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Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Today…and into the Future Amalgamations and Dissolutions Governance Review.

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Presentation on theme: "Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Today…and into the Future Amalgamations and Dissolutions Governance Review."— Presentation transcript:

1 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Today…and into the Future Amalgamations and Dissolutions Governance Review

2 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Agenda 1.Review of Legislation 2.History of Amalgamations in Alberta 3.History of Dissolutions 4.Recent Studies 5.Planning Implications of Amalgamations and Dissolutions

3 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Municipal Government Act Amalgamations – Section 100 to 112 of MGA –May be initiated by Minister or Municipality –Minister may initiate if the he/she believes that the operation would be more effective or efficient –Must give notice to the municipal authorities –May invite comments from the municipal authorities –May invite comments from the public –May hold public meetings

4 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Municipal Government Act Municipality may initiate by giving written notice to other municipal authorities (usually parties agree to consider amalgamation process together) Report on Negotiations to be prepared including summary of public consultation No legal requirement for vote in MGA, but all municipal initiated amalgamations have included vote

5 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Municipal Government Act Dissolutions – Sections 129 to 134 of MGA The Minister must undertake a dissolution study before a municipality is dissolved The Minister must undertake a study if –A request is received from the Council of the municipality –A sufficient petition is received with 30% support of the population

6 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Municipal Government Act The Minister may undertake a dissolution study if the Minister believes: –The municipality cannot balance its revenues with its required expenses –The municipality is no longer viable –The municipality does not meet the requirements in Sections 78 to 82 –Vacancies on a council cannot be filled, or –The dissolution will lead to more effective or efficient municipal operations

7 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Municipal Government Act The Minister, before completing a dissolution study: –Must contact all local authorities that the Minister considers would be affected by the dissolution and invite them to comment, –May conduct a public meeting After completing a dissolution study, the Minister may hold a vote on the proposed dissolution

8 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Over the past 15 years several villages have dissolved in Alberta to become hamlets. The most recent include: – Kinuso (2009) – Thorhild (2009) – Sangudo (2007) – Mirror (2006) History of Dissolutions

9 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Dissolution Process Issues History has shown that the majority of dissolution studies and votes result in the majority of residents opposing dissolution Currently the Minister has negative votes before him from dissolution studies for Donalda, Gadsby, Innisfree and Vilna Votes will be held in the next two months for New Sarepta and Derwent

10 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Crowsnest Pass Town of Drumheller City of Cold Lake Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray) Lac La Biche – Lakeland County County of Thorhild History of Regional Municipalities

11 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Specialized Municipality of Crowsnest Pass Created by Special Act in Jan Formed as Town called the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass from Towns of Coleman and Blairmore, Villages of Bellevue and Frank, and I.D No. 5

12 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Town of Drumheller Amalgamated the City of Drumheller and the M.D. of Badlands to form the Town of Drumheller on October 31, 1997

13 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 City of Cold Lake Amalgamated the Town of Cold Lake, the Town of Grand Center and by annexation of land from the M.D. of Bonnyville on September 30, 1996

14 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Amalgamated Improvement District No. 143 and the City of Fort McMurray to form a specialized municipality having the name "Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

15 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Lac La Biche County Forms a municipal district having the name "Lac La Biche County" by the amalgamation of the Town of Lac La Biche and Lakeland County.

16 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Other Regional Municipalities County of Thorhild Strathcona County Mackenzie County Municipal District of Opportunity

17 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Issues Facing Many Towns/Villages in Alberta 1.Ability to attract and retain staff; 2.Rising cost of providing services; 3.Dependent on residential tax based to fund municipal operations; 4.Limited commercial and industrial tax base; 5.Limited financial resources to address rising costs;

18 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Issues Facing Many Towns/Villages in Alberta 6.Relatively high property tax rates; 7.Aging Infrastructure; 8.Many property owners are on fixed incomes; 9.Most of the municipal equipment is old and in need to replacement; 10.Loss of elevators, railway, etc..

19 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Advantages of Amalgamation (Regional Government) One Stronger Municipality Service Delivery Better long term planning Capital infrastructure Staffing requirements Utility Services Financial savings (1 Council, 1 Administration, Commissions, Authorities) Equitable Distribution of Property Tax Base

20 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Why Do Some Votes Succeed? Why Do Some Votes Fail?

21 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Lakeland County Town of Lac La Biche

22 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Black Diamond Turner Valley

23 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Town of Two Hills County of Two Hills Villages of Derwent, Myrnam, Willingdon

24 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Why Should a County Worry about its Towns and Villages? County residents are dependent on their urban neighbours for services, schools, hospitals, etc. A strong region needs vibrant towns and villages to attract new businesses Eventually most County residents will move into one of the urban centres when they retire Everyone benefits over the long term

25 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 County Issues Re: Amalgamation Staffing, severances, etc. Council representation/size Office consolidation Land title changes/transfer Policy coordination Infrastructure

26 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 The Small Municipalities Sustainability..... What Sustainability? Staff and Councils of small municipalities dutifully completed their Municipal Sustainability Plans..... with many projecting to their public that sustainability is at hand... Was that the most prudent thing to do?

