Saturday , 16 October 2021

Town and M.D. of Bonnyville agree on ICF with $1.5 million changing hands

The Town and M.D. of Bonnyville have come to terms on an Intermunicipal Collaboration Framework that recognizes how services are enjoyed by residents of each municipality.

Last week at each of their council meetings, the town and M.D. agreed to the ICF arrangement, just before the province’s deadline of April 2021 to finish up.

The deal sees the M.D. of Bonnyville providing $1.5 million annually in base funding for M.D. residents’ use of town services.

“We’ve basically pounded it out, it’s definitely not a document that stays stagnant,” said Bonnyville mayor Gene Sobolewski on The Morning After last week.

“It lends itself to services being provided by ourselves and it goes both ways. It’s not a one-sided transaction type of things. So there’s water service or sewer service, there are roads, things of that nature, that are enjoyed by the M.D. There are recreational services and roads that are enjoyed by the town residents,” he said.

“So say, for example, going out to the landfill. Those all have common costs for maintenance and that and what we do is we identify the costs for maintaining and everybody sort of paying their fair share.”

The contribution by the M.D. of Bonnyville was determined by the amount of M.D. of Bonnyville residents living in the Town of Bonnyville Service Area and the population of the Town of Bonnyville.

The $1.5 lump sum cost share includes the M.D. of Bonnyville contribution for one RCMP General Investigative Services (GIS) position.

These ICF agreements must be reviewed every five years and must be passed by resolutions of both councils.

The ICF also recognizes the importance of the ID349 funding formula, which will see that former Improvement District move into the M.D. of Bonnyville, which will be officially signed off and approved by the province soon.

“We recognized the importance of ID349 being brought into the M.D. and providing a necessary stable source of revenue for our urban partners that they can use to bolster their infrastructure,” said Reeve Greg Sawchuk.

“If there’s a big project, then we can actually get together early on, look at it and see if both parties are interested in supporting it, rather than waiting to the 11th hour and bringing the other municipality in and hoping that you’re going to receive some funding,” he said.

Because of the province’s mandate, the M.D. has also had to complete ICF agreement with surrounding rurals like Lac La Biche County, the County of St. Paul, and Village of Glendon, and the Summer Villages of Pelican Narrows and Bonnyville Beach.

Last week, the City of Cold Lake signed off with the M.D. on their deal, which will see $2.1 million changes hands.

The two parties agreed that the lntermunicipal Collaboration Committee shall meet at least once every four years beginning no later than 2024 to review the terms and conditions of the agreement.

If the deal was not completed by April 1, the province would’ve forced the municipalities to go to arbitration.

“It gives a fairly good roadmap to be able to move forward. And anything dealing in arbitration–arbitration is a relationship breaker…to avoid being able to do that and to work together, that’s where relations remain on a solid foundation,” said Sobolewski.

Through already existing and separate agreements, the Town and M.D. share costs for the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority and 9-1-1 Centre, and the Bonnyville & District Centennial Centre.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.