AIMS’ municipal report card

AIMS is out with a an Interim Municipal Report Card for New Brunswick. I haven’t had time to digest it but it does compare economic development spending among the municipalities although I was taken aback by their definition of economic development:

Economic Development: The operating costs for economic development capture funds spent on items such as planning, zoning, tourism, and heritage. These figures come from the Annual Report of Municipal Statistics.

Planning and zoning are not exactly economic development. Some might argue they are the opposite. Heritage? Sure, it’s ED in an abstract sense. I think ED spending is more about community promotion for investment, sector development work, investments in business and industrial parks, downtown development, capacity building, other infrastructure development that is designed to attract and grow industry.

If you can do a good job at planning and zoning – at a lower cost – then that’s a good thing. What I am saying here is that if it is only about planning and zoning I think the lower the ranking the better (Moncton at 73rd is quite low). If the costs include all the development work I mention above (including the City of Moncton’s $500k to Enterprise Greater Moncton), then I think the city should spend more.