Whether the Town of Ponoka gets enough ‘bang for its buck’ under its Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) membership was discussed during town council on March 26.
Council voted to consider ending the membership in favour of one with the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) in the hopes it will help gain greater access to provincial grants.
The motion is part of the town’s continued quest to change what Counc. Teri Underhill called an unfair model that allows bigger cities, like Edmonton and Calgary, to get more money from provincial funding grants than towns with a population under 10,000.
Since Ponoka has been a member of the AUMA, she said the lack of communication around funding for smaller communities has raised concerns. She said the association has not addressed certain requests to look into the matter.
“I think it is important to continue our quest to change that funding model and look at whether our membership is really benefiting us with respect to grant funding,” she said.
Underhill added the town might be better served by joining the RMA, “because it seems to be more geared toward what rural municipalities need.”
From March 27 to 28, Mayor Rick Bonnett, Counc. Ted Dillon and Counc. Kevin Ferguson attended the AUMA Leaders Caucus.
Bonnett, who supported the motion, said he and the councillors would raise the issue with the association at the event. In January, he sought support from other area municipalities to push for support for grant funding.
Counc. Carla Prediger was skeptical of the motion, and was the only councillor to vote against it.
Counc. Kevin Ferguson said the keyword regarding the issue is ‘exploring.’
“We are not going ahead and doing this. We’re taking a look at this,” he said.