Government of Nova
gov.ns.caGovernment of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
Municipal Affairs
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Indicator Definitions

Each indicator has a technical definition that describes how it was calculated. The definition explains the meaning of key terminology and what the indicator is measuring. It provides information to consider when interpreting the indicator results and other indicators that measure similar aspects of a municipality's performance.

Select an indicator to display the technical definition:


Outstanding Debt (%)


3.5% or less


Total outstanding long term debt ÷ Total uniform assessment

Technical Definition

Total outstanding long term debt: Gross long-term obligations arising from a borrowing, including lease obligations on assets, which are recorded as property of the municipality. Borrowing with a repayment term of more than one year is considered a long-term debt for reporting purposes

• For March 31, 2012 year: FIR Schedule I - Line 2043000

• For March 31, 2013 year and forward: FIR Schedule I - Line 2043000 plus Schedule D - Line 1045000

Total uniform assessment: Sum of all taxable assessment plus the capitalized value of all grants or payments received in lieu of taxes


Municipalities are not allowed to incur debt as a result of operating deficits, but they are allowed to borrow for the purchase and construction of capital assets. This indicator gives an indication of how much debt a municipality is carrying in relation to their tax base.


A high percentage may indicate that a municipality has a high debt load relative to their revenue base and are limited in the amount of new infrastructure investments they can make. It may also reflect that the municipality has recently made significant investments in infrastructure which would increase performance on the undepreciated assets indicator.

A low percentage may indicate that a municipality is achieving its long-term infrastructure planning without a high reliance on borrowing. It may also indicate that a municipality has not been making significant investments in capital assets. Additional investigation into the municipality’s debt management policies should be made before drawing conclusions regarding a municipality’s responsible debt and capital asset management performance.

Data Source(s)

  • Municipal Affairs calculation of uniform assessment
  • Municipal Financial Information Return (FIR) - General Capital Fund (non-consolidated)
  • Municipal Financial Information Return (FIR) - General Operating Fund (non-consolidated)

Related Indicator(s)

  • Mandatory Expenditures
  • Debt Service
  • Total Capital From Operating
  • Undepreciated Assets
  • 5-year Capital Purchases
  • 5-year Contributions to Capital Reserves
  • 3-Year Change in Tax Base
  • Change in Population
  • Strategic Planning