To say the latest decision by Municipal District of Taber council to terminate the joint fire agreement with the Town of Taber as of Feb. 28, 2017, is a bombshell, would be an understatement.
In a press release issued Monday afternoon, the M.D has announced it will go it alone with a ‘Rural Taber’ fire service, in combination with volunteer fire departments in its surrounding towns, villages and hamlets within the M.D.
Given having its own rural fire service will be a multi-hundred thousand dollar undertaking annually, it is obvious the M.D. would not make such a bold move unless it felt it absolutely had to.
It is also obvious to anyone paying attention to the local news in recent years, that there seem to be something just off when it comes to the relationship between the Town of Taber and the Municipal District of Taber.
The Municipal District of Taber has dozens of intermunicipal agreements in place with regions such as Bow Island, Barnwell, County of Lethbridge, Vulcan, Warner…the list goes on and on.
The Town of Taber has its intermunicipal agreements in place as well.But when it comes to partnerships between the two, there is a long list of issues where the two do not seem to see eye-to-eye.
Fire agreements, road ban issues, development approval of the compost pad, splits for recreation funding, Johnson’s Addition, intermunicipal development agreements in general, water treatment issues…those are just a few examples from the recent Taber Times/Vauxhall Advance archives where there seems to be disharmony between the two councils.
In the grander scheme of globalization, it is becoming increasingly apparent entities such as the Town of Taber and the M.D. of Taber, neither breaks the 10,000 barrier when it comes to population, cannot go it alone if they are to see genuine and sustainable growth in upcoming years.
Is it egos with conflicting personalities on the councils? Is it control, accountability and fiscal concerns with administration?
Given the closed-door discussions between the two entities and the study of the human condition, both the M.D. of Taber and Town of Taber representatives will likely give different answers to where the disconnect is coming from.
Hopefully whoever or whatever is causing the disharmony between the Town of Taber and the M.D. of Taber can work itself out, not only for the betterment of both municipalities, but to strengthen all of southern Alberta as well.
The obvious alternative to repairing a working relationship between both municipalities would be more mutual animosity between both parties, an eventuality that in the end will not benefit the ratepayers of either municipality.