History of the Municipality of the County of Victoria
In 2001, Victoria County celebrated its one hundredth and fiftieth anniversary. Prior to 1851, the area which is now defined as Victoria County was part of Cape Breton County. The County was officially proclaimed in April, 1851, and as Queen Victoria was ruling Britain, it was deemed appropriate to name the newly formed County in her honour.
In 1851, the first Municipal Council (known then as the Court of Sessions), was composed of eleven Councillors (known then as Justices of the Peace). The first Warden (Custos Rotulorum) of the County was Murdoch MacAskill of Little Narrows.
By 1875, the number of Councillors had increased to twenty-two and the Warden was William Kidston.
In 1879, the Province passed the "Rural Municipalities Act" which instituted the form of municipal government as it is at the present time, with Councillors from each district and an elected Warden. The first Municipal Council session was held in January, 1880, and it consisted of sixteen Councillors from the various districts of the County. The first Warden elected by Council was Dr. John L. Bethune, a resident of the Village of Baddeck.
Fifty years onward in 1950, there were nineteen Councillors. The number of districts still totalled eighteen, however, District #7 had been divided into two sections, one for South Ingonish and the other for North Ingonish and known respectively as 7A and 7B. The Warden was Angus G. Morrison from Englishtown representing District #5. The revenue fund balance sheet for December 31, 1949, showed assets of $57,045.08, which came from a bank balance, tax revenue and tax sales. Administrative expenditures amounted to $9,702.32, which included Warden and Council fees, salaries for the clerk-treasurer, assistant, assessors, auditors, and general office expenses.
By 1968, Municipal Council had been downsized to twelve Councillors. Kenneth Matheson of Jubilee, who represented District #2 (Little Narrows area) was unanimously chosen as Warden. The total budget for 1968 was $665,847.67 with $383,147.13 to be raised from taxation and the remainder to come from other sources of revenue such as Province of Nova Scotia general purpose grant, poll taxes, licenses, rents, etc.
A further downsizing of the number of Municipal Districts and Councillors took place in 1994 when the number was reduced to eight. That number has not altered to date.