Nova Scotia’s 22 villages provide important services to citizens and are now assured they can apply for municipal grants. This clarification is one of minor changes introduced today, Nov. 1, to the Municipal Government Act. “The province recognizes the importance of having clarity in the act and has taken swift action to make clear that municipalities can provide essential funding to villages,” said John MacDonell, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities (UNSM) and the Association of Nova Scotia Villages brought the request for clarification to government in September. “Villages represent a significant urban component of many rural municipalities, providing a number of services to residents,” said UNSM president Jim Smith. “This request received strong support from the UNSM membership at our September AGM and I am pleased the province is acting promptly to implement it.” Other housekeeping items include co-ordinating the filing of all municipal auditors’ reports by Sept. 30, clarifying that villages must invest funds in the same manner as municipalities (i.e. in a bank), and giving the new associate deputy minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations the same authority as a deputy minister. “Having an associate deputy minister who can focus on municipal issues, build even stronger relationships with municipalities, and provide a dedicated perspective at the deputy minister level is important,” said Mr. MacDonell. Associate deputy minister Dan McDougall was appointed Oct. 15.