Should municipal councils be tasked with a four-year mandate, rather than the current three-year term?
That’s the question being asked of Yukoners as part of a survey recently launched by the Yukon government.
The territory launched the survey Sept. 1 with a deadline of Sept. 28 for residents to get their answers in.
The survey comes from a resolution of the Association of Yukon Communities (AYC), which is made up of municipal councils and local advisory committees from around the territory, earlier this year requesting the territory extend the term of office for municipal councils, from the current three years to four before the next municipal elections are held in 2024.
As AYC president Ted Laking pointed out, the territory has grown in recent years and, with that, so have the issues, challenges and expectations facing communities.
“Increasing the length of term for municipal governments to four years will allow them to better address these challenges and deliver on these expectations for the direct benefit of our citizens,” he said. “Extending the term will also have the added benefit of saving taxpayers money by reducing the frequency of costly elections.”
The Yukon and Northwest Territories are the only jurisdictions in the country with three-year terms of office for municipal governments. All others run on a four-year cycle.
In the Yukon, the Municipal Act governs municipal governments, including local advisory councils, with any changes to the term of office requiring public engagement before amendments are made to the legislation.
“Earlier this spring, we signed a renewed partnership agreement with the Association of Yukon Communities and at their annual general meeting, they reached a decision to request that the term of office for municipal councils be extended from three to four years,” Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn said. “I encourage Yukoners to share their thoughts and help us gain a clear understanding of what Yukon voters think of this possible extension.”
The online survey is available online. Paper copies are available at municipal offices, community libraries and in the lobby of the Jim Smith Building at 2071 2nd Avenue in Whitehorse. The surveys can be mailed back in the self-addressed envelopes provided with the paper copies by Sept. 28.
A “what we heard” summary document will be produced out of the feedback received.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at firstname.lastname@example.org