South Peace News
Stronger and additional regional partnerships are being promoted as a key component of the updated Municipal Government Act.
Local residents are invited to comment on the draft MGA at an open house with Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee on June 21 at the Elks town hall from 1:30-4 p.m. as part of the provincial tour.
Each session will include a presentation on the MGA review, a question and answer period, and an open house to discuss the changes.
“Our government is delivering on its promise to modernize the MGA to make it a responsive piece of legislation that gives municipalities and businesses the tools and resources they need to build strong communities and a more resilient and diversified economy for Alberta families,” says Larivee, who also serves as Lesser Slave Lake MLA.
She will meet with municipal officials in the morning.
Instead of duplicating costly services, the revised MGA requires municipalities to work together, through municipal partnerships, to deliver more effective, efficient services to their communities.
Inter-municipal collaboration frameworks will be created to ensure that neighbouring municipalities partner to produce better land-use planning, co-ordinate services of a regional benefit, and equitably fund those services.
The current linear tax assessment system will be maintained, but locally-negotiated inter- municipal collaboration frameworks will strengthen working relationships between municipalities to better share costs of services.
Municipal organizations laud the new MGA.
“The amendments realize one of our three key goals, which is to modernize legislation to reflect the importance of regionalization,” says Lisa Holmes, president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.
“The mandatory long-term inter-municipal funding agreements should enable municipalities to work together to ensure that they all contribute to the costs of infrastructure and services that their respective citizens and businesses use.”
Rural municipalities also support the plan.
“We are particularly encouraged that the new MGA will not redistribute linear assessment tax dollars while focusing on cost-sharing as the primary collaborative funding tool,” says Al Kemmere, president of the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties.
Changes to the MGA will help municipal leaders provide well-managed, transparent and accountable local governments.
The MGA also expands the mandate of the Alberta ombudsman to include the investigation of complaints about municipal actions or decisions.
All changes to the MGA, including regulations, will be proclaimed before municipal elections in fall 2017.
Comments may also be filed online on the government website at gov.ab.ca.