Counties cool to amalgamating with Urban Municipalities Association
The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) is courting the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMD&C) however, they might not be interested.
Last week the AUMA passed a resolution that its members support merger talks with the AAMD&C.
“We have a long history of cooperation and collaboration between the AUMA and AAMD&C. This vote from our members shows the commitment and belief they have in the value of collaboration,” says president-elect Barry Morishita. “It is also very clear that the AUMA and our individual members need to make an even greater effort to build a better relationship between other organizations and our members. The reality is that the requirements of the MGA for municipalities to work together will not go away and our organizations will play an important role in facilitating these conversations.”
However, the previous week the AAMD&C passed a resolution at their conference to the effect that it is not interested
Reeve of Starland County Steve Wannstrom, while he sees there are areas where they work together well, he feels that counties could lose their ability to represent rural concerns.
“We can all work together on things where we have the same interests, but otherwise, there are too many big differences that it would never work,” said Wannstrom.
“There is a lot of programs we could work together on, we have similar interests and we can get better pricing on things, but ultimately too many bigger issues that we are too different in. We wouldn’t have the vote, we would lose every time.”
Morishita says what the resolution by the AUMA means that it will be on their books for the next three years and should the AAMD&C ever wish to explore the idea, it would be open to talks.
He feels there is still a possibility.
“On the advocacy side, I think there are some practical applications to it. When the province has to deal with one entity when it comes to infrastructure programming and funding programs, they don’t have to play one against the other, they can come with one solution,” he said, adding he hopes they can get to the table.
“We think there is a lack of understanding of what we want to accomplish. We don’t want to swallow anybody or take away a rural voice, when in fact a lot of members are part of rural communities,” he said. “I think we have to work a little harder to get our message through.