RM of Lansdowne and the RM of Langford: no plans for amalgamation
- Published on Thursday, January 31, 2013
By: Kate Jackman-Atkinson
With the province’s deadline for preliminary amalgamation plans approaching, municipalities are taking different plans of action. In November, the province announced that all municipalities with less than 1,000 residents would have to have plans in place to amalgamate with a neighbour in order to reach that threshold for the 2014 municipal election.
In December, municipalities were told that they would have to inform the province of their preliminary amalgamation partners by Jan. 31.
Both the RM of Lansdowne and the RM of Langford have said that they don’t plan to provide the province with an amalgamation partner by the Jan. 31 deadline.
The RM of Lansdowne sent a letter to the Province on Jan. 21 saying, “An amalgamation decision has both financial and intrinsic impacts on the citizenry. Accordingly, it is the citizenry, not council, that should have opportunity to make an informed decision via a referendum which may be conducted in conjunction with the 2014 municipal election. Council may then contemplate an amalgamation decision and who an appropriate amalgamation partner would be as directed by the rate payers.” They are asking the province to re-open the municipal act to make an amendment for 2013 reducing the population requirement from 1,000 to 500 residents for existing municipalities.
In the letter, reeve Richard Funk outlines some of the concerns raised in their amalgamation discussions. Concerns include how current assessment values and mill rate adjustments will impact rate payers; rate payer representation and tax impact; that amalgamation would result in no foreseeable reduction in administration, public works or council related costs; increased costs incurred to manage, administer and co-ordinate land holdings ranging from 1,300 to 2,600 km; loss of support services to local volunteer, community and fundraising organizations and rural job loss.
They are waiting for the Province’s response.
RM of Langford reeve Kathy Jasienczyk said that they have “no plans”. She added that while they have talked to four neighbouring municipalities, they haven’t made a decision regarding an amalgamation partner.
Because no decisions have been made, Jasienczyk said they won’t have a preliminary partner for the Province by Jan. 31.