Local service district (New Brunswick)

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For NFLD, see Local Service District (Newfoundland and Labrador)

A local service district (LSD) is a unit of local governance in the Canadian province of New Brunswick; LSDs are defined by Regulation 84-168, the Local Service Districts Regulation - Municipalities Act.[1] LSDs are unincorporated (not self-governed) areas making up the bulk of New Brunswick's geographic area, including about a third of the province's citizens.[2]

History[edit]

Local Service Districts originated from the former civil parishes when, in the 1960s, a new local governance structure was introduced to replace county government. County councils were described as "out-dated" and dysfunctional.[3] This was a consequence of the Ed Byrne Commission report recommendations and subsequent Equal Opportunity legislation introduced by Premier Louis Robichaud, intending to level the playing field between have and have-not regions of the Province. These reforms also saw a significant revamp of property assessments and taxation and so were characterized as sweeping social reforms. County municipalities were "abolished", 'un-incorporating' the parish districts and incorporating many of the larger communities they had contained. The Province undertook management of local service provision responsibilities in these unincorporated units, resulting in significant growth of the civil service.[4]

Distribution[edit]

As of September 1, 2015, there are 242 LSDs. There have been an additional seventy-three former LSDs, most of which were incorporated as, or absorbed by, municipalities. The number of concurrent LSDs peaked at 291 in 1991 and has been declining since 1995.

There are 138 Parish LSDs (plus ten former parish LSDs), which range from entire parishes, such as Cardwell, to areas left over after large numbers of LSDs have been separated, such as Shippegan. The parishes of Gagetown, Grand Manan, Hampstead have never had parish LSDs; Huskisson, while unstated in Regulation 84-168, is part of LSD the parish of Harcourt.

The remaining 104 LSDs (plus 62 former) vary in nature – three are school districts dating from the original creation of LSDs in 1966, one is an island, one a pair of islands, several are centralised communities like Elgin, most are decentralised communities or groups of communities (which can approach the size of parishes), and two resulted from mergers in 1996 (Chaleur) and 1999 (Allardville) that included three (two parish) and two (one parish) LSDs respectively.

LSDs by County as of September 1, 2015[edit]

County Name # of Current LSDs # of Former LSDs Total # of LSD ever # of parishes Notes
Albert 7 7 6
Carleton 19 19 11
Charlotte 19 4 23 15
Gloucester 44 28 72 10 no parish LSD for Allardville, Inkerman, and Saumarez
Kent 18 1 19 12
Kings 15 1 16 15
Madawaska 13 2 15 14 no parish LSD for Saint-André and Saint-Basile
Northumberland 23 9 32 13 no parish LSD for Ludlow
Queens 11 1 12 10 never a parish LSD for Gagetown and Hampstead
Restigouche 19 10 29 8 no parish LSD for Colborne, Durham, and Grimmer
Saint John 4 4 3
Sunbury 9 9 7
Victoria 8 8 7
Westmorland 17 13 30 7 Grande-Digue is listed with Kent County
York 16 4 20 14 Benton is listed with Carleton County
Totals 242 73 315 152

.

False LSDs[edit]

The number of LSDs is sometimes misstated, due to the existence of three units that can be confused with official LSDs: areas with increased or decreased services, Taxing Authorities, and Census Designated Places that are called Local Service Districts.

  • Special areas (40 current plus 34 former) have been defined for different services than the parent LSD, usually street lighting. These does not seem to be an official term for such areas.
  • Taxing Authorities (316 in 2013) usually match LSDs and special areas, but can also be subdivisions of LSDs that do not differ in services or groupings of special areas. Names can also vary from the appropriate LSD or special area, with "the parish of" typically dropped from the names of parish LSDs and "Parish" sometimes appended for clarity. The taxing authorities of Calhoun Road, Havelock Inside, and Saint-Grégoire cross LSD boundaries.
  • Census Designated Places (DPL; 167 units in the 2011 census, including 41 parts of 19 divided DPLs) include current LSDs and special areas, as well as some former LSDs that have been incorporated into municipalities. The boundaries of DPLs don't always match those in Regulation 84-168, sometimes including isolated parts of parish LSDs bordering non-parish LSDs. The most pronounced variation from actual boundaries was with the local service district of the Parish of Saumarez, which consisted of the special area of Canton-des-Basques and five scattered pieces; the special area was classed as a DPL, and three other parts of the LSD were included in bordering LSDs for population counts and maps.

