Thinking about becoming a candidate for council in your Rural Community? March 10, 2014 Overview 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. What are the steps to considering and establishing a RC? Description of the new RC What is local government about? Why should I participate in local government? Should I be a candidate in the local election? I’m elected…now what? How do I get ready – what’s the process? Next steps What are the steps to considering and establishing a RC? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Letter of interest to the Minister (ELG only works with interested communities) Initial assessment Petition to the Minister for a feasibility study Feasibility study Measurement of local support (plebiscite in unincorporated areas and council resolution in villages, towns - no forced amalgamations) What are the steps to considering and establishing a RC? (con’t) 6. If there is sufficient local support, the Minister makes a recommendation to Cabinet to establish a Rural Community 7. Approval from Cabinet – incorporation of Rural Community 8. Election of first council 9. Training of newly elected Mayor and Councillors Description of the new RC of Cocagne • Population of 2,545 property tax base of $170 M • Two wards • Council of five members, including two councillors elected from each ward, and the mayor elected at large • RC responsible for land use planning, emergency measures, and administrative services • GNB responsible for road maintenance, police protection, fire protection, street lighting, recreational and community facilities, dog control, and garbage collection and disposal • Date of the first election: May 12, 2014 • Incorporation date: May 23, 2014 • Date for taking the oath of office and first meeting of council – May 28, 2014 What is Local Government about? Roles of Local Government: * • The political or governing role: Making decisions / choices with limited resources • The administrative / service delivery role: Providing a variety of local services to citizens through various methods * Grassroots Democracy, Local Government in the Maritimes, Kell Antoft et Jack Novack, 1998, pp. 75 et 76, Also taken from Local Government in Canada, C. Richard Tindal et Susan Nobes Tindal, 2004, p. 67 What is Local Government about? The local government also serves as: • A mechanism to allow the population of a community to express itself, to debate and to resolve issues of local concern • A means for citizens to choose representatives who will make decisions that reflect their perspectives and concerns. Why should I participate in local government? Reasons vary from one person to another: • Opportunity to contribute to the community • Opportunity to make a difference • Influence and make changes that will benefit the community • Involvement in particular challenges / issues • Providing leadership and taking action • Work with people, programs and services • Broadening your voluntary experience Should I be a candidate in the local election? To be a member of council, you need to: • Engagement …time and energy • Willingness to listen and provide your opinion • Willingness to learn • Willingness and ability to work as part of a team • Willingness to make difficult decisions • Stay in contact with the community • Willingness to hear and accept other points of view • Accept decisions made by the council • Understand that you can’t please everyone Should I be a candidate in the local election? The potential benefits… • Opportunities to bring about positive changes • Sense of satisfaction in serving the community • Opportunity to take on new challenges, to learn about local government and what it can do for the community • Opportunities to present suggestions, to discuss these and to possibly see action taken on these suggestions Should I be a candidate in the local election? Role of Governance • Development of policies – level of service, adoption of bylaws (procedural by-law and other by-laws) • Public meetings Provision of services • Emergency measures • Fire protection • Policing • Local road maintenance • Garbage collection • Water and wastewater • Recreation I’m elected – now what? General role of councillor… • Consider the well-being and the interests of the whole community in making decisions • Bring issues and ideas to the attention of council that may contribute to the well-being and interests of the whole community • Participate in the development and evaluation of programs and policies of the local government • Participate in council meetings, council committees and to other organizations to which the council has appointed a councillor • Take on other functions as specified in the legislation or that are determined by the council I’m Elected – now what? General role of the mayor… • Chair all meetings of council • Provide a leadership role within council • Serve as spokesperson for the local government • Meetings of the Regional Service Commission Board • Take on other functions conferred on the mayor by the legislation and the council I’m Elected – now what? Mayor and Councillor (Council) … • Both are members of council and all members vote on decisions taken by council • Council must focus on mandate and ensure that decisions serve the local government’s best interests • Council should see itself as a TEAM and work for the betterment of the community I’m Elected – now what? How much time will be required to fulfill my duties as councillor or mayor? • On average, four to six hours per week (and more for the mayor) in small municipalities and rural communities • Possibly more time in the larger communities • May require more time at beginning of mandate • Depends largely on issues being dealt with as well as the willingness to participate and put in the time I’m Elected – now what? How much time will be required to fulfill my duties as councillor or mayor? Frequency of meetings: • Willingness to participate in activities, files and programs… how much time are you ready to provide? • Number of nominations to committees or to the Regional Service Commission (mayor only) • Number of files being handled by the local government and their complexity (may vary from day to day, week to week) • Engagement of citizens in local issues I’m Elected – now what? How many and what types of meetings are there in local government? • Regular meetings of council • Special and emergency meetings of council as required • Committee meetings • Meetings with citizens and business community • Other committees and organizations I’m Elected – now what? As a member of council what are some of the typical points that will be discussed and for which decisions will be required? • Financial questions (budget and tax rate, infrastructure and borrowing, tendering and warding contracts, overseeing finances) • Service issues (police, fire, recreation, etc.) • By-laws (new ones, adjustments, enforcement • Planning (municipal / rural community plan, zoning) • Overseeing administration • May other issues I’m elected – now what? What does the typical week look like for a member of council? • Prepare and read the information prior to council meetings • Discuss issues with citizens and the business community • Attend public meetings to discuss local issues • Attend various functions associated with the local government • Participate in committee work and associated meetings I’m elected – now what? Do I get paid for being a member of council? • Normally, mayors and councillors receive honorariums and this amount is specified in the local government’s by-law. The amounts vary from one local government to another • The expenditures incurred by members of council in carrying out their duties are normally reimbursed. I’m elected – now what? How will my life change if I am elected as a councillor? • You will be busier • People will want to talk to you and provide their opinions • You will have to make decisions that are not always easy • You have to think about what is good for the whole community Support for new council Environment and Local Government staff work with newly elected council … you are not alone • Training for new council and staff members • Work with staff in preparation of adopting necessary bylaws and policies, opening bank account, etc • Provide necessary support to council and staff as required Elections New Brunswick How do I get ready – what’s the process? How do I get ready – what’s the process? Eligibility criteria to be a candidate: • 18 years old on election day (May 12, 2014); • Canadian citizen; and • Resident of a ward upon nomination; and • Resident in the province and the municipality or rural community at least six months before the election date. Who cannot be a candidate? • A judge; • An employee of the local government; • An employee involved with the election process; or • A person who is not eligible by virtue of municipal, provincial and federal elections statutes. How do I get ready – what’s the process? What are the steps to place your name as a candidate on the ballot? 1. Obtain and complete the nomination papers. 2. Submit completed nomination papers before 2:00 PM on Thursday, April 17, 2014 to the Returning Officer in your region. www.electionsnb.ca How do I get ready – what’s the process? Where can I obtain information if I have questions about the election process? • Elections New Brunswick 1-888-858-VOTE (8683) or web site: www.electionsnb.ca • Returning Officer for the Region: Raoul Leger Where can I obtain and submit my nomination papers? Raoul Leger, Returning Officer Next Steps • Determine what you can do for the community and the reason(s) you want to run for office • Engage with your community – identify the issues, the challenges and the opportunities, speak with citizens • Assess whether you have the time and energy to devote to this voluntary role • Obtain your nomination papers, carefully complete the form and submit it before 2:00 PM on April 17, 2014 Questions?