What services do municipalities provide?
Municipal governments provide services, facilities and amenities that enhance their communities. They also strive to develop communities that are safe and viable for all the people and businesses that call Alberta home.
Services provided by municipalities
Municipal councils choose the services they provide to their citizens, and the level of service may evolve with a municipality’s needs. With the exception of road maintenance, the Municipal Government Act (MGA) does not specify what services must be provided by municipalities.
Municipal services are typically divided into two categories: hard services (water, wastewater, solid waste management, etc.) and soft services (recreation, fire protection, cultural services, etc.). They differ from community to community, and between urban and rural areas. However, there are some services generally provided by most municipalities, including:
- Snow plowing services
- Water delivery services
- Firefighting services
- Park maintenance services
Other levels of government (provincial and federal) are responsible for other services such as health care, education, military, etc.
Shared services between neighbouring municipalities
Municipalities may share services by partnering to create a regional services commission. A regional services commission is a non-profit corporate entity through which municipalities partner to provide services regionally. These commissions consist of at least two municipal entities and can include First Nations reserves, Métis Settlements or armed forces bases. Regional services commissions may provide a variety of services, including:
- Water and wastewater management
- Waste management
- Emergency services
- Transit services
- Land-use planning and assessment
Municipally controlled corporations may also help deliver services. Controlled corporations are for-profit corporations, with the municipality (or group of municipalities) holding more than 50 per cent of the votes in electing directors of the corporation. A controlled corporation may be formed to provide services like water and waste management, electricity and gas distribution.
To deliver the programs and services their residents enjoy, municipalities must have sources of revenue. Learn about how municipalities are funded.