The Village of Delia is considering completing a viability study to determine the future of the community.
The Village held a Community Meeting on Thursday, September 8, at the community hall and had a strong turnout of residents, business owners, and landlords.
“There were lots of conversations, but the majority of it was around what we are going to do, and one of the suggestions was to do a viability study,” said Mayor David Sisley.
According to Municipal Affairs, a viability review analyzes the municipality’s governance finances, infrastructure and services. Its purpose is to evaluate whether a municipality is viable and can provide recommendations to achieve this.
A viability review can be instigated through council, through a resident petition, or at the Minister of Municipal Affairs’ discretion.
“People wanted to know if they were to get it done, or if the council would seek it, so we agreed to seek it,” said Sisley.
The process involves information collection, with research from Municipal Affairs, data supplied by the municipality, and stakeholder engagement. From there, recommendations and options are presented.
The report provides two options for the municipality; recommendations for the municipality to reach viability, and a description of the changes and impacts to residents if the municipality was dissolved. The report is sent to the residents and presented at a public meeting.
The final decision is put to a vote of residents.
One issue the Village has faced is difficulty in finding a Chief Administrative Officer. There was a suggestion to share a CAO with other municipalities. Delia is not alone in this struggle to find qualified administrators.
“When our last CAO resigned, from April until now, there have been 29 communities looking for a CAO,” he said. “We are not the only one. Smaller communities can’t pay the money to get a good person.”
If Delia were to dissolve, it would become a Hamlet of Starland County. The review would show the impact on taxes as well as service delivery. Sisley said the process could take some time, often measured in years.
He said council is putting together a document of what was said at the meeting, and it will be posted on the village’s website.