I interacted with few people and it seems a lot of Grande Prairians are not in the know of what City Council is all about, their roles and how decisions made by the Council affects their daily living. This page is all about educating everyone and answering FAQs that come my way as I begin my election campaign. If you’ve got questions to ask me, I’d love to hear from you, please connect with me HERE
What does Council do?
Council has a variety of responsibilities within the community at large and within the organisation of the City of Grande Prairie. These include (answer provided from Council Dylan Bressey’s website):
- Provide input into and ultimately approve the City’s budget
- Create, review, and update municipal bylaws
- Create, review, and update the policies governing City programs and services. Council sets the guidelines for these services while City staff do the work of delivering them.
- Advocate for our community to senior levels of government and other entities which invest or might invest in our community
- Monitor programs and service delivery to ensure they are undertaken in the best way possible and at levels which are best for the community
- Help communicate City programs, services, successes, and challenges to citizens
- Listen to citizen ideas, concerns, and experiences to inform Council decisions and to provide feedback to City administration
City Council as a body has a lot of power. However, Councilors have very little power when working as individuals. Council can vote to give direction to City staff. However, no individual (including the Mayor) is able to give direction on their own. To read an in-depth description of the roles and responsibilities of the Mayor and Councillors, Please click HERE
What is the Mayor’s primary responsibility?
The Mayor’s primary job is to lead Council. He chairs City Council meetings, makes board and committee appointments, helps organize Council efforts, works with administration to ensure Council’s directives are being carried out, can vote at all City committee meetings, and acts as a spokesperson for Council and the City.
When it comes time to vote on issues, the Mayor is one of nine votes. He has no ability to override the decisions Council makes. He also has some obligation to speak on Council’s behalf, even when he disagrees with its decisions.
One important power the Mayor has is with regards to communicating values. He can make decisions about proclamations, flag raising, and other symbolic actions.
The Mayor also has a full-time position with the City. Councillors’ time commitments are not defined, but the remuneration committee found that on the previous Council, the average time worked was equivalent to a 0.7 time position. Note – answer provided from Council Dylan Bressey’s website.
Can I be part of City Council meetings?
You are welcome to attend any City Council or Council Committee meeting. You can also watch Monday night City Council meetings online. A schedule, agendas, past meeting minutes, and webcast links can be found by clicking here.
Anyone is welcome to make a presentation at a City Council meeting. Anyone is also welcome to request to speak at a committee meeting. You can just show up to speak at an afternoon (3:00pm) session of Council. However, you need to fill out a Delegation Request Form to speak at an evening (6:00pm) session of Council or a committee. Forms can be found here.
Usually you will be asked to make your presentation at the beginning of the meeting, even if it has to do with a topic on the agenda for later in the meeting. You will be asked to speak for five minutes or less. Afterwards, Council members will be given an opportunity to ask you questions. Administration may also be given an opportunity to respond to what you have said.
If you are part of a group or organisation, there is no limit on how many people can come to observe the meeting. However, generally every group is only allowed up to two spokespersons.
If you wish to speak to City Council during on a Monday evening when they meet, you can just show up at a meeting. However, it is helpful if you let them know you are coming by filling out a Delegation Request Form. You must fill out this form if you wish to present to a committee. It can be found by clicking here. Note – answer provided from Council Dylan Bressey’s website.
Municipal Government Acronyms you should know
There are a ton of acronyms associated with municipal government. Below are some of the most common ones.
- ASP- Area Structure Plan. A bylaw adopted by Council to govern the development of an area of the City. This is a general plan for the future land uses and infrastructure in the area.
- AUMA- Alberta Urban Municipalities Association. A provincial association which provides advice, business services, networking, professional development, and advocacy for Alberta municipalities.
- CCW- Council Committee of the Whole.
- CLT- Corporate Leadership Team. The senior administrative leadership of the City. This is made up of the City Manager, the Directors of Community Living, Corporate Services, and Infrastructure & Protective Services, and the Human Resources manager.
- FCM- Federation of Canadian Municipalities. A national advocacy group representing Canadian municipalities.
- ICF- Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework. This is a new requirement the province is mandating for by 2020. It is a series of agreements between neighboring municipalities on how they will collaborate on land use planning and service delivery. Every municipality must work these out with any other municipalities they border, they are also allowed to work them out with other regional municipalities.
- IPS- Infrastructure and Protective Services. One of Council’s sub-committees.
- MGA- Municipal Government Act. This is the primary piece of provincial legislation governing how municipalities are structured and operate.
- RFP- Request for Proposal. A document soliciting proposals to provide a service or sell an asset to the service or to utilize City assets. Note – above answer provided from Council Dylan Bressey’s website