The community restructuring process, the ‘how-to’, is the same regardless of the type of local governments or communities involved.
The Community Restructuring Process
- Demonstration of Interest
A letter, from a municipal council, LSD advisory committee or group of citizens, i.e. the proponent(s), is sent to the Minister of Environment and Local Government stating interest in restructuring.
- Initial Assessment & Public Consultation
Working together, representatives of local stakeholder groups and the department’s regional local services manager undertake an initial review of the prospective community(ies) involved in the restructuring project, to determine if there is sufficient local interest and capacity to further pursue community restructuring and to discuss what restructuring option might be preferable. Population, tax base, social and economic relationships are examined.
- Feasibility Study & Public Consultation
Once support has been demonstrated for the project, department staff undertake a thorough analysis of the proposed restructuring project including a review of local services, budget projections of revenues and expenditures (money coming in and going out), tax rates and how they differ across areas given service delivery differences, geographic boundaries, etc. Once a preliminary report is complete, a summary of that report is shared with residents and broader public consultation efforts are pursued.
- Determination of Local Support (Plebiscite/Council Resolution)
If deemed ready, a community restructuring project is voted upon through a plebiscite coordinated by Elections New Brunswick. Residents of the communities involved in the restructuring project are invited to vote on the restructuring project. In municipalities and rural communities, a resolution of council is required in place of a plebiscite, as council members are elected by residents to represent their interests.
If a majority of residents who vote, do so in favour of restructuring, the project is considered to have sufficient local support. It is then the responsibility of the Minister of Environment and Local Government to make a recommendation to Provincial Cabinet on the restructuring project. Once Cabinet approval is received, election of the community’s first council is held, followed by staff and council training.
If the vote doesn’t achieve favourable support, the restructuring project is terminated and the local government(s) or local service district(s) involved remain as is.
*The community restructuring process takes approximately 8 months to a year to complete but can be longer depending on factors that might arise during the course of the process. For example, the complexity of the project (i.e. number of communities involved, complex service arrangements, extensive consultation efforts, etc.) could result in additional time.