Monday, April 3, 2017 (Halifax, NS) – The Halifax Regional Municipality is seeking residents’ feedback on potential changes to its charter that could ultimately expand the municipality’s powers and reduce red tape.
The Halifax Regional Municipality Charter is provincial legislation that sets out all of the municipality’s powers and responsibilities.
The municipality is considering something called Natural Person Powers (NPPs). NPPs give municipalities the power to do anything an ordinary (or natural) person can do. For example, a person can give loans to anyone, buy shares in a company, or buy and use property for any purpose. These are all things the municipality cannot do, or is restricted from doing in some way under the Charter.
In the past, the municipality has required provincial approval for such things as Solar City financing, support for scholarship funds, and borrowing amounts. That provincial approval would not be necessary if the municipality adopted NPPs.
Essentially, these powers would give the municipality more freedom to consider new ways to provide programs or services and raise revenue without requiring changes to provincial legislation, which can be a lengthy process and not guaranteed to succeed.
The municipality is seeking public input on this potential shift in direction. Citizens are being asked to share their thoughts on the idea itself, what programs and services might benefit from this approach, and what restrictions should be in place if the municipality adopts this.
Through this process the municipality is also looking at improving its ability to deliver peace, order, and good government to its citizens.
Residents are encouraged to share their feedback by completing an online survey on the Shape Your City engagement portal. The survey closes on Monday, April 17. Responses will be shared with Regional Council through a staff report in the spring.