04/17/2014 11:56 EDT | Updated 06/17/2014 05:59 EDT

Nova Scotia town's dissolution over finances gets support of minister

HALIFAX - A decision by the town of Hantsport to dissolve itself in the face of a shrinking corporate tax base has garnered the support of Nova Scotia's municipal affairs minister.

Mark Furey said Thursday that the provincial government will provide whatever support it can to Hantsport as it decides whether to join West Hants or Kings County.

Furey said the province has been leaving it up to smaller communities to either seek amalgamations or new forms of governance if they deem it necessary.

He said talks are continuing with some communities, although he declined to give details or to identify the towns.

"I don't want to breach the confidentiality of those discussions," Furey said.

Furey has previously said as many as a dozen communities have expressed a willingness to consider different models of governance.

Hantsport's decision followed recent moves by Springhill and Bridgetown to dissolve in order to seek amalgamation with larger municipalities.

Mayor Robbie Zwicker said the community of about 1,100 people has coped with manufacturing job losses in recent years with the closures of Fundy Gypsum in 2011 and Minas Basin Pulp and Power in 2012.

Zwicker said the town council concluded that the loss of $1.1 million, or about a third of the town's tax base, was just too much to absorb.

He said council considered raising taxes significantly in order to maintain the town's infrastructure, but decided against the move.

"We came to the conclusion that people pay enough tax and there's got to be a better way," said Zwicker.