monday November 7th 2022 at 6:00 p.m. All are welcome and Council will receive both written and verbal submissions
What happens after the public engagement segment is completed?
Public feedback will be taken into consideration when Council develops their recommendation. Council will make their submission (recommendation) to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
INDEPENDENT PUBLIC HEARING
Once the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has received the recommendation from Council, the Board will schedule and publicize their own independent Public Hearing in the community. This public hearing is an additional opportunity for members of the public to submit their comments before the final decision is made.
Once the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board makes their decision, they will advise Council, and that decision will determine the way that future municipal elections are held.