Kneehill County council declined an invitation to meet with Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver at the upcoming spring Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) convention during the regular Tuesday, January 11 council meeting.
Municipal councils across the province receive annual invitations to meet with various ministries and government agencies during the convention, though these 15-minute meetings are often to discuss concerns and express solutions with those involved.
“We’ve always espoused in the past we don’t necessarily want to meet with the Minister for the sake of meeting with the Minister,” Kneehill County Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Mike Haugen shared during the meeting.
CAO Haugen stated, from an administrative standpoint, he did not believe there were any pressing issues where Kneehill County council would need to accept the invitation.
Reeve Jerry Wittstock noted his only consideration was assessment reviews, but said RMA is advocating and working to get delinquent oil and gas companies to pay their taxes and he did not feel a formal meeting with Minister McIver would be worthwhile on this issue.
Division 5 Councillor Laura Lee Machell-Cunningham asked whether a meeting could be arranged to discuss Section 619 of the Municipal Government Act (MGA) which pertains to authorizations of other governing authorities, such as the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC), and land use bylaw.
During discussions it was noted other opportunities for informal discussions at the convention. It was also noted, as Minister McIver’s constituency is in the Calgary area, council may have other opportunities to arrange a meeting with him at his constituency.
Deputy Reeve Ken King said he did not want Councillor Cunningham to feel discouraged and noted the MGA issue is “not going away” so could always be brought forward to the fall convention as they are likely to receive the same invitation request.
Council voted with six in favour and one against to decline the invitation for a meeting with Minister McIver at the spring RMA convention.