By Cole Parkinson
The Town of Vauxhall council has committed to continue their membership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM).
The yearly contribution was brought forward for council decision during their regular meeting on Jan. 2 and councillors voiced some of their opinions on whether or not the membership was worth paying for 2018.
“This is a yearly $50 contribution so administration is saying we can just make a motion for another $50, we could make a motion to review it every year or opt out. So we can decide to do it every year and administration just takes care of it,” said Mayor Margaret Plumtree.
Councillors had questions on how beneficial the membership was and if it was more of an optional membership rather than mandatory.
“The question I would have for administration is obviously membership in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities sounds like one of those things where they come up with a really official name implying mandatory participation, when really it’s optional,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Phillips, which was confirmed to be an optional membership by CAO Cris Burns. “My next question would be do we get value out of our membership with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities?”
The base fee, according to Vauxhall administration, was at $350 while the $50 fee was for FCM’s Legal Defence Fund.
While the FCM may not be as well known as the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA), the town does have a relationship with the group while working on a variety of different projects.
“Basically what they do is, so we’ve got AUMA and then this is the federal one. A lot of times when I’m working with AUMA on the small communities we also work with FCM on the same stuff. We do work with them, just Vauxhall doesn’t work with them but as a province we really do,” said Plumtree. “In my four years we haven’t really used them to advocate specifically for us.”
Phillips was still worried the membership wouldn’t provide the town with much value.
Though he did voice his opinion that if it did provide the town with some benefits, he was for continuing the membership.
“Thinking of our town, most legislation that affects us is provincial legislation so therefore a provincial representative group is more valuable to us than a federal one because it is the one that most impacts us. If there is value in this then fine,” said Phillips.
Administration voiced their opinion the $50 spent is well worth the cost with what they receive in return from the membership.
“For $50 it’s a better benefit than a cost. We did get some emails and information that helps but for $50 it’s worth it,” said Burns.
Some of the information the town gets in the emails are grants, which they see as worth the $50 cost to re-up the membership.
“It’s always good to have more grants,” chimed in Coun. Linda English.
The FCM also hosts their own conventions in spots across the country but so far the Town of Vauxhall hasn’t been able to attend.
They have also heard through the grapevine that there will be more Western Canada stops in the future but so far most of the conferences are held in Eastern Canada and the cost is too much for the smaller towns to attend.
“Honestly a lot of municipalities that are smaller, Lethbridge will go to FCM and bigger places like that, but a lot of us smaller ones will not go because we can’t afford to go to their conventions. A lot of times they are in Ontario or Quebec,” said Plumtree.
The motion was passed to give the $50 for legal fees and to review the membership every year unanimously.