RMA Members are Unique
Are all municipalities the same? Definitely not! Alberta’s rural municipalities differ significantly from others within Alberta and Canada in many areas, including size, infrastructure responsibilities, and many others. This leads to challenges in comparing municipalities of different types and has resulted in some misleading conclusions being drawn recently about Alberta’s rural municipalities.
Rural municipalities are quite different from their urban neighbours and from municipalities across Canada. RMA members are responsible for vast, sparsely populated areas. To service this area, RMA members manage a large amount of infrastructure, including 75% of the province’s roads and 60% of bridges. This means RMA members have large responsibilities with relatively small populations.
Alberta is unique in Canada with a developed north that is administered by municipalities. Other provincial differences include Alberta being home to a large industrial presence requiring a vast transportation network. This means that interprovincial comparisons of municipal spending are very complex, and are likely not an appropriate tool to base funding decisions on.
The RMA has developed two reports on these issues to provide information to stakeholders and the public on the distinctive nature of Alberta’s rural municipalities. But most importantly, these reports can help members tell their story to decision makers.
What is it about Alberta’s rural municipalities that makes them so different and comparisons with other types of municipalities so difficult? This report explains how rural municipalities are unique in Alberta and Canada, as well as exploring some common examples of misleading comparisons between rural municipalities and others.
In 2019, the MacKinnon Panel released a report with recommendations to reduce provincial spending in several areas, including municipal infrastructure and funding. The report featured recommendations that, if implemented, would radically change the fiscal circumstances for municipalities across the province. But were these recommendations based on sound data and analysis? Did the MacKinnon Panel understand the unique characteristics and roles of rural municipalities in the province? Read this report to find out more.