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Why participate?

I have ideas and solutions

Innovation and productivity are the drivers of economic growth. They thrive where diverse networks of businesses, ideas, people and organizations interact; consider the Ideas Festival as the collision of the minds that instigates change.

I care about the future of Atlantic Canada

Atlantic Canada's aging demographic means young people need to increasingly take on positions of leadership in business and government. The need to collaborate has never been greater to build that critical mass required to attract foreign investment, build economies of scale and repatriate our talent.

The world is changing rapidly everyday

The rapid pace of economic and social change, including the rise of developing countries, is forcing us to more effectively stimulate, communicate and apply new ideas. Importantly, there is no consensus around which ideas should be used.

Local Governance, Part II

By Paul Lang
Citizen NB blog

June 4, 2013

For my first subject, I touched a bit of the history of local governments in New Brunswick and the latest reforms that touched communities throughout the province. The latest reform that will affect municipalities and local service districts alike is the creation of the regional service commissions. This new regional structure encompasses five services: planning, solid waste, policing, emergency measures, and regional community and leisure infrastructures. This new commission is governed by a board of directors composed of mayors and local service districts chairs based on a population and tax base formula. Some regions have more mayors than local service district chairs and others like region 6 has more local service district chairs than mayors (10 LSD Chairs, 6 mayors). This new structure is supposed to be more efficient than the previous structure of independent commissions. Municipalities and local service districts are supposed to save money with this new regional structure.

Paul Lang - Executive Director of the Kent Regional Service Commission

This is where it gets interesting. When the various transition leaders were preparing budgets for the 12 commissions, they had the mandate to avoid tax increases for municipalities since they were told that this new structure would be more efficient. Unfortunately the reality is hitting the board members. Already some commissions are expecting deficits and the cost of offering the services might go up since the board can decide to offer its population more services, resulting in more expenses to municipalities and local service districts. Also, there is no uniformity between regions regarding the delivery of services and the development of each territory. In certain regions, some want to offer more to its population and others are still arguing on how they should offer the five basic services presented above.

As a passionate about local governments and its development, I realize that the twelve regions don’t have any mandate that promote the region so it becomes more competitive and attractive for business and people alike. Other services should have been added on to the list of five essential services offered by the RSC’s. Some boards, mine particularly are extremely enthusiastic about working together to make the region better, but the municipal and the regional service delivery acts are too restrictive and limit the capacity of regions to do more.

Local governments need to be proactive and regions need to accompany all these territories so they become better for its population and its businesses. Communities need to be creative and its population and municipal officials need to be involved

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