Council ponders FCM conference expense

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INNISFAIL – The town will send two councillors to a national conference next year in Halifax, but they had better prove there’s value to continuing to attend.

The cost of sending two councillors to the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Conference and Trade Show is $12,000, which funds registration, travel, accommodation and meals. The Halifax conference is scheduled for May 31 to June 3.

The FCM has been the national voice of municipal government since 1901. It has more than 2,000 member communities, including small rural communities and Canada’s largest cities, which represent 92 per cent of the Canadian population.

In his report to council, Todd Becker, the town’s chief administrative officer, requested direction from council “confirming” it wishes to continue the FCM conference.

With the large expense to send two councillors, as well as the town’s CAO, Coun. Jean Barclay quizzed council colleagues to ensure they come back with something that has value for the Innisfail community.

“I think if the CAO is asking town staff to look for efficiencies in their operations then we need to do the same with ours,” said Barclay. “We know that Innisfail has not been in any kind of robust economic growth in the last two years. “I just wanted to ensure that we are spending money wisely,” she added. “If we are going to that kind of thing, which is great, is there something coming back that is having a measureable impact on Innisfail.”

Council took Barclay’s concerns seriously, with Mayor Jim Romane adamant that this year’s councillors going to the conference provide council with a report on the value of attending and whether or not it is worth continuing to go.

“It is nice to be on top of everything federally, but I am really going to put the pressure on the two people who go this spring (to) come back with a good report and a recommendation,” said Romane. “Do we still continue to go or don’t we?”

Councillors Doug Bos and Gavin Bates have been chosen to attend the Halifax FCM conference in 2018.

Coun. Jean Barclay

“I just wanted to ensure that we are spending money wisely. If we are going to that kind of thing, which is great, is there something coming back that is having a measureable impact on Innisfail.”

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Johnnie Bachusky

Johnnie Bachusky joined the Innisfail Province as editor in 2013. He covers Innisfail and Red Deer County news, police, crime and municipal politics. He is also a photographer and columnist.