It has been nearly half a century since the last major changes to local governance were made. Since then, local governance has become more complex and costly, as the needs and expectations of New Brunswickers have also changed.
During this same period, there have been numerous attempts to determine how best to adapt to these changing circumstances. There have been more than 20 reviews and reports, and many consultation exercises. Until now, none have resulted in significant action.
Looking ahead, the Government of New Brunswick recognizes that by making necessary changes to the way services are delivered, paid for, and shared, New Brunswick’s communities will be better positioned to meet the needs of citizens into the future.
By undertaking improvements in support of service delivery and community governance structures, Municipalities, Rural Communities, and Local Service Districts (LSDs) will have the tools to better sustain communities and regions over the long-term.
Finally, by reconfiguring the property taxation and assessment system, community funding, and legislation, Government will support a foundation of fairness, efficiency, equity and accountability necessary for a strong, sustainable local governance system.
This Action Plan outlines the actions to be implemented and the desired outcomes under five headings. These headings are the objectives of a new local governance system.
The five objectives:
- Strengthen capacity of local governments while maintaining their community identity
- Fair and effective property taxation and assessment system for the long-term
- Increased collaboration, communication and planning between communities
- More equitable community funding arrangements
- Modernized legislation supporting local and regional decision-making
Achieving these objectives over the next two years will mean a great deal of effort by those involved and will be carried out in phases. The anticipated timeframes around each phase of actions can be found on page 16 at the end of this Action Plan.
This Action Plan will require continuing partnerships, cooperation and collaboration among communities, service providers, citizens, and the Province. This Plan marks a new era in local governance. Its successful implementation will be based on the shared vision and efforts of all New Brunswickers.
This Action Plan was developed with consideration of the many views expressed earlier this year by New Brunswickers. Views were gathered through public and stakeholder consultation sessions involving representatives from municipal and unincorporated communities, business and service sectors,
municipal associations and the public, as well as through written submissions and questionnaires.
These views, as well as the information which supported the consultation and awareness process, can be accessed online at: www.gnb.ca/localgovernment or by contacting the Department of Local Government.