The three largest cities in New Brunswick have decided to come together to denounce the freeze on property assessments issued by the provincial government following the property assessment fiasco.
This freeze puts all municipalities in the province in a difficult position, said the mayors of Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John in a joint statement.
At the beginning of the week, the Gallant government promised a total of $2.6 million in aid, which will be paid on a case-by-case basis to municipalities that will suffer a reduction in their incomes due to the freeze.
This will be largely insufficient, according to municipal councilor Henri Mallet of Fredericton, interviewed on Iic Acadie’s Le Réveil Nouveau-Brunswick.
“The amount is too small, it’s a dressing. The aid should benefit all communities and not be offered on a case-by-case basis, “he said.
The City of Fredericton believes for the moment that the freeze will result in a shortfall of $ 1.7 million. To compensate, it would be normal, according to Henri Mallet, that Service New Brunswick does not charge the city this year the $ 1.3 million that cost property assessments in the capital.
The three big cities say that as things stand, the freeze will lead to “difficult decisions” during the budget planning process, which has already begun for next year.
“There are going to be really tough decisions to make on our side,” confirms Henri Mallet. According to him, budget cuts are to be expected.
A long term freeze?
Municipalities are also concerned that the freeze will continue beyond the next fiscal year, which would further reduce budgetary capacity.
They argue that the predictability of their incomes is essential for them to cope with many budgetary challenges including investments in infrastructure and salaries of public safety employees through arbitration-determined regulations.
The three cities call for continued dialogue with the provincial government.