ROTHESAY – If the province were a big high school, Rothesay would be an above average student while Quispamsis doesn’t show up for all its classes.

Rothesay received a grade of B- on the the report card issued by the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, while Quispamsis did not receive a letter grade because of incomplete data.

The Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS) – an independent think-tank in Nova Scotia – provided letter grades for each community in the province on how effectively and efficiently they delivered services over three years, from 2005 to 2007.

Rothesay received a grade of B-, good enough for 16th out of the 94 communities that received a grade. Quispamsis did not receive a letter grade because the group compiling the study was unable to get a complete data set for the town.

The top two rated municipalities in the Saint John area were St. Martins, fourth overall with a B, and Grand Manan, also scoring a B and ranked fifth.

Grades are determined through ‘absolute’ and ‘in context’ rankings. Absolute rankings are determined by how much municipalities paid and what they received for various services while ‘in context’ took into consideration factors such as population, geographic size, debt levels and revenues. The numbers are blended to come up with the overall score. The categories evaluated in the report include governance and finance, taxation, safety and protection, transportation, environmental health, economic development, recreation and culture.

In terms of overall efficiency, Rothesay was toward the lower end of the municipalities with a combined ranking of 63 out of 102 communities for a B-. In effectiveness, Rothesay received a C and a rank of 18th out of 94 municipalities.

“Rothesay did fairly well with a B- as the average for the province was a C ,” said Charles Cirtwell, one of the authors of the report and executive vice-president of AIMS.

While Rothesay ranked in the top 20 per cent of communities in the study, Councillor Scott Cochrane cautioned not to read too much into the results.

While he’s happy the town is above average in both efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery, Cochrane isn’t putting too much emphasis on the results.

“I don’t get very many complaints and I tend to view that as a positive, but I’m fully aware the silent majority is, by definition, silent,” Cochrane said.

As for finishing below other, smaller municipalities, Cochrane is skeptical. “I’m always skeptical when you look at this kind of thing because smaller communities don’t have to provide services on a large scale,” he said. “I think it’s difficult to rank one town with 11,500 people with one that’s got 900 or with another of 65,000.

“The city (Saint John) got a bad mark, but keep in mind the size of the community.”

As for why Quispamsis didn’t receive a grade, Cirtwill said certain data could not be found in the provincial database concerning the town. In the list of categories, the data for the effectiveness portion of the safety and protection segment was not available.

“That would be things like change in the crime rate and value of property lost due to fire,” Cirtwill said.

While Rothesay and Quispamsis share police and fire departments, Cirtwill said the Quispamsis data could not be obtained.

“It was one of those things where we didn’t have the data broken out for the two municipalities.”