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The New Brunswick legislature in Fredericton. Image: Brad Perry

Municipalities Worried About Proposed Funding Changes

By Brad Perry Oct 6, 2022 | 12:24 PM

Concerns from the Union of the Municipalities of New Brunswick (UMNB) over how the province plans to fund local governments going forward.

The province introduced changes to its community funding and equalization grant program earlier this week.

If approved, only communities in need of support would continue to receive equalization payments, while those that are financially stronger would not receive it.

Core funding would be redirected to support regional service commissions and their expanded mandates, which include economic development, land use planning, tourism promotion, and waste collection.

In addition, funding through the program would be frozen at $75.6 million annually through 2027.

“At a time when the provincial government has accumulated a significant budget surplus, it is unacceptable that municipal revenues will be reduced when the province is also downloading provincial responsibilities to municipalities,” said Alex Scholten, president of UMNB.

Under the proposed changes, 26 of 89 communities ranging in size from the Riverview to McAdam will see a net loss in funding, according to UMNB.

Scholten said a white paper looking into the community funding and equalization grant program pointed out that if the province is transferring a service to the municipal level, then the province has a responsibility to provide funding for that service.

“Instead, the province is electing to re-direct revenues earmarked for municipalities to fund the new mandates potentially putting municipal taxpayers on the hook for more costs,” he said.

“The province needs to revisit this immediately as it appears to run contrary to the principles laid out in the white paper.”

With files from Allan Dearing


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