Modernized Muni Act ready to approve

Richard Froese
Suggestions from thousands of Albertans on the Modernized Municipal Government Act (MGA) will be used to amend the legislation before it is reintroduced this fall.

“Because the MGA touches every single Albertan in some way, it was valuable to have so many people attend our engagement sessions and to hear their feedback both in person and online,” says Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee, who also serves as the Lesser Slave Lake MLA.

In June and July, the Government of Alberta engaged with Albertans to hear their thoughts on proposed changes to the Act.

Larivee and ministry officials were in High Prairie on June 21 to listen to municipal leaders during an open house.

More and stronger regional partnerships with inter-municipal collaboration frameworks (ICFs) are being promoted as a key component of the modernized MGA.

An amended MGA, incorporating the feedback, will be debated in the legislature this fall and all changes, including regulations, will come into force before municipal elections in the fall of 2017.

The MGA regulates how municipalities are empowered to govern, work together and plan for growth, and funded.

Proposed changes were made in response to public comments, with the following highlights.

-Municipal Government Act:
A preamble will be incorporated into the MGA to describe the role of municipalities in relation to the Province of Alberta, their varying interests and capacity levels, and the importance of working together to advance the interests of all Albertans.

-Elected Official Training:
Municipalities will be required to offer orientation training within 90 days to elected officials following each municipal election and by-elections on specific matters such as: role of municipalities in Alberta; council and councillor roles and responsibilities.

-Municipal Ombudsman and Municipal Inspections:
The mandate of the Alberta Ombudsman will be expanded to include municipalities.

-Linking Residential and Non-Residential Property Tax Rates
The MGA will be amended so that the highest non-residential tax rate can be no more than five times the lowest residential tax rate.

-Splitting Non-Residential Property Tax Rates:
The MGA will be amended to enable splitting of the municipal non-residential class into subclasses.
The regulations to accompany this change will be created with input from municipalities, assessors, and non-residential property owners to determine how splitting should be implemented to best enable a fair distribution of municipal non-residential property taxes.

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