City or Town – my full answer to the Gazette

Gazette published a great piece on City or Town status today.

Below is my full response, which obviously has to be trimmed for the article. Article link below:

As a member of Council I requested Administration to come back with a report on the pros and cons of becoming a city and details on what would be involved to become a specialized municipality. That report, which we received a year ago had considerable food for thought for the next Council, and it is something the next Council will address during their term.

I’m not a fan of instantly becoming a city at the magic number of 10,000.

As the report indicates, there are not a lot of benefits, certainly no more funding from other levels of government, and the idea that big box stores will suddenly pop up if you are a city is false – It’s not Sim City. We’re already seeing some national brands showing up and that always leads to more, particularly now that privately-owned land on 100 Street is approved for commercial development.

One of the major problems with becoming a city at 10,000 is taking over Highway 642 for maintenance and repairs. While it gives us the authority to do what needs to be done to the road with respect to lights without government approval, Morinville taxpayers will wind up carrying the burden for huge upkeep costs for heavy commercial traffic on that busy road.

At this time, based on the information in front of me – I’m not pro city status instantly at 10,000.

I do look forward to being a part of the conversation with our residents – explaining the pros and cons and learning what their feelings are on the idea.

That conversation should include the notion of the specialized municipality concept, something that might assist us with the difficulty in obtaining adequate funding from Sturgeon County, whose residents use many of our facilities. But anything other than staying a town or becoming a city is a complex road to navigate that would take years and years.