Lincoln residents reject village plebiscite
Village opponents won 893 votes compared to 262 for the yes side
Lincoln voters soundly rejected the idea of turning the local service district into a village in a plebiscite on Monday night.
More than half of the voters in the local service district, which is located between Fredericton and Oromocto, turned out to cast a ballot in the plebiscite. The no side won 893 votes while only 262 people voted in favour of becoming a village.
The local service district, which has a property tax base of $205 million, will remain an unincorporated area and continue to have the minister of local government responsible for approving local decisions.
The plebiscite would have given Lincoln voters a council with a mayor and four councillors as well as more local decision-making power.
Lisa Morrison is one of the Lincoln residents who voted against the village proposal.
"We don't need anything. We got everything we need now, so why would we hire someone to do the job that we already have services for," she said.
The New Brunswick government has been encouraging unincorporated areas to merge with other nearby communities or become villages or formal rural communities.
In order to meet that objective, the provincial government has established financial measures intended to encourage communities to proactively merge.
Lincoln residents would have received a reduction in property taxes had the plebiscite been approved, according to a feasibility report.
An owner-occupied house, assessed at $200,000 for example, would see its property tax bill decrease by $551 in 2014 and $274 by 2018.
However, a business assessed at $1 million would see its tax rate increase by $3,660 in 2014 and $4,083 by 2018, according to the report.
The report said Lincoln would see an immediate savings of $450,000 on the cost of roads and $200,000 annually in the future.