This seems to be a big promise by a lot of candidates this election. Let’s face the facts in the past 10 years this city’s spending has ballooned from about 90 million to 135 million.
It is time to reconsider what services that city should offer. To have a reasonable tax rate this city needs to reduce its spending very drastically. In most accounts, the number that results in a reasonable tax rate is about $105 million dollars.
Our fire service is one of the most costly in the country. Our transit services have increased in municipal funding from $250,000 to over $5 million dollars in the past 10 years. In addition, the biggest sources of revenue (the parking commission) and the biggest expenses (major facilities, pension fund, solid waste) are not under the city’s complete control and are hidden behind provincial legislation.
These bodies are also not required to be either open or accountable to the public. Several years ago the spring garbage collection was removed for costing half a million dollars in one week, but was it really required?
A truly responsible new council should take the necessary measures to remove Saint John from the ranks of the highest property taxes and water taxes in the country and instead promote measures to increase the tax base but offering a more advantageous tax rate to attack further development.