27 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 The Small Municipalities Land Use Planning left many of them behind in Dissolution of the Regional Planning Commissions resulted in many municipalities being without reasonably priced professional advice..... In the years following... Little long range planning projects were undertaken...

28 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Planning Issues Following Dissolution/Amalgamation The good.... –The dissolved municipality has a land use bylaw that is somewhat current (10 years old or newer) –Few land use variances exist –Infrastructure is adequate... and inventoried

29 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Planning Issues Following Dissolution/Amalgamation The good.... –Dissolved municipality to be incorporated within the Land Use Bylaw as soon as possible following dissolution –Community SWOT Analysis to be undertaken through engaging the community –Area Redevelopment Plan to be prepared 12 months following dissolution –Infrastructure Plan to be prepared 12 months following dissolution

30 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Planning Issues Following Dissolution/Amalgamation The bad.... –The dissolved municipality has a land use bylaw that not current (20 years old or newer) –Some land use variances exist –Infrastructure is lacking... However inventoried and been repaired where needed

31 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Planning Issues Following Dissolution/Amalgamation The bad.... –Community SWOT Analysis to be undertaken through engaging the community –Area Redevelopment Plan to be prepared 12 months following dissolution –Infrastructure Plan to be prepared 12 months following dissolution –Dissolved municipality to be incorporated within the Land Use Bylaw upon completion of Plans

32 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Planning Issues Following Dissolution/Amalgamation The ugly.... –Municipality has a land use bylaw that is really old (1980s cookie cutter regional planning commission documents) –Encroachments, sub-standard serviced lots and non-conforming uses abound... –Infrastructure consists of a patchwork of pipes and roads that are mismatched and sized inappropriately for the community

33 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Planning Issues Following Dissolution/Amalgamation The ugly.... –Infrastructure Assessment and Plan to be prepared immediately following dissolution –Community SWOT Analysis to be undertaken through engaging the community –Area Redevelopment Plan to be prepared 24 months following dissolution –Dissolved municipality to be incorporated within the Land Use Bylaw upon completion of Plans

34 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Case Study Lac La Biche County Amalgamation of the Town of Lac La Biche and Lakeland County effective August 2, 2007 Total population 9, Equalized Assessment $3,249,088,373 or $360,000 per person In comparison... The Village of Derwent, currently preparing for a vote on dissolution, has an equalized assessment per capita of $22,600 per person.... Clearly there are haves and have nots in the Province.

35 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Case Study Lac La Biche County High Priority for the Public was building recreation and culture facilities $2,000,000 community hall in Hamlet of Plamondon (population 375) $55,000,000 multiplex in Hamlet of Lac La Biche (population 3,000) Low Priority for the Public was updating land use documents To date no Municipal Development Plan created Staff still work with two different land use bylaws... Former Town and Former Lakeland County

36 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Case Study Lac La Biche County What has been learned - Land Use Planning is as important as building roads and recreation and cultural facilities following amalgamation - Community Engagement is vital and should not be ignored... -Staffing is critical.... You need planning staff with an urban set of skill sets to handle issues relating to urban development

37 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Case Study Lac La Biche County What has been learned - A new Municipal Development Plan, or alternatively, a new Hamlet Plan, should have prepared within one year following amalgamation or dissolution -Land Use Bylaw maintenance issues should have been addressed quicker -Staff need resources to do their jobs... Servicing Studies undertaken and standards prepared

38 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Case Study Hamlet of Mirror Dissolution of the Hamlet of Mirror into Lacombe County effective January 1, 2004 Lacombe County engaged its citizens through the preparation of an Area Structure Plan in 2006 and incorporated any necessary amendments into their Land Use Bylaw in 2007

39 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Case Study Hamlet of Mirror High Priority for the Public was maintaining soft services related to urban life -Library -Community Hall -Community Open Spaces -FCSS Services Low Priority for the Public was the tax savings. Town residents, in general, desired that some services be maintained and were willing to pay for them...

40 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Case Study Hamlet of Mirror What has been learned -Lacombe County proved that community engagement is successful... -When tax rates in Mirror were lowered to the Countys tax rates, the amount of money collected barely paid to keep the streetlights on Some sort of equitable levy applied to Mirror properties may have enabled the County to direct funds towards community revitalization projects

41 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 Municipalities in Alberta Cities 64 Specialized Municipalities 5 Town109 Villages 97 Summer Villages 51 Improvement Districts 7 Total339

42 Austrom Consulting & ZAP Municipal Consulting CPA 2010 In the long run, are the smaller towns and villages in Alberta sustainable? Is Regional Government Inevitable ?


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