The reason is that the City of Saint John is on life support.
In greater Moncton, all three municipalities are growing and have relatively healthy assessments. In greater Saint John,whatever growth that is occurring (and it's pretty tepid growth) is in the KV and thus outside city limits. The tax base in Saint John is thus unable to keep up with the demands of the operational costs of supporting civic infrastructure. These demands are pretty high, especially given all the heavy industry in the city.
The solution to me would be not
to throw more provincial money at Saint John (unfair to all those people who live more than an hour from the city). The solution instead would be to force civic amalgamation of Rothesay, Quispamsis, Grand Bay, Westfield and perhaps even Hampton into a larger regional municipality so that every resident of the greater Saint John area contributes equally to the regional tax burden.
I imagine a well funded police force and well equipped fire department for Saint John would be more meaningful for a resident of Rothesay than it would be for somebody from Moncton or Fredericton.......
Please note that there is
a place for provincial involvement in helping to fund new capital projects, but municipal governments should do responsible (if at all possible) for ongoing operational costs.
An example would be a new water treatment and filtration plant. The more senior levels of government should help with the capital costs of establishing the new plant (especially if the upgrade is necessary to comply with new regulations). Once the new plant is up and running however, the ongoing costs of running the plant should be a civic responsibility.