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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ward 4 Candiate Says City Is In Shambles

He works for the province and lives in Glen Falls but Mark Leblanc is willing to make tough choices if elected to common council.
Ward 4 candidate  Mark Leblanc tells CHSJ News the City of Saint John is in shambles.

He says the current state is not any one council's fault adding it goes back years and years.

Leblanc has four main priorities for Saint John which are Emergency Services, Roads, Leisure Services and clean drinking water.

Clark To Re-Offer In Quispam

Quispamsis councillor Gary Clark is hoping to be back in Landing Court as of May 14th.

He tells CHSJ News the constituents he talks to and council itself are pleased the town's council was able to reduce taxes.

He says the qplex is a great addition to the town, recreation is going well so for the most part things in the community are positive.

Clark says he offered his name for council in the first place because he wants to give back to the community where he has lived for more than 30 years.

Common Council Plans To Vote Again On Pension Payment

Common Council will be trying again to put through a 800-thousand dollar pension payment in order to avoid interest charges.

Councillors Bill Farren and Patty Higgins voted down making the payment at the last council meeting but Deputy Mayor Stephen Chase tells CHSJ News a special meeting of council might be called in order to redo the vote.

Chase says Councillor Chris Titus was left early during the last meeting and did not vote on the issue.

He says if Titus votes in favour of making the payment and all others vote the same as before, there will be enough votes to approve the payment and avoid the extra charges.

The meeting is being called for by the Finance Commissioner and Chase says a redo can be had if the matter is important enough

The meeting is tentatively set for Monday.

CME Says Controlling Provincial Spending Is The Right Call

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters are giving a thumbs up to the province's budget.

VP of the CME for New Brunswick David Plante tells CHSJ News it was important for the province to get it's fiscal house in order by cutting spending before focusing on the economy.

He says there is no silver bullet and there is still work to be done to deal with a 183-million dollar deficit.

Coalition For Pay Equity In Province Underwhelmed

The Alward Government has allocated 6.4 million dollars in the provincial budget for pay equity. How that money will be used hasn't been spelled out.

6.4 million might sound like a lot but Vallie Stearns, who chairs the New Brunswick Coalition for Pay Equity, is underwhelmed when you consider there are likley more than 20 thousand workers, perhaps as many as 25 thousand, who would be in line for wage adjustments.

In fact, Stearns says it would amount to a coffee a day for those workers affected if the money was just divided up among all the workers who are eligible for wage adjustments.
The Coalition is now waiting for the government to finish up and release its job evaluations for pay equity which, she complains, have been delayed.

A Mixed Bag With Gas Prices

You might be paying more for gas after the weekly setting depending what you fill up with.
Self serve regular has increased by over 2 cents and is now at $1.36.8 a litre in the city.

 Diesel, meantime, is being sold for $1.38.4 a litre in the city, a drop of over a cent. 

Heating oil is also a bit cheaper at $1.22.2 a litre and propane is now listed at $1.05.5.

Premier Says Province Has Plans To Raise Revenues

Premier David Alward says the province does have plans to raise revenues despite criticisms that the budget was mostly focused on government cuts.

Alward tells CHSJ News a few methods were identified during this speech -- such as raising the property transaction tax and bringing in a 100-million dollars through non-renewable resource royalties.

He says taxes will also be going up for the largest financial institutions which will bring in 5-million dollars but will keep us competitive with the rest of the country.

Alward says he will be making a innovation strategy announcement in the coming days that will generate 2 million dollars for the province.

NDP Leader Finds The Budget Vague

The Leader of the Provincial NDP says the Alward government's second budget lacks clarity.

Dominic Cardy says Finance Minister Blaine Higgs has not been clear on the impact of cutting 4500 government jobs to front-line services.

He tells CHSJ News they want to see the province get rid of corporate welfare which he calls a wildly expensive failure adding this government is one of few that think it works.

He adds the government thinks it can spend its way out of an an economic by throwing money in the hands of corporations who often disappear to other provinces or countries.

Cardy adds there is no focus on the environment in this budget adding Efficiency NB has won international awards yet it's budget gets cut.