New deal for Clearwater, Rocky and Caroline
Clearwater County, Rocky Mountain House and Caroline have a long history of working together.
Now they have further strengthened that commitment through a new intermunicipal agreement.
Ron Leaf, chief administrative officer for Clearwater County, said the deal signed on Friday was a natural extension of their existing co-operation.
“The town, the county and the village have got one of the stronger relationships, urban/rural, in the province,” said Leaf.
“What this is really doing is formalizing how the councils will work together.
“One of the phrases that came out in the Stronger Together agreement is we are one community governed by three councils.”
The agreement also includes a dispute resolution process, should councils not see eye to eye on some issue.
All three municipalities already have cost-sharing agreements in place on multiple fronts such as recreation, culture, library and social programs.
A revenue-sharing agreement expired last year but payments are continuing in anticipation of a new deal being negotiated.
Municipalities expect to face additional financial pressure in coming years as more costs are passed down from the province. For instance, the Alberta government has mused about changing the way policing is funded and whether a regional policing model should be pursued.
Rocky Mayor Fred Nash said all three councils have long legislated with the goal of what’s best for the area, not just within their own borders.
“We all have the best of intentions. It’s not us and them. It’s us.”
For instance, the town supplies a street sweeper to Caroline to spare that community the cost of an expensive piece of machinery that is only needed for a short time.
Likewise, when the town needed help improving its football fields, the county stepped up with funding.
Nash said the province also sees the strength in regional co-operation and has been encouraging communities to work with their neighbours.
“We all see the benefits of it.”