The City of Red Deer received strong support from other municipalities for four resolutions presented at the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) Annual Conference this morning in Edmonton.
The first City of Red Deer resolution directs AUMA to advocate for the continuance of the auxiliary constable program. Auxiliary members are trained to mitigate risks and work alongside the RCMP; however earlier this year changes to the auxiliary program halted all ride-alongs and firearms training for auxiliary constables. More changes are proposed to remove their Peace Officer status and have them focus on non-enforcement duties such as attending community events and assisting in training.
“Before making any changes to the auxiliary program, it is critical that the local safety needs of communities, including crime reduction, community safely and emergency response, is considered by the government,” said Mayor Tara Veer. “This can only be done through utilization of all levels of the policing spectrum including the valuable services the auxiliary members currently provide.”
Also related to policing, the second resolution directs AUMA to advocate for the resolution of the continued inequity of the police funding model between municipalities in Alberta. Any municipality over 5,000 residents is responsible to pay 90 per cent of policing costs with 10 per cent subsidization from the Government of Alberta, whereas municipalities with a population under 5,000 do not pay for policing. The City of Red Deer believes all municipalities should be equally responsible for the costs of policing in their municipality. In the absence of this equity, financial inequity exists between urban and rural even when required service levels are the same.
“At The City of Red Deer, policing is one of the highest costs in our overall operating budget. This significant cost is passed onto taxpayers,” said Mayor Veer. “The current provincial funding model creates an imbalance between larger and smaller municipalities, whereas a fair and equitable strategy allows for more parallel service delivery in neighbouring urban areas.”
The City of Red Deer received strong support from the AUMA membership for its resolution on municipal participation in the bilateral funding agreements related to municipal infrastructure. The City’s third resolution directs AUMA to work more closely with the federal and provincial governments in the development of federal infrastructure funding agreements which will determine the criteria, method and timing of the distribution of these funds for much needed municipal infrastructure.
“Infrastructure in communities creates economic prosperity, healthy communities and long term national prosperity,” said Mayor Veer. “Since municipalities are responsible for 60 per cent of this infrastructure, it is critical that our voice is heard as these agreements are being negotiated. A tri-lateral agreement between municipal, provincial and federal governments is the only way to ensure municipal priorities are part of the conversation.”
The fourth resolution supported by fellow municipalities directs AUMA to ask the Government of Alberta to establish provincial standards for vehicle noise. This standard would define an objectionable noise, establish a consistent method of determining or measuring noise, and allow for stronger enforcement of the use or operation of a vehicle that emits a noise above an established and regulated level.
“Municipalities have difficulties addressing vehicle noise because we lack the enforcement tools to match the legislation,” said Mayor Veer. “Our public continuously identifies inconsiderate vehicle noise as a priority issue and provincial standards are necessary for proper enforcement.”
Every year, The City of Red Deer determines if any local advocacy issues may be common with other municipalities and prepares resolutions for consideration at the annual AUMA conference. At the conference, Council members vote in favour or against resolutions presented by any municipality. When resolutions are approved, AUMA has the mandate to follow through on the resolution requirements.
“Overall we experienced a productive week with meetings with key ministers, approval of four City of Red Deer resolutions, Councillor Buck Buchanan being elected to the board, and the ability to further clarify The City of Red Deer’s position on the Municipal Government Act (MGA) amendments,” said Mayor Veer. “We continue to advocate for Red Deer on a provincial and national level to ensure local issues are being heard.”
Besides discussions with the Honourable Brian Mason, meetings were held with the Minister of Seniors and Housing, as well as the Deputy Commissioner for the RCMP K Division. Some of the items discussed included integrated housing, auxiliary police, equalization of policing costs, new Red Deer courthouse and planning for the future of the Michener lands.
Each of the meetings held this week will be followed up with a letter to the ministers formally documenting the discussions and ensuring appropriate actions take place on all the items discussed.
For more information, please contact:
Mayor Tara Veer
The City of Red Deer
The City of Red Deer
Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer