Municipal Funding: Questions Linger in New Brunswick

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Funding of municipalities: questions persist in New Brunswick

Local Governance Reform Minister Daniel Allain.

Elected municipal officials gathered on Saturday for the annual convention of the Union of New Brunswick Municipalities. The financial framework presented last week by the Minister for Local Government and Local Governance Reform has caused dissatisfaction.

The municipal world in New Brunswick is a bit in shock, immediately admitted Ian Comeau, the mayor of Campbellton, met Saturday at the Delta Hotel in Fredericton, where the convention is being held.

Municipalities had understood that they would receive more money to help make the transitions required by the reform, says Mr. Comeau.

Minister Daniel Allain took stock in the morning, after a rather eventful week. But even after the presentation by Mr. Allain and his deputy minister on Saturday morning, many questions persist.

Elected municipal officials say they are afraid of being forced to penalize their citizens by raising taxes, in order to balance budgets.

Inflation, costs rise for municipalities, says Dan Murphy, the chief executive of the x27;Union of New Brunswick Municipalities. They are being asked to manage more services: tourism, economic development…

Minister Allain says he understands that the financial portion of the municipal reform raises questions. He says he is ready to continue the dialogue with the municipalities in the coming weeks, provided that they consider their budget.

This week we have given two tools: property assessments and new funding, with equalization. Let's get the job done, says minister.

Municipalities have complained about an error by Elections New Brunswick, which sent election documents to the wrong addresses in anticipation of municipal elections.

These elections will take place on November 28.

The Union of Municipalities says it fears that this incident will further confuse citizens who try to understand what local governance reform is changing in their communities.

Based on reporting by Sarah Déry

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