Through this Study process, we have worked towards developing a common vision for the future that is based on cooperation, improving access to government by citizens and identifying a financially healthy path forward for all three municipalities. While we are always looking at ways our municipalities can deliver programs, services and infrastructure effectively, this Governance Study is not intended to be a downsizing exercise. Instead, we have explored options to increase our efficiency and support the region’s prosperity and viability, and citizen input is essential to the Study process.
and the Town of Rocky Mountain House
The Village of Caroline, Clearwater County, and the Town of Rocky Mountain House have secured an independent consultant to undertake a Regional Governance Study. The purpose of this Study was to review and explore ways to most efficiently and effectively coordinate services and governance together to best support the region’s growth and long-term prosperity for citizens.
Several options (e.g. Specialized Municipality) were explored for a new governance structure for Caroline, Clearwater County and Rocky Mountain House, including staying with the current government structures for all municipalities involved. The three general options explored in this Study included:
- Remain as three separate municipalities with regional cooperation (current structure);
- Amalgamate all three municipalities into a single municipal government; or
- Amalgamate Clearwater County and the Village of Caroline and develop regional cooperation agreements with the Town of Rocky Mountain House.
As part of this Study, a Steering Committee was formed with the Mayors, the Reeve and Councillors, and an alternate from each municipality, with each municipality’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) providing support. The Steering Committee provided direction to the independent consultant who conducted a review of background information and current agreements between the municipalities as well as organized community engagement. The consultant has prepared a Recommendations Report, which has been shared with the Steering Committee, and with each individual council.
At this point, no decisions about changes to each municipality’s governance structure have been made. This Study has reviewed the potential benefits and downsides of different restructuring options and the impacts the different governance structure options could have on the long-term growth and prosperity of all citizens in the Region. The key recommendation of the Regional Governance Study is for the County and Village to pursue amalgamation and, with this newly-formed municipality, continue in their regional collaboration with the Town.
The Councils of the Village, County, and Town will determine if they wish to act on the recommendation of the consultants. Should the Village and County decide to pursue amalgamation, next steps will involve undertaking the provincially legislated amalgamation process which would include detailed reviews and negotiations around services, taxation, operations, bylaw alignment, and timelines.