Houston, ……We Have a Problem

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We have a new Council with new leadership in the person of Mayor Don Darling. They have been at the helm for 2 months give or take a day. Will it be status quo or will this Council finally take the bull by the horns and get Saint John on the road to recovery?

The health of a business is usually determined by adding and retaining customers based on the quality of products, service and pricing. The same could be said for cities, so how is our company  – Saint John Ltd. doing. Excuse the expression but we are getting our asses kicked by the competition. Take real estate as an example.

“The average price for homes sold in May 2016 was $165,762, a decrease of 2.1 per cent from the same month in 2015. The less volatile year-to-date average price was $161,964, edging up 0.6 per cent from the first five months of 2015”. (source Saint John Real Estate Board)

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So how is the rest of the country doing?  “Average Canadian house price of $503,301 in June up 11.2% from year ago”  (source CBC News)

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Company Saint John Ltd. has been loosing customer because we are not competing in terms of quality and price, pure plain and simple. Has it occurred to Council that a man’s castle, his home is in many cases the greatest single equity investment he or she has?  Has ir occurred to Council that Saint John homeowners would hope to convert that equity into cash sometime in the future to supplement their retirement income. Most folks in Saint John don’t have the advantage of a “City pension” so in many cases they have been left with a depreciating asset. Right Councilor Merrithew?

Common Council is a “Board of Directors” your job is to show the leadership that has been absent in Saint John for decades.

Where does our new Board of Directors start? They might start by implementing a complete independent operational reviews of every City Department. Next they might put in place municipal bench marking. Next  they might implement a municipal financial sustainability index. 

I don’t know about Houston however based on the data that keeps trickling in month after month and year after year I can safely say “Saint John…..We have a problem”.

What do you think?

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