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Effort to cut number of town councillors in Bowden fails

Mayor cast lone vote in favour; one councillor says there's too much work to divide among five councillors

BOWDEN — If mayor Robb Stuart had his way, voters in this fall’s municipal election would be electing a five-member council instead of the current seven-member council. 

The election is slated for Oct. 18. 

One councillor says there’s too much work for them to do to foist all their duties among fewer people. 

Late last year, a bylaw which would reduce the number of councillors (including the mayor) to five came up for first reading, but it was soundly defeated. 

That was the end of that.  

Stuart cast the lone vote in favour of the idea. 

Several Alberta communities have cut the number of councillors in their communities or looked at doing so as a way to save money. 

“The minimum amount saved would be $800 a month,” Stuart said in an email. 

He noted that Three Hills town council voted last summer to cut its councillors from seven to five. 

Mayorthorpe is another community that looked at doing so. 

Its mayor, Janet Jabush, said by doing that, their town could save $22,000 to $35,000 in council honouraria, meeting per diems and other expenses. 

“It didn’t get first reading so it’s not going to change for the election now. You had to have it done by the end of December,” Stuart said.  

Bowden Coun. Wayne Milaney says as it is, councillors are extremely busy with council work and volunteerism. He indicated that to spread that workload among fewer councillors is just too much to ask. 

Milaney said currently, each member of Bowden town council sits on three or four committees, plus volunteers in various ways in the community. 

"People who volunteer their time, volunteer their time, but if we had (fewer) councillors, we couldn’t cover what we need to cover to keep our community as safe and robust as it is,” Milaney said during an interview. 

"With me and several of our councillors, we’ve got to go to work every day. So you can’t go to those meetings and neglect your business because pretty soon your business will fail, right?”

Doug Collie

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