A Penny For Your Thoughts


The other morning the Commentary in the TJ was suggesting that high property tax rates and high water rates “might” be throwing monkey wrench into this Council’s priority of “economic development”.  It wasn’t exactly a sharp stick in the ass but it was at least a gentle prodding for Common Council to get on with it.

Hummm…..That opinion piece was enough to turn the conversation away from international politics, ……Crooked Hillary and Trumpdy Dumpty.  There’s nothing like trouble in your own backyard, right here in river city to bring the coffee chatter  back to earth.

One rather astute gentleman asked what are the four most important considerations that business competing with one another deal with?

We humoured him and aftr putting our heads together came up with: 1) location 2) price 3) product quality and 4) level of service.

Then he asked. What’s the difference between a business and a municipality, specifically Saint John?

The over 22,000 people that have left Saint John over the past several decades would suggest none and I would have to agree with them.

Do you know what happens to businesses that aren’t competitive? They go out of business.

Do you know what happens to cities that aren’t competitive? They taxpayer base erodes  and the city then raises the tax rate to make up for a smaller tax base and that’s why Saint John has the dubious honour of having the highest tax rate of any of the major cities in Atlantic Canada.

I would suggest that successful economic development for a city means attracting business and adding to the population base, would you agree?

The cabinets at City Hall are filled with economic strategies that go back decades: All the way from “Imagine the Possibilities” to “Vision 2015”.  All have sat collecting dust, why? Because we have not had a Mayor and Council with the “courage to make the difficult decisions”

At the end of the 4 year “Renaissance City Period” Saint John has been left with  a 21 percent retail and commercial vacancy rate with real estate prices one of the lowest in Canada.  Would I be going out on a limb by suggesting that we are moving in the wrong direction?

The TJ article has hit the nail on the head, “talking” about economic development isn’t enough, decisions have to be made that offer better value and quality of life to Saint John’s “customers” the taxpayer, to reverse the long period of economic regression.

Some moths ago Councilor Gary Sullivan made a motion to reduce the Saint John tax rate by 1 cent,  the motion was seconded by Greg Norton and the rest of Common Council? They could have passed for a herd of deer caught in the headlights, failed the first test to find the “courage to make the difficult decisions”.

A pathetic one cent reduction in the tax rate would have at the very least sent a message to the public that this Council will no long accept the status quo of paying more and receiving less.

Well all you $1.785 rate taxpayers, what do you think?