03/28/2014 01:34 EDT | Updated 05/28/2014 05:59 EDT

Three municipalities in Pictou County looking for ways to co-operate

NEW GLASGOW, N.S. - Three of six municipalities in the Pictou County area of Nova Scotia have agreed to harmonize their services, bylaws and taxation levels.

Representatives from the Municipality of Pictou County and the towns of New Glasgow and Pictou say they plan to sign a memorandum of understanding by June 1.

The plan was announced at New Glasgow town council on Friday, three days after the province said it wouldn't pay for a $150,000 study on the possibility of forming a regional government because of a lack of consensus among the six municipal governments.

New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan said the towns of Trenton, Stellarton and Westville are welcome to join the move towards harmonization.

"They certainly will be given an opportunity but we are not going to wait long," he said.

"It's very important that they be given an opportunity to become involved as long as they possess a shared vision for our community. That's important."

Deputy warden Andy Thompson of Pictou County said the pending agreement doesn't mean the municipalities are prepared to amalgamate.

"What we need is information so we can make good decisions for the benefit of the whole area for the next 20 years," said Thompson.

"The simple solution is to amalgamate and to throw everybody into the mixing pot. The hard part is, after that decision is made, to make it work. Do the homework first before you write the exam."

He said amalgamation hasn't worked well for some communities in the Halifax region, which is why Pictou County and the two towns will be taking their time on harmonization.