Operation[edit]

Property owners are taxed a LSD rate arranged by the Province's Local Service District Manager to pay for services. These assessments may be for facilities situated in the LSD, services operated locally or purchased from a neighbouring municipality, or shared costs of operation of facilities in a municipality. LSDs that become rural communities are subject to LSD taxes for services provided by the province.

The base rate, which includes fire protection, is $0.6315 per $100 of assessed value for owner-occupied residential properties. Non owner-occupied residential properties pay provincial tax as well as any taxes for services beyond fire protection; business pay 50% more than the total rate for non owner-occupied residential properties.[5]

Services[edit]

In order of frequency, these are the services officially listed for LSDs as of June 1, 2016.[1]

Fire protection[edit]

All LSDs are assessed the base rate for fire protection. Some LSDs house rural fire departments; all other LSDs contract the service from municipalities or other LSDs.

First aid and ambulance services[edit]

125 LSDs. The province created Ambulance New Brunswick in 2007; before that parts of the province were served by private operators. The last time this service was added to an existing LSD was in 1987;[6] since 1994 this service has been deleted whenever an LSD's description is amended.

Street lighting[edit]

111 LSDs. Often limited to areas with enhanced services.

Community services[edit]

107 LSDs. Used for facilities such as the Belleisle Community Centre in the parish of Springfield.

Recreational facilities[edit]

67 LSDs. Used for sports fields and such. This service is sometimes deleted when recreational and sports facilities are added to an LSD.

Garbage and refuse collection and disposal[edit]

40 LSDs. Self-explanatory.

Recreational and sports facilities[edit]

24 LSDs. Used for cost-sharing of municipal facilities.

Non fire-related rescue[edit]

21 LSDs. Covers increased liability insurance costs for fire departments that perform search-and-rescue duties.

Community planning[edit]

4 LSDs. A service that has been assumed by Regional Service Commissions. Like first aid and ambulance services, a discontinued category that only appears because editing of Regulation 84-168 has not kept up with developments.

Community services facilities[edit]

2 LSDs. Used for facilities in Apohaqui (the parish of Sussex) and Berwick (the parish of Sussex).

Participation[edit]

LSDs may establish an advisory committee of three to five members if a public meeting with sufficient eligible voters is held.[7] LSD advisory committees are disbanded if their membership falls below three. The Committees have no legislative or taxing authority, but work with the Local Service District Manager to administer services.

The group, "Concerned Citizens Regarding Local Plans" have identified that less than one third of Local Service Districts have an advisory committee as of June, 2012. Why there is low participation in advisory committees is not well understood. The provincial government does not publicise advisory committee elections or meetings on its website.

Advisory committee presidents are asked to participate on commission boards and advisory panels. A certain amount of consulting and service contracts are awarded as a result of LSD service activity, which provide economic activities.

Legislative and Policy[edit]

Individual LSDs are not described in the Municipalities Act; instead, they are defined in Regulation 84-168 under the Municipalities Act, the Local Service Districts Regulation - Municipalities Act, which was filed July 16, 1984, and has been amended many times since.

Until it can be substantiated, it is only anecdotal that LSDs are being encouraged by the provincial government to adopt a form of local government known as a rural community under Bruce Fitch's Local Governance Action Plan. Rural Communities have more power than LSDs, but less than municipalities. There are currently seven Rural Communities: Upper Miramichi (2008), Campobello Island (2010), Cocagne (2014), and Hanwell (2014) are all former LSDs; Beaubassin East (1995) combined four LSDs and parts of three parish LSDs; Saint-André (2006) and Kedgwick (2012) resulted from mergers of one village and one parish LSD each.

Criticisms[edit]

The term 'Democratic deficit' was used by Jean-Guy Finn (Local Governance Task Force, 2010) to describe an "unbalanced local government", as in: many residents without representation at a local level (35% of population and 90% of the provincial territory) and limited competition for elected offices (1/3 of municipal councils with less than 2000 pop acclaimed) [8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "New Brunswick Regulation 84-168 under the Municipalities Act (O.C. 84-582)". Government of New Brunswick. June 1, 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  2. ^ http://www.fpeim.ca/pdf/jean-guy%20finn.pdf
  3. ^ Richard Hatfield: Power and Disobedience. Michaud and Cormier. Gooselane, 1992.
  4. ^ Richard Hatfield: Power and Disobedience. Michaud and Cormier. Gooselane, 1992.
  5. ^ "Property Tax 101" (PDF). Government of New Brunswick. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Regulation 87-42 (Order in Council 87-278). Government of New Brunswick. 21 April 1987. 
  7. ^ http://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/services/services_renderer.9495.html
  8. ^ http://www.fpeim.ca/pdf/jean-guy%20finn.pdf

External links[edit]