Latest FOMG paper sparks dialogue

Alberta Municipalities hosted a webinar featuring the authors of the latest Future of Municipal Government (FOMG) paper on behalf of the School of Public Policy, “Local Governance in Alberta: Principles, Options and Recommendations,” on February 23.

Participants had a wide variety of questions and comments on the ideas presented in the paper from the significance of personalities in collaboration to potential alternatives to annexation. A recording of the webinar is available on ABmunis’ Vimeo channel.

One of the main points of feedback from municipalities during the webinar is that population alone is not a good indicator of viability. Economic, political and administrative viability is on the minds of municipalities large and small throughout Alberta who are juggling economic shifts, infrastructure deficits and challenging political dynamics.

The purpose of the FOMG project is to have researchers with academic freedom share information and ideas to stimulate dialogue amongst municipalities. It is up to municipalities to determine which ideas are worth pursuing, so this kind of feedback on municipal viability is important to the development of beneficial recommendations at the conclusion of this project.

The upcoming President’s Summit, on March 29 and 30, presents an ideal opportunity to delve into ideas presented in the paper, such as strengthening intermunicipal dispute mechanisms and providing financial support to small communities to assist in intermunicipal negotiations.

Summit sessions will also provide an opportunity to continue conversations started during the webinar. For example, the second day of President’s Summit includes a session, “Small but Mighty: Finding Strength in Collaboration,” featuring the towns of Cardston, Diamond Valley, Sexsmith and Wembley on how, despite challenges, they have used collaboration to strengthen their communities.