N.S. municipalities facing 'dire financial straits' due to COVID-19, study finds


Nova Scotia's municipalities have published a report outlining their "dire financial straits,'' saying without assistance from the province or Ottawa, tax rates will be going up sharply.

According to a new report by the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities, they're facing a collective shortfall of $66.5 million in 2020-21.

The group says the province's state of emergency has required so many people to stay home that normal, non-tax revenue streams have almost entirely dried up.

Transit losses alone amount to $23 million, according to the report, while areas such as recreation, parking and development permits have also seen revenue losses.

The study says without federal or provincial funding, the municipalities will have to raise residential tax rates by an average of 7.1 per cent.

Federation president Pam Mood says Nova Scotia's municipalities have already cut programs, laid off hundreds of staff and are drawing on reserves.