Association has lots on plate for 2018
Tuesday, Dec 26, 2017 06:00 am
The Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) has a number of key projects on its agenda for 2018, says president Al Kemmere.
Also a Mountain View County (MVC) councillor, Kemmere says one big job for the association in the new year will be working on the creation of new mandated agreements between rural municipalities and their urban neighbours.
“We’ve spent the last few years reviewing the Municipal Government Act (MGA) and the province has come out with the changes to the act,” said Kemmere. “From our members’ point of view, these new intermunicipal collaborative frameworks that we have to create (under the MGA) are going to be a big load as far as the number of agreements they have to make.”
By way of example, MVC will have to make 10 agreements and Red Deer County 18.
“Those will be challenges for our members and along with them come the intermunicipal development plans that are part of the whole process.
“From the AAMDC point of view, we are going to try to build as many guidelines and toolboxes as possible to help our members work their way through those processes.
“Where possible we are even going to create templates to try and help people out with some of the new regulations that come forward, stuff like code of conduct and public engagement policies.”
The AAMDC represents 69 rural municipalities including Mountain View and Red Deer counties.
In light of recent changes to rural provincial electoral boundaries, the association will also be working to ensure rural voices continue to be heard by the government, he said.
“We lost three rural ridings in that whole process,” he said. “So we are going to keep pushing the importance of rural Alberta and keep encouraging the province to put a local rural lens on decision making.”
The association will also be dealing with the results of the recent municipal elections, he said.
“We’ve had 41 per cent turnover in our membership as far as new councillors go, so we are going to have to monitor if there are any priority changes from our members as a result of that,” he said. “That will be one of the challenges, to make sure that priorities come forward to us.”
The association will also be dealing with “the whole impact of the cannabis legislation and how we are going to implement. That will be a focus item for us.”
Another key issue facing rural municipalities in 2018 will revolve around grant funding from both the provincial and federal governments, he said.
“The municipal sustainability funding, the MSI grants and the likes of that, those agreements are all due to expire shortly and so we are asking to be at the table for any discussions when it comes to how the grants are going to be allocated in the future,” he said.
“And with the federal grants that come forward for municipality projects, we want to make sure we are at the table for those items too, to make sure the rural perspective is not lost on those. We want our piece of the pie, so to speak.”
The AAMDC advocates on behalf of its members to the provincial and federal governments.