The community has seen their reserve funds depleted due to the exit of TransAlta from the region.
The Village of Wabamun now has two paths forward to solid financial footing.
The community has seen their reserve funds depleted due to the exit of TransAlta from the region. As a result they had to reestablish a 700,000 line of credit this year until taxes are collected in the summer and have had to balance their books until that time. Residents claim this has led to a decline in service quality.
A group of voters presented a petition asking the community to dissolve as a village in September and requested they become a hamlet under Parkland County jurisdiction. No action has been taken yet, but council in the community heard from Ministry of Municipal Affairs representatives Tuesday on what to do.
According to Mayor Charlene Smylie, they can amalgamate with the County or go through a viability review.
The second process can take a year and involves officials from the ministry, Wabamun and Parkland County reviewing the quality of governance, finances and services in Wabamun. It does not always lead to a dissolution and in some cases, the government develops plans for communities to address their issues.
Petitioners see that choice as a delay of the inevitable and urged the Village to act swiftly at the latest meeting.
“In our view it would only confirm the obvious and delay the only viable option, becoming a hamlet again,” Fred Lindsay said in prepared remarks. “You have been given a clear path to follow. Start amalgamation negotiations with Parkland County immediately.”
Village council accepted the presentations for information. Smylie says no decisions will be made until the public has a chance to be properly informed about each through extensive periods of consultation.