So far, there is a range of local issues and broader issues that will be brought forward at the upcoming Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) convention.
“It’s a good opportunity to meet your peers from around the province and have some discussions on issues they’re dealing with and how they’re dealing with it,” said Mayor Deb Higgins. “Many of us are dealing with pretty similar issues. Infrastructure, cost of infrastructure, providing services, updating services and infrastructure are pretty common across the province.”
The convention is being held from Feb. 3 to 6 at TCU Place in Saskatoon. She said as of last week, she, Coun. Candis Kirkpatrick and Coun. Dawn Luhning were going to attend the convention. Higgins said as the convention dates approach, more resolutions will be brought forward.
“There has been a discussion about putting forward a resolution speaking to the issue of the municipal operating grant (MOG) and the discussions that are going on right now between SUMA and SARM (Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities) about the review of the formula for the distribution of the municipal operating grant,” said Higgins. “I expect that there will be a fair bit of discussion at the convention.”
The MOG is revenue-sharing from the provincial government. The formula is for the distribution of the grant given back to municipalities. Currently the formula is one point on PST. During the council meeting on Dec. 17, Higgins said at the mayors’ caucus at the beginning of December, city mayors endorsed a motion to move toward a per capita distribution of the funds to deal with infrastructure.
Another resolution put forward is to make the rates of commercial percentage of value and education mill rates comparable to agricultural and residential rates. The reason behind it is because commercial properties provide employment and services to the province.
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.