At the November 6 meeting of Saint Andrews Town Council, Council unanimously agreed to enter into a contract with the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission for the provision of planning and building inspection services.
According to Saint Andrews Mayor Doug Naish, this is a financial decision and the Town will save approximately $60,000 annually. “We have a limited tax base. When considering the resources that are required to meet the significant infrastructure, regulatory, and service delivery challenges we are facing, we must consider every opportunity to save resources, where possible.”
Joyce Wright, Chair of the Southwest New Service Commission agrees. “When the Regional Service Commissions were formed, it was with the intent of finding efficiencies for the communities we serve.” She adds, “The Commission is governed by a Board made up of the Mayors and LSD reps in our region. I am very pleased that the Board is making great progress on a number of files that will help move the region forward by sharing resources.”
The Commission is leading a recently-announced region-wide recycling program, as well as administering the funding for a new pilot project bus service which provides a transportation link for Charlotte County residents to essential services within the County and in Saint John. There are many other great examples of sharing services and resources in the region. Mayor Naish points to the provision of fire protection services as a good example. The Saint Andrews Fire Department provides fire protection service to the surrounding Local Service Districts, and is reimbursed by the Province on behalf of the LSD’s on a per-household basis.
“Each of our communities is facing fiscal challenges and needs to make tough decisions in this budget season. The more we can find ways to work together and amalgamate our services and facilities, the easier it will be to find resources for new initiatives and necessary infrastructure improvements,” says Mayor Naish. In conjunction with the change, the Town will also be modernizing and simplifying its Building By-Law.
Town officials report that one job is being eliminated and a private contract for building inspection services is being cancelled as a result of this change. The transition to the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission for planning and building inspection services will take effect immediately.