Understand the Relationship between Your City and Regional Councils
If you live in a single tiered municipality, then you naturally don't have a regional council or county board. Your only responsibility will be to serve on City Council; however, if your municipality is part of a 2-tiered system, then you need to understand the relationship between City and Regional councils
- How do Regional Councillors get elected to represent the respective cities in the region?
- What's the breakdown of responsibilities between city and region?
- How often do Regional Councillors meet?
- Find out about the time commitment of the role (there is an additional salary from the region for councillors who play a dual role in a 2-tiered system.)
About Your City Council
- How many Wards/ Councillors are there in your city?
- How many years has each sitting councillor been serving in this capacity?
- Is anyone retiring or moving on? Are there wards with no incumbent?
- When and how often does your council meet? Are the meetings livestreamed?
- Where are the meeting agendas/ minutes and livestreams archived?
You will need to familiarize yourself with the key issues discussed in the previous term of council
Examples of City vs Regional Responsibilities
- Snow removal
- Fire safety
- Public transit
- Traffic management systems and traffic light synchronization
- Parks & Rec including community centers, libraries, Museums ..etc
- City Roads (highways and Some major arterial roads fall under provincial jurisdiction)
- Water/ Waste Water
- Waste Management
- Low Income housing
About Your City
Does your city have a strategic plan?
If yes, this plan should be available on your city’s website. You need to familiarize yourself with the plan and decide whether you are aligned with it (some of your talking points could be in support or opposition of some elements of the plan).
- Property Taxes,
- Gas Tax reimbursements from the province,
- Bylaw infraction fines
- Provincial and Federal funding programs
Largest Ticket items
- Capital Projects & Maintenance,
- Fire Department,
- Public Transit
Other Key Facts About City Financing
- No deficit spending is allowed in city planning (the budget has to balance itself 😉)
- Find out how the Gas Taxes are distributed and spent in your city
Visit your city's website to learn about the budget over the last term of council