Lincoln residents voting in village plebiscite

Residents in the local service district of Lincoln are voting on whether to become a village in a plebiscite on Monday.

Local service district's homeowners would see property taxes reduced, report says

Lincoln residents are heading to the polls in a plebiscite on Monday to decide whether the local service district area will become a village. (CBC)

Residents in the local service district of Lincoln are voting in a plebiscite on Monday on whether to become a village.

The unincorporated area is just outside of Fredericton and is the latest local service district to give voters the choice of picking a new form of local governance.

Residents have until 8 p.m. to cast their ballots in the plebiscite.

If approved, the local service district will become a village and have a mayor and four councillors. Local service districts do not have an elected government and decisions must be approved by the minister of local government.

The New Brunswick government has made it clear that it wants to reduce the number of small local service districts and it has established financial measures intended to encourage communities to proactively merge.

The Lincoln plebiscite has run into some opposition as local businesses and citizens have raised concerns about the future of local taxations in the area.

A feasibility report on the provincial government’s website indicated taxes on residential properties would fall if the vote is approved.

For instance, an owner-occupied house, assessed at $200,000, 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.