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COUNTY OF MOUNTAIN VIEW NO. 17 - Excerpts taken from the "Story of Rural Municipal Government in Alberta 1909 to1983" by the Association of the Municipal Districts and Counties
Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Darlene Homme
The present area of the County of Mountain View consisted of five small municipal districts and an improvement district (l.D.) prior to 1944.
In 1944 the municipal districts of Beaver Dam, Mountain View, Rosebud and Westerdale amalgamated to form the large M.D. of Mountain View No. 49. In 1955 the M.D. of Waterloo and a portion of l.D. No.50 were added to the enlarged district.
The small school districts in the area were amalgamated, and the Olds School Division No. 31 was established in 1939. The last school district to join the Division was OIds S.D. No. 235 in January, 1959.
In 1955 the boundaries of the M.D., and the school division were made co-terminous and a joint administration of school and municipal affairs was set up in 1961 under the Alberta county system of local government. The new county office, officially opened in October of 1962, is located in Didsbury, the geographic centre of the area.
The county is now governed by a seven-man council under the leadership of an annually elected reeve; for educational purposes the count y council is augmented by eight elected representatives from the five urban centres within the county boundaries - Olds, Didsbury, Sundre, Carstairs and Cremona.
The Council is responsible for a municipal budget, in excess of ten million dollars (1982) annually, while the educational budget, in excess of thirteen million dollars (1982) annually, is administered by the Board of Education.
The public works department consists of a) a road building crew, b) a gravel crew c) a base course crew, d) a road oiling crew, e) a labour crew,and f) road maintenance personnel. This department is responsible for maintenance and snow plowing of 2,150 miles of county roads, and the construction or reconstruction of approximately sixteen to twenty miles of road each year. In the centennial year, the county embarked on an oiling and surfacing program and completed some sixty miles of surfacing with a county surfacing crew.
Of the one hundred and twenty-three miles of provincial highway within the county boundaries, one hundred and seven miles are paved, with the balance being graveled roads.
The county police force consists of a chief and a number of part time assistants. In addition, three detachments serve the towns and rural areas. The county police department is also responsible for welfare cases.
Health services in the county are excellent. Two general hospitals serve the county-the forty-one bed Olds Hospital and the thirty-five bed Didsbury Hospital. In addition, Didsbury has a fifty-bed auxiliary hospital (1964).
The Mount View Health Unit, with offices at Didsbury, serves the entire county area and is of particular benefit to the schools. Nurses make regular rounds to each of the schools and centres to ensure the health of our citizens. The county council has majority representation on the general hospital boards and is also represented on the health unit board and auxiliary hospital board and the Mount View Lodge for the Aged.
The county is well known in Alberta for its activities in civil defence. The civil defence unit embraces the Towns of OIds, Didsbury, Carstairs and
Sundre, and the Village of Cremona, as well as the rural county area. The co-ordinator of civil defence has over four hundred volunteers organized into an effective emergency force. As of 1965, the county civil defence organization is the only rural unit in western Canada with a fully equipped radiation monitoring section. A small mobile hospital is available for multiple casualty accidents, as well as defence emergencies. Since the county is a reception area for the City of Calgary, provision for extra hospital facilities has been made.
Supplies and equipment for a two hundred bed emergency hospital are stored in a two-storey brick structure near the Didsbury High School. The structure will be used as an emergency hospital should the need ever arise.
The entire county administration is tied together by short wave mobile radio communications. The parks department is responsible for a number of parks and picnic areas.
The county is a member of the Red Deer Regional Planning Commission and has been active in planning since 1955. A building and zoning officer is employed to issue routine permits and to advise council on special permits for development and rezoning and subdivision. All subdivisions are subject to approval by the regional commission.
The county assessment reflects the effect of the oil industry. Land assessment increased from $11,300,000. in 1958-65 to $16,031,590 in 1967, to $166,370,390. in 1983. Improvement assessments rose from $365,845 in 1958 to $12,747,400. in 1967, to $136,966,170 in 1983.
The county assessor is responsible for all assessment changes during the year but in the case of a general assessment, a four to six man crew is employed to re-assess all properties on the roll. Such a general assessment, based on 1957 values, began in the County of Mountain View in 1964 for use in the tax billing in 1967.
The administration of local government in the county area has been modernized since the county system of government was introduced in the area in 1961. A modern cost accounting system and a system of controls on purchases, as well as a considerable increase in research by central administration staff contribute to the efficiency of local government operations.
The county system has placed additional burdens on elected representatives which can only be partially relieved by using the services of experts and advisors. More than ever, the caliber of the elected representative is important in the maintenance of effective and efficient democratic government at the local level.
The County of Mountain View has been blessed with an enviable past, unrecorded though most of it may be, and as we go forward to our second century, let us all hope and pray that our sons and daughters and their sons and daughters will, in God's good time, accomplish as much and be permitted to live the good life in peace and prosperity.