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Emerson and Franklin plan merger

By: Chris Gareau

Posted: 04/24/2014 7:00 AM

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It might not be the most original name for such an historic event, but if the merger is approved by the province, come Jan. 1 the Town of Emerson and the RM of Franklin will be known as the municipality of Emerson-Franklin.

The two municipalities have agreed to merge after a court challenge by the Association of Manitoba Municipalities to keep municipalities like Emerson was defeated in March. Franklin’s reeve Greg Janzen and Emerson’s mayor Wayne Arseny both expressed optimism about the benefits of the merger, though Arseny was still a bit sore at the loss of Emerson’s independence. In a release, Arseny described the sinking of the border town along the Red River:

"Feels like this community was downed by friendly fire as the term goes. A torpedo fired by your own ally," he wrote about the provincial government. "We tried every maneuver possible to avoid being hit."

Along with five councillors from Franklin, there will be two from Emerson. Emerson would also continue to use its municipal office as the headquarters of a new Local Urban District or LUD with three elected members that would control most of the spending within its boundaries. Janzen does not expect any municipal staff to lose their jobs. With the number of elected councillors and LUD members at seven and three, the only extra position is at the top. Either the mayor of Emerson or the reeve of Franklin would not have a job after the October municipal elections.

 

Emerson Mayor Wayne Arseny's full press release:

 

Emerson-  downed  by  Amalgamation

We are merging with Franklin  says  Emerson Mayor Wayne Arseny.   Feels like this community was downed by friendly fire as the term goes.   A torpedo fired by your own ally, in this case being the Prov. Govt.  We tried every maneuver possible  to  avoid being hit.  Our  town disappearing is a loss of  a very strong voice and supporter of Emerson’s key role as Manitoba’s  southern gateway to Manitoba.  Not only  the Centreport  Trade corridor portal significance, but a location a lot of Manitobans who frequent going to the US also look to this port of entry as a place  they want to see service development and conveniences.  Emerson’s voice and visibility was essential  for that to happen.

Min Struthers direction was firm… pick your partner now or I will do it for you.  This is a time to not complain only,  our ship has sunk we are now on a life raft with our neighboring municipality  and it’s the future ahead we have to think of.   The Emerson/Franklin Municipality is the new name, main office of governance will be in Dominion City; we will retain a satellite office for day to day operations.  We become an LUD with 3 local elected representatives to set budgets for the town.   Two councilors will represent Emerson with 5 from Franklin; Reeve elected at large for a total of 8.  Town equipment, fire-dept, staff should remain unchanged.  It will take month s and possibly years to make all the adjustments; but I want to look at this optimistically …both municipalities and all its residents  have to look at this is a first new step to a long standing benefit.  It’s not a matter of who lost what.. it’s a need to now see growth as a priority, maintaining our services and roads, and supporting our businesses.

 

Wayne Arseny

Mayor   Town of Emerson

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