LINCOLN (GNB) – A feasibility study has been launched to examine whether the local service district of Lincoln should become a village.

The study, announced by Environment and Local Government Minister Bruce Fitch, follows an initial assessment, a public meeting and a local petition.

"The study will enable residents of the local service district to assess if and how a village might better serve the needs and interests of the community," Fitch said. "The broader community – including residents, community organizations, service providers and businesspeople of the local service district – will be consulted."

The study will determine what differences village status could make for the people of Lincoln. This includes:

●    boundaries;
●    name;
●    number of councillors;
●    initial staffing needs;
●    services that the village would be responsible to provide;
●    the effect on property taxes; and
●    how village status could help meet the needs and interests of the community.

Jim Arbeau, chair of the local service district advisory committee, is chairing a round table mandated to represent various community interests during the study. Those interests include community organizations, businesspeople and service providers from the local service district as well as the entire local service district advisory committee.

Working sessions will take place from now through fall. The group will next meet later this month. Provincial government staff will provide technical assistance.

"Public consultation sessions and regularly scheduled town hall meetings will be held to update the progress of the study,” said Arbeau. “Two restructuring options will be available for residents to consider: establishing a village or remaining as a local service district."

The minister could authorize a plebiscite should the study reveal it is feasible to establish a village and if there is strong support from the community for this option.

Villages are run by elected councils that have local decision-making authority. Village status helps these communities plan for the future they want and enables them to ensure that local services meet their needs and makes the best use of property tax revenue.