CURRENT REGIONAL PROFILE
|Village of Rosemary||395||County of Newell||7,524|
|Village of Duchess||1,085||City of Brooks||14,451|
|Town of Bassano||1,206||TOTAL:||24,661|
The Region has:
- Five incorporated municipalities.
- Five Councils with a total of 32 elected officials. This represents one elected official per 771 population compared to one elected official per 2300 population province wide.
- Five municipal administrations with a total of 206 full time equivalent staff members providing similar services, such as:
- General Administration, Finance and Information Technology
- Planning and Development
- Bylaw Enforcement (some sharing of services)
- Road, street and storm water maintenance
- Water distribution
- Sewer collection and treatment
- Garbage collection
- Parks and Recreation
- Existing regional service delivery:
- Water treatment through Newell Regional Services Corporation
- Landfill through Newell Regional Solid Waste Management Authority
- Economic Development
- Family & Community Support Services (Bassano also has a separate service)
Regionalization can take on many forms over a scale of increasing formalization.
- Payment for services on an as needed basis.
- Intermunicipal agreements where one municipality provides services to the other on an ongoing basis.
- Intermunicipal agreements where two or more municipalities share the delivery and cost of providing services.
- Regional Service Commissions or Corporations established to provide certain services.
- Amalgamation to become one municipality.
BENEFITS OF REGIONALIZATION
- Increase efficiencies and take advantage of economies of scale (cost advantages achieved through expanded scale of operations).
- Reduce duplication (i.e., number of elected officials, number of municipal employees, excess equipment, etc.)
- Increase municipal staff expertise through specialization.
- Coordinate service delivery, land use planning and transportation.
- Build on our successful existing shared services (landfill, economic development and potable water).
- Share integrated computer and information systems.
- Work together to ensure all communities remain viable, sustainable and celebrate each community’s identity and uniqueness while attaining tax advantages.
- Proactively pursue a regional approach to ensure a sustainable future on terms to be decided by the regional partners.
- Create more competitive advantage to attract new business, grow the regional economy and create new jobs.
- Early estimates indicate the potential to free up $8 to $12 million annually after the transition period.
- Increase capacity and resources to:
- Manage municipal assets, infrastructure, facilities and equipment
- Govern, administer and operate the municipality
- Meet increasing service demands of citizens/ratepayers
- Ensure ongoing compliance with legislative requirements (water, wastewater, storm, fire protection, environment, OH&S and employment).
- Equitable sharing of revenues and costs across the region.
- Flexibility in amalgamation formation orders enables the potential to mitigate community or citizens concerns.
MUNICIPAL CHALLENGES FOR CONSIDERATION
- Management of redundant staff positions will require a fair and equitable staff transition plan.
- Safeguarding government accountability to local residents will require a thoughtful elected representation structure.
- Open and transparent communication with citizens from all locations will ensure:
- The uniqueness of our communities and their individual activities and celebrations are maintained
- Local access to government is retained
- Non of our communities are left behind or ignored
- Reduced competition between municipalities may weaken incentives for efficiency, response to local needs and changing economic conditions – careful attention to cost management and desired outcomes through the Amalgamation process will offset these potential disadvantages.
- Newly elected officials and senior administration in an amalgamated municipality, as in any election, may lead to an interruption in continuity and unknown direction.
- Loss of autonomy and decision making.
OVERVIEW OF AMALGAMATION PROCESS
- Municipal amalgamation is a legal process of local governmet restructuring, established by the Municipal Government Act.
- Amalgamation is when two or more municipalities join to become one newly formed incorporated municipality.
- This would be considered a voluntary initiative by the municipal partners.
- The five municipal partners are exploring regionalization concepts, including intermunicipal collaboration agreements and amalgamation. If it is decided to proceed with amalgamation, representatives from each involved municipality will begin negotiations and an application will ultimately be submitted to Municipal Affairs. This process can take several month to a few years to complete.
- The amalgamation application includes:
- Mandatory requirements: municipal boundaries, electoral wards, number of Council members and proposed incorporation date.
- Transitional issues: interim governance, administration and financial transition.
- Public consultation requirements: how the views of the public will be gathered and incorporated into the decision.