+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 9-17F

AAMDC Refusal to Engage in Exploratory Discussion to Merge with AUMA

Date:
November 15, 2017
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2020
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
MD of Willow Creek
District:
1 - Foothills-Little Bow
Year:
2017
Convention:
Fall
Category:
RMA
Status:
Accepted
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

WHEREAS the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) has provided a clear and constant voice for rural Alberta for over 90 years; and

WHEREAS the AAMDC exists to provide a slate of member services for rural Alberta, including but not limited to advocacy, elected officials education, insurance management, networking, research, risk management, and a trade division; and

WHEREAS the Board of the AAMDC is comprised of democratically elected rural representatives who have been given a clear mandate, from its membership, to provide a strong voice to advance the ideals, values and concerns of rural municipalities that would otherwise be lost; and

WHEREAS a merger with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) would result in lost representation, lost autonomy, lost influence with senior levels of government and the eventual amalgamation of rural municipalities with 266 urban municipalities, looking to obtain the lucrative trade division of AAMDC;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) refuse to enter into any discussions with the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) that would result in any attempt to merge the AAMDC with AUMA.

Member Background:

AUMA and AAMDC have been operating as separate municipal organizations for decades and the separation of the Insurance Reciprocal at that time resulted in a painful and prolonged “divorce”.   There are 266 towns and villages and 75 rural municipalities. The voice of rural Alberta will be lost in a ratio of more than 3 to 1. The needs and wants of urban municipalities are completely different than those of rural municipalities. While the majority of rural infrastructure is designed around transportation corridors and emergency and enforcement services, urban municipalities require millions of dollars to subsidize recreational services. There has always been a disconnect between the two entities regarding municipal servicing priorities. The continuous ongoing attempt, by AUMA, to absorb and cherry pick what is successful about AAMDC will leave rural Alberta without its last great voice.

AUMA Announcement:

July 13, 2017
SPECIAL EDITION
I am pleased to provide you with advance notice of a resolution that the AUMA Board is putting forward at our fall Convention.  The enclosed resolution calls for your support to explore the possibility of merging AUMA and AAMDC into one new municipal association that would represent all of Alberta’s municipalities.

The resolution reflects the common goals of urban and rural municipalities in providing infrastructure and other community services that enable quality of life and support economic development, environmental stewardship and social wellbeing within and outside of your individual municipal boundaries.  Given the need for greater collaboration between all municipalities, this is also a very appropriate time to explore the feasibility of merging AUMA and AAMDC into one association so that we can build consensus on policy and advocacy matters, while more efficiently and effectively creating tools and resources to build municipal capacity.

AUMA is well accustomed to building consensus across municipalities of different types, sizes and locations. We have a proven track record of identifying issues and opportunities of importance to our diverse membership and then working with our members to develop practical solutions.  As well, we have also had a lot of success in working with AAMDC to develop common policy positions such as those relating to the Municipal Government Act and in delivering services through our jointly owned programs (e.g. Elected Officials Education Program and Municipal Climate Change Action Centre).

The concept of one municipal association is not ground-breaking.  Other provinces such as Ontario, British Columbia and Manitoba have effectively evolved to one municipal association and indicate that they have a much stronger impact with federal and provincial governments since they can act as one voice on behalf of all municipalities.  As well, many of you have been suggesting that it would be beneficial for AUMA and AAMDC to merge.

The AUMA Board agrees that the time is right for our associations to stop competing with each other and to instead explore combining our respective resources so that we can provide greater services to municipalities, realize cost savings and efficiencies and strengthen our impact with governments and service providers.

While we have not received an indication of whether AAMDC supports the exploration of a merger, it will be a key topic of discussion at the August annual meeting of the AUMA and AAMDC Boards.  In the interim, I want to clarify that it will take some time to complete this exploration as we would need to develop a proposed scope of services and a governance, legal and financial structure.  The proposal would then need to be presented to our respective members in 2018 for input.  Assuming there is support to proceed, it would likely take a few years to implement, given the regulatory and other requirements.

We are excited about this resolution as it opens the door for a stronger municipal voice in Alberta.  We look forward to hearing your views before and during the resolution session this fall. Please feel free to email me at president@auma.ca to share your questions and perspectives.

Lisa Holmes

AUMA President

AUMA Resolution 2017

AUMA Board of Directors

Collaborative discussions Between AUMA and AAMDC on the Opportunity to Merge

WHEREAS the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) and the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties (AAMDC) each have over 100 years of experience in supporting Alberta’s municipalities;

WHEREAS AUMA and AAMDC share a common goal to enable strong, vibrant and sustainable communities;

WHEREAS the member municipalities of each association need to work more collaboratively together to deliver municipal infrastructure and services within and outside of their individual boundaries;

WHEREAS given the common goals of rural and urban municipalities, the associations themselves have recognized their own need for greater collaboration and have been able to reach consensus on many policy, advocacy and program matters;

WHEREAS the experiences of other provinces like Manitoba and Ontario illustrate that having one association to represent all municipalities with a unified policy and advocacy position has a more robust impact with federal and provincial governments;

WHEREAS combining our respective policy and advocacy resources would expand our impact, lower costs, and increase our sustainability; and

WHEREAS there is an opportunity for the associations to unite their efforts in providing property and casualty insurance, retirement and employee benefits, and utilities so that instead of competing with each other we can improve services to our members, reduce costs and provide the best possible pricing for our members, while combatting competition from the private sector so that our modest proceeds can be used to fund other services to help municipalities.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the AUMA invite AAMDC to engage in exploratory discussions to merge our associations into one new municipal association.

BACKGROUND:

AUMA and AAMDC have been operating as separate municipal organizations since the early 1900s. Both associations provide member-based advocacy and business services to municipalities. AUMA represents 269 of Alberta’s urban municipalities and AAMDC represents 69 counties and municipal districts. Some municipalities are full voting members of both associations, while others are associate members for the purpose of acquiring business services.

AUMA and AAMDC jointly own the Elected Official Education Program and Municipal Climate Change Action Centre.  In addition, our associations are accustomed to working collaboratively to provide resources and tools to build municipal capacity and advocate on municipal issues and opportunities through our participation on committees and correspondence and meetings with other governments and stakeholders.

As AUMA and AAMDC each provide business services such as insurance, benefits, water and utilities, we compete with each other to serve the needs of urban and rural municipalities.  While each association has a combination of urban and rural municipal clients, our respective market shares are at risk given the emergence of private sector competitors who would like to attract our respective clients. Instead of competing with each other, AUMA and AAMDC need to join forces to combat this competition so we can continue to provide quality service at low cost to our members.

RMA Background:

The AAMDC has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Development:

The AUMA is a valued partner for RMA, and collaborating to create a unified municipal voice on issues of mutual importance is an effective advocacy approach. However, RMA respects its members’ direction that an independent rural municipal voice is needed in Alberta, and is committed to continuing to serve that role. This resolution is deemed Accepted.

Provincial Ministries:
none
Provincial Boards and Organizations:
RMA
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