TOWN OF THORSBY
Posted on Friday December 16, 2016 at 04:44PM
Council has, and continues to work hard to move our community forward. The next step in this journey we share together, is becoming a Town.
The Order in Council has been approved and will come into effect January 1, 2017 and Thorsby will then be recognized as a Town.
Over the last year, we have engaged the residents of Thorsby and have encountered a positive response to the conversation of becoming a Town. The questions asked most revolve around the financial aspects: Will it reduce taxes? Will we receive more grant funding? Will it cost us more?
The answer to all these important questions is a resounding no.
As previously stated, there is no direct financial impact until the population hits 5000, at that point any municipality is required to contribute to policing costs. We will continue to work hard for our residents to provide cost effective services and minimize the impact to taxes regardless of size or status. Current cost share agreements won't be affected, bylaws and policy written and authorized as the Village of Thorsby are automatically deemed to be in effect for the Town.
More recent changes to the Municipal Government Act announced in December regarding changes to the make-up of growth management boards, in our area namely, the Capital Region Board of which we are currently a member, will change. Legislation will be put forward next year and which will exclude any municipality with a population of under 5,000 from being a part of the Capital Region Board. However, our ties with other local municipalities such as Leduc County and Breton, Calmar and Warburg as members of the 39/20 Alliance will continue to grow, and we will work hard with all our neighbours to bring economies of scale and prosperity for our region.
Core grant dollars are mostly calculated on set formulas which are per capita based, so we would see no changes as long as they are supported at the provincial and federal levels for everyone. Access to additional grants are criteria and points based, and would be subject to any applications we submit, matching the criteria as prioritized by the relevant legislative authority and in competition against the subscription levels in relation to the amount of funds available.
In an era when many rural municipalities are shrinking and loosing residents to larger centers, it’s great to see that Thorsby continues to grow, and we now have eight more residential units in our community. The indirect financial impacts of becoming a town can only be positive, it will demonstrate that growth continues and provide for positive exposure to bring increased economic opportunity to our community, but it will take the strength of the whole of our community working together, building businesses, supporting businesses, and supporting each other to ensure our community continues grow.