MAP review results shared

ECA Review/Terri Huxley
Written by Terri Huxley

The Village of Youngstown was given the final report from Municipal Affairs regarding the Municipal Accountability Program (MAP) at their regular meeting held Tues. July 6.

Villages, towns and counties are randomly selected to undergo this process, with all being completed within a five-year rotation.

For Youngstown, staff were required to scan and email many documents beginning in April to Municipal Affairs for review to determine what the village is in compliance with and what needs to be changed or scrapped.

Interviews were then conducted with staff.

On average, municipalities score 16 total errors.

The village just surpassed this at 17 out-of-compliance items.

“It is mostly housekeeping items,” said Mayor Robert Blagen.

For example, one item that needed to be addressed was the establishment of the village office’s location by stating the building’s address on paper.

Youngstown was compliant in 40 out of 57 areas including quorum, voting, public presence at meetings, code of conduct bylaw, discretionary bylaws, operating budget, tax rolls and notices, and financial records and receipts.

“Overall the review findings are positive,” stated the report.

Where they were not compliant was in areas of conducting an annual Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) evaluation; council to only act by resolution or bylaw, declaring a pecuniary interest, aligning the property tax bylaw with the Municipal Government Act (MGA), establishing a bylaw for an enforcement officer and public participation policy; and to implement a three-year operating plan and a five-year capital plan amongst others.

Some of the issues presented have already been corrected by village CAO Emma Garlock with help and approval from Municipal Affairs.

The village will have a few months to reply to the review with an action plan of steps to correct the non-compliant items and a year after that to fully correct everything.

Electrical distribution

Council inked an agreement with ATCO Electric via bylaw to allow the company to continue supplying electricity to the village for another 10 years.

The previous contract was ending in 2021 which prompted a review of the former agreement.

Talks of entering into ATCO’s multiplier program to get LED lights in the village were brought up again. 

Youngstown owns 38 non-invested lights. 

Council requested ATCO come and present in-person on what the program fully entails for the community as the combined energy savings and off-loaded responsibility were highlighted.

Community talk

A few people came to council to hear about the MAP Review and share suggestions about possible improvements to the community.

One person suggested a pensioner taxpayer lunch in partnership with Small World Cafe where a locally-based produce turned meal would be provided one day per month as a trial as part of an incentive to remain living in the community.

The village will look further into this option but also suggested neighbours help each other out by sharing leftovers and such.

Overgrown railway lots

The village has requested that CN Railway clean up their property within town as their lots currently “are a disgrace” with overgrown vegetation.

An employee responded to the request asking the village what they would charge to do the work but administration felt the job was far too large for their employees.

CN then asked if the village would find out quotes for them to have this done.

Council and administration made a motion agreeing the company should find this information out on their own and do something about the issue themselves.

 

Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.