The Regionalization Working Group (RWG) met August 8 to continue discussions regarding a proposal to amalgamate the municipalities of Brooks, Bassano and the County of Newell. 

A timeline for the consideration of amalgamation was developed by the ISL Communications Group. Following further discussion and a desire to incorporate federal and provincial budget information into the public information package, the timeline will be updated to reflect the “Investigation and Analysis” activities. RWG meetings will continue through to the end of October. Public Consultation meetings will be held in November, and after a review of public feedback, a decision will be made whether to proceed with an application for amalgamation. 

The governance model that proposes one representative from Bassano, five from Brooks and five from the County of Newell (with a chairperson selected from the group of eleven) has been recommended by the RWG. This proposal will be brought to each council for ratification at their next scheduled meeting. 

County of Newell and City of Brooks Financial staff have begun working on a Financial Model to show different detailed scenarios with annual savings projections for an amalgamated municipality. Preliminary investigations suggest a potential savings to operating expenses between $2.7M - $3.5M. The largest opportunities for savings have been determined to be found in: elimination of duplication of processes in Administrations and Councils; elimination of Information System duplication; elimination of duplication of Contracted Services and more productive use of Equipment and Facilities.

The preliminary analysis of financial savings information was presented and reviewed by RWG members.

Further details will be provided at the next meeting on August 20 and the completed Financial Model will be available in an information package to be distributed prior to the public consultation meetings in the fall.

The RWG encourages concerned citizens to talk personally with their local councillors or the members of the RWG: Ron Wickson and Jackie Seely from Bassano, John Petrie and Barry Morishita from Brooks and Molly Douglass and Clarence Amulung from the County of Newell.

For more information go to www.regionalwg.ca or contact your local municipal office.

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