Earlier this month, the chamber’s Municipal Government Affairs Committee submitted its annual policy brief to Fredericton City Council. When authoring our briefs to government, we use feedback from our membership through our surveys, consultations with stakeholders and partners (including City staff), and the expertise and insight of our committee and board of directors. Gathering information and input from a variety of sources allows the committee to fulsomely consider the issues that matter to chamber members.
Overall it is fair to say that our membership is generally pleased with Fredericton’s City Council and staff members. It is particularly telling to hear from members that do business in multiple jurisdictions Fredericton’s municipal government often compares favourably. City council has done well as stewards of municipal finances and are becoming increasingly transparent. City staff are known to be helpful and enthusiastic.
The brief first reviewed our recommendations from the previous year and offered our perspective on progress made since that time. Many of the issues raised in 2014 have been fully or partially addressed, although there is always more to be done.
In particular, we looked back at recommendations dealing with the following:
- Ignite Fredericton
- Immigration & Skilled Labour
- Property Tax
We made new recommendations on the following topics:
- Greater transparency in the decisionmaking process
- Public transit
- Road construction
- City Centre Plan/Main Street Urban Design Plan
- Downtown Hotel/ Destination Marketing Levy
- Development Growth visavis the City’s Tax Base
One new recommendation made in the 2015 was for the city to do a better job with communicating details of construction projects particularly road closures. In the early parts of this construction season, I’ve definitely noticed more public communication of this information by both City staff and councillors. We would also like to see more direct consultation with affected business owners and will be curious to follow up with members in the fall.