Councillor Survey Question 3

What do you think is the role of a municipal government? Do you think the City does too many things, not enough, or just the right amount?

Janise Somer:

About right.


Brenda Campbell:

Well, previous to covid I would say the City did almost the right amount of things. The exception is I don't think the City lobbied the provincial and/or federal levels of government enough. This has resulted in other smaller centers having better facilities and supports than we do (eg. 50m pool in Grande Prairie). I feel the role of a municipal government is to rally for its people and ensure what needs to be done, and can be done for their area, is.


Bruce Buruma:

We could all use a quick lesson on responsibilities of municipal, provincial and federal government...too often we play in the wrong ‘sandbox’. The City should be focused on core services, programs and projects needed to make Red Deer a strong, desirable, safe and sustainable community. Having said that, having other levels of government download their responsibilities onto local government is an increasing challenge as well. With significant changes on Council, I would like a review of services to determine where we are aligned to these areas of responsibilities (too many, just right, not enough) and use this to guide future planning and ensure we are at ‘just the right amount.’


Kraymer Barnstable:

I believe we have seen all levels of government way over step their boundaries when it comes to their role. Municipal government's role should be to handle our libraries, parks, community water systems, local police, roadways and parking. Red Deer and many other municipalities have gone way overboard in the name of safety. Their intentions I'm sure were good, but we need municipal governments to remember what they were intended for.


Victor Doerksen:

The short answer is that I think our city is too involved in active development and acts too often as a “social agency”. A city should provide basic infrastructure (water and wastewater, transportation corridors, power and heating utilities, recreation infrastructure, etc.); affordability (taxes and levies); community safety; planning and provision of development opportunities.


Dianne Wyntjes:

Municipal government is the order of government closest to the people and is community focused. The role of municipal government is to respond to services that bring quality of life to individuals, families, and the business community. Municipal governments are responsible for a variety of services that citizens expect and rely upon. It’s also recognized the revenue sources to provide these many services such as utilities - electricity, water, waste water, policing, recreation, parks, transit, summer and winter roads and sidewalk maintenance, garbage pickup and landfill management, city growth and development, library, community and regional relationships, advocacy with the federal and provincial orders of government on significant issues affecting the community (e.g. Hospital needs, Shelter building and operational decisions, Justice, Policing, to name a few), other community asks that may come to Council, maintenance and buildings new community infrastructure, and other lenses for community such as the local economy, affordability, economic hardship and effects to the community, the environment - air quality, water/Red Deer River, and land use, respect, inclusion and truth and reconciliation and the list goes on. As well, there can be downloading of responsibilities from the Provincial Government that the Municipality must pick up, eg less policing funding. We are reminded that municipalities receive funding through the tax base, fees and charges, and grants from federal and provincial grants, some of which are competitive. Through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA), continued advocacy occurs for returned funding to municipalities based on population. Continued needs for Red Deer, a growing city, include transportation, roads and bridges - maintenance and new construction, water and wastewater systems, transit, recreation facilities and other future capital projects that Red Deer will plan and submit to the Province and the Federal government for approval. This question, to me, is about responding to the many community needs and the importance of delivering services that will bring improvements to the quality of life for Red Deerians and retain and attract future business investment that brings jobs and services to Red Deer. As an elected official, you do not measure if something is too much, not enough or just the right amount. You do the work that is before you to address the challenges, work with community and other orders of government, you have vision for Red Deer’s future and work to advance Red Deer and bring better quality of life.


Chad Krahn:

To provide a frame work for the flourishing of people involved the shared goal of build a great place. Municipal governments provide the opportunity for decision making at the lowest level of analysis possible, by people who have skin in the game. Too often, the city gets involved in trying to make decisions on areas well outside their jurisdiction with no reasonable means to accomplish or enforce.


Ryan Laloge:

The City is doing too many things and some are less effective than needed.


Vesna Higham:

The role of municipal government is to provide local services, amenities, protection, and lifestyle to our public in the most efficient, cost-effective manner possible. These services include: police, fire/ambulance/emergency services; roads (building, paving, snow-clearing, and street sweeping); electricity, water, waste & storm water; recreation and parks (including trails and green spaces as well as leisure programming); garbage, recycling, and organics pick-up, disposal, and storage; street lights & outdoor furniture, transit, and sidewalks; engineering, traffic lights, and traffic congestion control, etc. These are the sort of core services local government is responsible for; however, the Municipal Government Act further expounds on these responsibilities and powers under sections 3 and 7: The purposes of a municipality are: 3. (a) to provide good government, (a.1) to foster the well-being of the environment, (b) to provide services, facilities or other things that, in the opinion of council, are necessary or desirable for all or a part of the municipality, (c) to develop and maintain safe and viable communities, and (d) to work collaboratively with neighbouring municipalities to plan, deliver and fund intermunicipal services. … and section 7: 7. A council may pass bylaws for municipal purposes respecting the following matters: (a) the safety, health and welfare of people and the protection of people and property; (b) people, activities and things in, on or near a public place or place that is open to the public; (c) nuisances, including unsightly property; (d) transport and transportation systems; (e) businesses, business activities and persons engaged in business; (f) services provided by or on behalf of the municipality; (g) public utilities; (h) wild and domestic animals and activities in relation to them; (i) the enforcement of bylaws made under this or any other enactment; … So, the powers and responsibilities of a municipal government are varied and broad. At times, cities either voluntarily or by default of downloads from the Province or Feds, take on services (like housing vulnerable souls or other related social services) that are simply not under municipal jurisdiction – but are happening on our streets impacting our residents. These are the most challenging types of municipal government roles to define and work through. To summarize, however, the most important role of local government is to provide core municipal services, maintain an attractive city, and stay fiscally responsible taking as little as possible from the taxpayers as possible.


Cindy Jefferies:

The role of the municipal government, mayor and council, is to set policy, set the operational and capital budgets for the city, and hire and evaluate the city manager. The role of the city is very diverse. As citizens we use the services and infrastructure of the city every day. Our quality of life depends on city services. While some of us might think one service or another should/could be cut, our neighbours may depend on that service and vice versa. It is a fine balance to provide the services citizens need and want within the budget. Tough decisions are made in every budget process.

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