[This is the fourth in a series of posts on service costs in Local Service Districts (LSDs) in New Brunswick. I suggest reading these previous posts, which add context to the information presented below:
- Regional Service Commissions – another train wreck?
- Service Costs in New Brunswick Local Service Districts – Text of the Comptrollers Report May 2008
- How Much Does It Cost To Run A Local Service District? ]
In 2011, the New Brunswick government moved towards reform of the system of local governance by adopting some elements of the Finn report. By gradually transferring responsibilities (and tax points) for provision of local services to Regional Service Commissions, the Province hoped to relieve itself of certain costs and also transfer decision-making for certain politically sensitive issues to the regional commissions. Financial analyses carried out by the Province in previous years indicated that property taxes collected from rural New Brunswick (in particular the unincorporated Local Service Districts) were insufficient to cover the costs of local services. This means that once local service delivery is completely transferred the Regional Service Commissions, property taxes in at least some parts of rural New Brunswick may rise, and rise considerably.
Among the documents released as part of the process of transition to the new system was one entitled ‘Responsibilities for Roads’. In brief, this document sets out an eight year transition period during which responsibilities for local road maintenance and repair would become a local responsibility. The Province would no longer fund snowplowing and maintenance of what it deemed to be local roads. Those would become the responsibility of rural municipalities, towns and villages and/or Regional Service Commissions. There would certainly be some tax implications in this transfer, especially for rural areas with falling populations and a weakening tax base.
The ‘Responsibilities for Roads’ document was once found at this URL:
However, it seems to have been removed or relocated. I had previously downloaded a copy of the document and have placed the text below (and here’s a link to the downloaded pdf – Responsibilities_for_Roads). I don’t know why the document has been removed – perhaps the government is no longer intent on downloading responsibilities for local roads, perhaps the issue is deemed too politically sensitive for display, or perhaps the plan is ‘under review’.by