by Morinville News Staff

The province says it is amending the Modernized Municipal Government Act and continuing the conversation with an in-depth discussion guide, after consulting with thousands of Albertans.

Minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee was thankful thousands of Albertans took the time to provide feedback to improve the legislation.

“Amendments that were tabled today would make the Modernized Municipal Government Act stronger and more effective, thanks to what we heard,” Larivee said. “For the feedback that addressed new, but important, areas for change I am pleased to share the discussion guide on what changes we hope to make in the spring based on that feedback.”

The Modernized Municipal Government Act was introduced this past spring and government representatives travelled to 20 communities over the summer to hear from municipal politicians, CAOs as well as community organizations, businesses, industry and the general public.

The government says the Modernized Municipal Government Act would expand the types of projects that could be funded through offsite levies, monies currently used by municipalities to assist in paying for roads, water, storm and sewage systems.

Under the amendments, fire halls, police stations and recreation facilities, and community libraries are added to the mix of items off-site levies can fund if the new development receives 30 per cent or more of the benefit of the new facility.

The 30 per cent threshold received criticism from smaller municipalities, and the government is planning to remove the 30 per cent minimum threshold.

“Expanding the scope of offsite levies ensures that the cost of building the infrastructure necessary to support Alberta’s growing communities is distributed fairly,” said Lisa Holmes, President, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and Morinville’s mayor in the release. “We appreciate that the province listened to municipalities’ concerns and removed the proposed 30 per cent restriction as it would have prevented this tool from being used in many communities experiencing growth across Alberta. Municipal governments will now have the flexibility they need to work with local developers to assess levies that are appropriate for their communities.”

Some new ideas the government heard during the summer consultations including considering parental leave policies for municipal councillors, and the inclusion of environmental stewardship as a municipal purpose.

Other topics for discussion include municipal collaboration with school boards, and finding ways to help Indigenous communities and neighbouring municipalities work together on land-use planning and service delivery.

The government has set up an online questionnaire for Albertans. The questionnaire and written submissions will be accepted until Jan. 31, 2017. The province will then review the feedback and bring forward any amendments during the spring session.

The government plans to have all changes to the Act and related regulations take effect before the fall 2017 municipal elections.

The survey is online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NTX5858.

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