Citizens in New Brunswick’s communities receive services, either from a local government (city, town, village or Rural Community) or the province in the case of Local Service Districts. Some services are delivered by Municipalities or Rural Communities themselves, while others are acquired or arranged for from service providers including commissions, local volunteers, other municipalities, the private sector, and in the case of RCMP services, from the federal government.
There are currently 12 commissions providing planning services and 12 commissions providing solid waste management, as well as 15 regional economic development agencies and 9 water and wastewater commissions. There are also a number of mutual aid agreements in place across the province between Municipalities, Rural Communities and Local Service Districts for the delivery of services such as fire protection, as well as a number of agreements for cost-sharing and managing services such as recreational facilities.
Neighbouring communities often compete for new investments; build infrastructure or acquire equipment which can result in duplication; and many struggle to maintain these structures or inventories with limited available revenue. With some exceptions, communities tend to individually purchase or acquire needed expertise to manage or administer services.
Government recognizes that this approach to service delivery is inefficient and doesn’t capitalize on the collective strength of neighbouring communities.
The primary challenge is that there is no existing structure to enable communities to communicate with one another, to plan and prioritize from a regional perspective, collaborate on projects, cost-share on service delivery, and make mutually-beneficial decisions on investments, or share expertise.
The New Local Governance System will have, as one of its key features, a model to support the needed connectivity and cooperation between communities to ensure that both individual local governments and local service districts are better positioned to meet the service needs of residents and to benefit from collective efforts to build and sustain stronger regions.
Current Challenges at a glance:
- Many communities have small populations and their ability to generate revenue (raise money) to pay the costs of delivering community services is limited.
- Neighbouring communities across New Brunswick are trying to deliver many of the same services on their own. This can result in higher delivery costs and service duplication.
- There is a need for more coordinated planning at the local, regional and provincial levels.
- There is no existing structure to allow neighbouring Municipalities, Rural Communities, and Local Service Districts to manage shared service delivery, make regionally-beneficial decisions, share costs, and collaborate for efficiencies.
The Path Forward - Actions to Achieve Objective 3
Enable improved service delivery and collaboration by:
- Implementing a new Regional Service Delivery Model, which will include the establishment of:
- Boundaries for 12 regions, based on communities and regions of interest (including such factors as regional identity, existing boundaries, language profiles, as well as proximity to and use of facilities such as schools, recreation centres, etc.)
- 12 multi-purpose Regional Service Commissions to plan, deliver, or facilitate delivery of services to both municipal and unincorporated (LSD) communities, with the initial responsibility for :
- regional planning;
- loal planning in LSDs;
- solid waste management;
- regional policing collaboration;
- regional emergency measures planning; and
- regional sport, recreational, and cultural planning and cost-sharing.
- Mechanisms to enable other voluntary services to be delivered on a regional or sub-regional basis, including local planning or corporate services provided to interested municipalities.
- A Board for each Commission made up of representatives from Municipalities, Rural Communities, and Local Service Districts. The Regional Service Commissions will be service delivery agents rather than a tier of government, and will not have taxing authority.