Rocky View County aims to join the ranks of Wood Buffalo and Strathcona as a specialized county.
On July 28, RVC council voted 7-2 to proceed with an application to Alberta Municipal Affairs after reviewing data collected, including the results of a public engagement.
In her presentation, Amy Zaluski, of RVC intergovernmental affairs, explains the change in status would allow the county to establish a differential tax rate for urban and rural areas. In addition, they can hold membership in both the Municipalities of Alberta and Alberta Urban Municipalities Association and access both urban and rural-focused grants.
Those responding to a public engagement were in favour with proceeding by a 2:1 ratio, providing the county clearly demonstrates a link between services and taxes paid.
Council designated seven urban centres as part of its application. They include nearby Bragg Creek, Harmony, the Springbank Airport area, Langdon,Conrich, Janet and East Balzac.
Application can be made to expand this list further. Council heard including undeveloped future growth areas, like the Glenbow Ranch, would hurt their application.
That initial list was expanded to include Bragg Creek because it's proving to be a growing urban centre.
"This list is focused on areas that are actively growing and will have the most immediate need for the reflexible tools to deliver services," explained Zaluski. "These areas also have significant development existing or will in the near term, and it's a more urban-style of development."
Councillors Samanntha Wright and Crystal Kissel were opposed to making application, believing its premature for a county of 40,000 people.
There are currently six specialized county's in the province, including Wood Buffalo (Forty McMurray), Strathcona County (Sherwood Park), Jasper, Crowsnest Pass, Mackenzie, and Lac La Biche.