By Cole Parkinson
With the Municipal District of Taber’s annual general meeting slated for April 30, councillors have started discussing possible changes to the layout of the event.
While AGMs in the past have been traditionally meeting-type settings, an idea was brought forward to council to possibly shake up how they host this coming meeting in April.
“I was wondering if we could have a discussion on what items we would like to see there and how we would like to see the annual general meeting laid out. As we heard today, the open mic concept might not be the best way of hearing from our residents,” explained Coun. John Turcato.
The year’s AGM will be held at the newly opened M.D. operations and maintenance facility, while last years was held in Enchant.
One of Turcato’s ideas was to host the AGM similar to an open house with different stations where people could talk to M.D. councillors and staff face-to-face.
“You can sit down with someone or stand there and talk about what you think about the plan we have going forward. There can be some open mic time, too. I just think it is a more positive experience. There are only certain people who come up to the mic, some are uncomfortable doing that but it would be comfortable in that atmosphere to have different stations. Almost like a modular approach to our AGM. Maybe we have it open for a longer period of time so it is almost like a come and go,” he said.
While the list of topics can expand before the meeting on April 30, so far council has put the off-highway vehicle bylaw, tax collection date, community peace officers, campus plan, future revenue for taxation and financial information on the agenda.
Tours of the building will also go before the AGM, tentatively set for 5 to 7 p.m. with the meeting beginning at 7 p.m.
While the face-to-face idea was well received by council, there was still the thought of hosting a formal meeting portion as well.
“I don’t know if you would want to start at five or six but for the formal part of the meeting, you wouldn’t want people wandering around looking at the shop. At a certain point in time, I’d like to have the meeting start and get through the meeting portion. We’ll stick around for any questions after that but that’s my only concern. If people are coming and going, at some point I’d want to have the official part of the meeting. I’m more than willing to sit down and engage with anyone who has questions,” said Reeve Merrill Harris.
Others on council were on board with having both the formal portion of the meeting and one-on-one sessions as part of the AGM.
“I don’t mind to see a combined approach because I wouldn’t want to take that open mic away and I am prepared to take whatever questions people may have of us. If we were soliciting information from people, then you have someone run the table and ask those five questions and mark them down. Some people won’t engage that way either,” said Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga.
“I think it is worth a try. Just because we have always done it one way doesn’t mean we can’t try something else. Certainly, you could have one table with budget explaining where it is at and have more one-on-one questions,” said Coun. Brian Brewin.
Council voted unanimously to proceed with AGM topics and the updated format.