Text of the ‘Responsibilities for Roads’ Document

[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:

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:

 http://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/trans/pdf/en/Publications/Responsibilities_for_Roads.pdf .

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’.

In addition to the text of this document, I suggest reading previous posts on this subject:

Note: I have bolded certain text below to emphasize what I consider to be key points. Also, note that the document provides for a transition period of no more than eight years. That would take us to 2019 or 2020.

Text of the Responsibilities for Roads document follows:

Published December 19, 2011 (creation date Sept 22, 2011; downloaded Oct 7, 2014)

Responsibilities for Roads

In the Action Plan for a New Local Governance System in New Brunswick, the Provincial government has committed to the development of a policy toward fairer allocation of local responsibilities for roads, so that communities that choose to join together can afford road services.

Development of this policy will involve:
a detailed analysis of the road network in unincorporated areas, including a re-examination of road classification
– a determination of road conditions
– an assessment of road maintenance and capital costs
– an assessment of fair allocation of responsibility across communities

In the interim, the Provincial Government has put in place the guidelines outlined below to mitigate the financial impact associated with assuming the responsibility of local roads as a result of unincorporated areas choosing to become part of a new or existing municipality.
These guidelines provide an overview of Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) services to be provided within new municipal entities.

Provincial Interim Guidelines – Local responsibility for Roads
Department of Transportation

1. DTI continues to provide summer and winter maintenance services [defined under s. 49 in the Highway Act] to the local service district (LSD) section within the new municipal entity, per current service levels.

2. Maintenance services provided by DTI (including new developments/subdivisions) will be funded by the new municipal entity. Administration and control of all roads located in the new municipal entity will fall under responsibility of the new municipal entity, except those that will be classified as provincial and regional; municipal roads will be designated as per the Highway Act for capital funding purposes during the capital transition period (see # 4 below).

3. The new municipal entity may enter into a contract with a different service provider, or undertake to develop internal capacity, for maintenance services in the LSD section, taking into consideration the collective agreement in place at DTI. Where the new municipal entity wishes to enter into a different arrangement, the new municipal entity will provide a minimum of 12 months notice to DTI; the new arrangement then becomes permanent.

4. Funding for capital projects (excluding new developments/subdivisions) will be executed in the following manner:
a. A developmental plan will be established for the transition of funding responsibility for Capital projects from DTI to the new municipal entity;
b. The plan will transfer all, or a portion of the responsibility to fund capital costs associated with the road infrastructure;
c. The financial contribution of the new municipal entity in relation to road capital expenditures will be such that the taxation burden will be equitable to that of other similar municipalities;
d. The transition period will extend no longer than eight years.

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