EDMONTON, AB: New City Charters for Edmonton and Calgary announced this week represent good first steps in evolving the province’s relationship with Alberta’s largest cities, but United Conservative Party caucus Municipal Affairs Critics Pat Stier and Ric McIver say more work needs to be done to ensure all stakeholders have their voices heard.
One key aspect of the new City Charters is no new taxation powers for municipalities, in part because of a successful lobbying effort by the legacy Wildrose and Progressive Conservative caucuses.
“Today’s announcement represents a good start for the eventual establishment of City Charters for Calgary and Edmonton,” said McIver. “We would have liked to see more effort made by this NDP government to reduce red tape for small- and medium-sized businesses and are hopeful that the 60-day consultation period will give these key participants in our economy an opportunity to be heard.”
Today’s announcement covers many areas and has the potential to impact all Albertans. McIver and Stier are calling on the Minister of Municipal Affairs to ensure this process remains responsive, and that the outcomes mean more transparency and accountability for the taxpayer.
“While I am encouraged to see that the proposed new capital grant funding model for our two largest cities will be tied to provincial revenue, many serious questions remain about how it will function in practice,” said Stier. “We have been strong advocates for the adoption of this model and I encourage the NDP to extend similar provisions to all Alberta municipalities to ensure equal access to stable and predictable infrastructure funding across the province.”