Have you heard about viability reviews? Is one taking place in or near your municipality?
Alberta’s current viability review process was approved in June 2012. A viability review provides an analysis of a municipality’s governance, finances, infrastructure, and services, through which municipalities can determine their viability and develop a plan to address potential challenge areas. Viability reviews are meant to evaluate whether a municipality is sustainable, not to examine council or administrative practices; it may also lead to recommendations for maintaining viability. Below are some high-level details:
- The review generally takes approximately nine to twelve months but there have been exceptions to expediate the process.
- The review process is on a rotating timeline sequencing through Alberta municipalities. Should a municipal council believe that the sustainability or viability of the municipality is in jeopardy, the council can write to the Minister of Municipal Affairs to request a review.
- The review process includes a selected viability review team to collect and analyze key municipal information regarding governance, finances, programs, and services offered by the municipality.
- The viability review team is composed of representatives from Municipal Affairs, the municipality undergoing the review, the potential receiving municipality (if the review municipality were to dissolve) and municipal associations, such as: Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA), Alberta Rural Municipal Administrators Association (ARMAA), Alberta Summer Villages Association (ASVA), Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA), and the Local Government Administration Association (LGAA).
- Members of the municipality are provided with opportunities to offer input into the viability review process through surveys, delegations to viability review team meetings, open houses, and public meetings.
- If the process leads to a vote, electors (of the reviewed municipality) will be able to vote on whether or not to dissolve the municipality.
For more information on viability reviews, and to see the status of current reviews, click here. Regardless of a viability review, municipalities can also complete the self-assessment questionnaire to identify actions they can take to promote ongoing municipal sustainability.
Questions about viability reviews or requests for a presentation to council on viability reviews can be directed to the Municipal Sustainability team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone toll-free at 310-0000 or 780-427-2225.