Revisions to Municipal Government Act expected to affect city, says mayor

Proposed changes to the law book for municipalities could mean real impacts for residents.

Proposed changes to the law book for municipalities could mean real impacts for residents.

Earlier this week the province released revisions to the Municipal Government Act. It hasn’t been updated since 1995.

Mayor Tara Veer said the existing legislation has tied the hands of municipalities in some areas. She said the proposed changes are progressive, which include the opportunity to split the mill rates on non-residential properties and changes to off-site levies, which would allow the city to charge developers for the cost of police stations, fire stations and other community amenities.

There are also property tax incentives related to contaminated sites, or brownfields allowing for cleanup and redevelopment to encourage development. Veer said this was one area that municipalities had little power.

Veer hopes the city’s Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) is protected because the city worked hard on the document with the City of Red Deer.

Veer expressed concerns over the charter process, which may give Edmonton and Calgary rights and opportunities that are not available to Red Deer. She said it could put Red Deer at a competitive disadvantage.

City manager Craig Curtis said the city will continue to comb through the document to determine what the changes would mean for Red Deer.

Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee will be at Festival Hall to discuss the proposed changes to the MGA in Red Deer on June 16.

Since 2014 when the province first started the review, Red Deer has participated in numerous consultation sessions, worked with the Alberta Municipalities Association (AUMA) and had many direct conversations with the Municipal Affairs Minister to ensure that the priorities and concerns for Red Deer were considered in drafting these revisions.

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