“Co-operation between municipalities is important for the economic growth for our province,” Jim Reiter minister of government relations explained on June 27.
© Mickey Djuric
Minister of Government Relations, Jim Reiter, attends the grand opening of the Regional Municipal Plaza in Moose Jaw, along with other dignitaries. Times-Herald photo by Mickey Djuric
He was referring, of course, to the new administrative building in Moose Jaw that will be used to conduct business and host a bevy of council meetings.
Known as the Regional Municipality Plaza (RMP), the building, located at 1410 Caribou St. W., will — for the first time in the history of Saskatchewan — see five municipalities share one roof.
Although Reiter and David Marit, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, are among the group applauding the concept of five municipalities in one building, there are still questions that need answering.
First, what will happen to the buildings and/or offices being replaced in the rural municipalities of Baildon, Rodgers, Caron and Hillsborough?
Second, what will be the breakdown of costs each municipality will cover to provide services to ratepayers?
Third, should logistical issues arise, how will they be dealt with?
On paper, ratepayers, who for your years had to go to multiple municipalities to take care of their affairs, will now have the ability to take them to a centralized location. But, for example, farmers whose trek to the nearby rural municipality will now require further more travel to make sure their affairs are in order might not be the biggest fans of the RMP.
Marit was correct when he said of the RMP, “This is cutting edge.” However, until all of the kinks are smoothed over, which could take any number of weeks, months, or years, we should question whether or not local governments would be aided by this new initiative.
There is a certain gave and take with this first of its kind arrangement. It exudes warm and fuzzy feelings, but the potential for problems does exist. And until we see firsthand how problems are solved, questions about the efficiency of the RMP will hover overhead.
All editorials are written by the Times-Herald editorial staff.