AUMA represents 272 urban municipalities in Alberta whose goal is developing and maintaining partnerships with the three levels of government. It advocates on the behalf of Alberta’s municipalities to other levels of government and the public. The AUMA website promotes a shared vision which includes long term planning to facilitate social and economic growth, a strategic and stable funding matrix for capital projects, vital emergency and social services as well as implementation and coordination in the delivery of these services to ensure the sustainability of the Alberta Advantage.
Mayor Holmes commented that one immediate priority of the board will be working with the province to address Bill 28, the Modernizing Regional Governance Act, which proposes that the governing Cabinet be given the authority to set up growth boards which would address the shared needs of grouped municipalities. The proposal also suggests that these growth boards be given binding authority, meaning no municipality would be allowed to pass laws or build anything without the board’s permission. Mayor Holmes revealed that there is a conference call scheduled for Nov. 27 with Minister of Municipal Affairs Doug Griffiths in order to update all the Mayors in Alberta on Bill 28.
The Municipal Government Act (MGA) review was also on Mayor Homes’ priority list. Municipal Affairs lists the Act as one of Alberta’s largest pieces of legislation, with 18 parts and more than 650 sections, providing the governance model for cities, towns, villages, municipal districts, specialized municipalities, and other forms of local government. Its three areas of focus are governance, planning and development, and assessment and taxation. The MGA lays the foundation for how municipalities operate, how municipal councils function, and how citizens can work with their municipalities.
The MGA review is already underway and is expected to conclude in 2015. Municipal Affairs states that the result of the review will be one well-considered piece of legislation that is practical to navigate and use.
Mayor Holmes explained that Morinville benefits from being involved with AUMA on a provincial level and that two previous Morinville mayors have served as Presidents of AUMA, Art Soetaert and Lloyd Bertschi. “There are a lot of issues that communities like ours face on a provincial level and having a voice at the table to advocate for them will be important,” the mayor said. “It is also essential that Alberta’s Municipalities have the chance to speak with one voice to deliver important messages to other levels of government on areas such as funding, infrastructure and asset management needs.”