Yellowhead County was formed when the province of Alberta was in its down-sizing phase in the mid-1990s. Yellowhead County was formerly the Improvement District of Yellowhead No. 14. With an Improvement District status, the Council that was elected in ID No. 14 was advisory to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The Minister of Municipal Affairs had the final decision-making powers on many issues from the spending of funds, to governance issues, to hiring of staff. As an Improvement District and a part of the Provincial Government, ID No. 14 was also supported by such municipal entities as the Personnel Office, The Trust Accounting Division, Assessment Services Branch, and Alberta Transportation.
When ID No. 14 became incorporated as a municipal corporation on January 1, 1994, the new municipal corporation was called “Municipal District of Yellowhead No. 94”. Upon incorporation of the municipality changes occurred as follows:
The Council became the final authority on almost all matters; the municipal corporation was no longer subject to the policies of the Provincial Government concerning spending of funds, governance issues, or hiring of staff and had to develop its own policies and programs and incorporate new duties into existing staff’s job descriptions; the municipal corporation became responsible for its own assessments for taxation purposes and became responsible for the construction and maintenance of all local roads in the municipality (excluding primary and secondary highways which remained the Province’s responsibility); the primary distinction between an improvement district and a municipal district is the responsibility for roads. As Council will see in the budget meetings, the cost for roads makes up between 66% and 75% of the County’s budget, depending on the number of road projects to be completed in a year.
The Municipal District of Yellowhead No. 94 existed for 4 years. A trend was starting in the Province of Alberta where “Municipal Districts” were changing their names to “County’s”. Many Municipal Districts in the Province found that outside of the municipal sector, most people did not know what a Municipal District was and found themselves explaining that it was the same as a County. The provincial legislation has also changed and allowed Municipalities to name themselves. In July of 1998, the Municipal District of Yellowhead No. 94 became Yellowhead County.
The next significant change for Yellowhead County happened almost simultaneously in that the Village of Evansburg disincorporated and became the Hamlet of Evansburg. This meant that the Council for the Village of Evansburg dissolved, the staff for the Village of Evansburg were served notice, and Yellowhead County was now in charge of the Hamlet of Evansburg. The Hamlet became part of Electoral Division No.1 in Yellowhead County and was represented by one County Councillor. The assets, liabilities, litigation outstanding, the agreements in place and the bylaws passed by the Village became those of Yellowhead County.