Budgets and finances are on the minds of delegates at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) annual convention in Saskatoon this week.
Premier Brad Wall will address reeves, councillors and administrators late Tuesday morning. He is expected to talk about Saskatchewan’s financial challenges in advance of next Wednesday’s provincial budget.
SARM President Ray Orb hopes the government will be able to maintain the current municipal revenue sharing formula. It is based on one percentage point of Provincial Sales Tax (PST) revenue and is given to cities, towns, village and rural municipalities for infrastructure.
“It is really on on-going battle to try and keep roads in good condition,” Orb said. “Rural areas are still a big contributor to the economy. We have lots of industries active in the rural areas and that’s where the road damage is.”
- Sask. Premier Brad Wall heads to U.S. Midwest
- Provincial government to contract Saskatchewan-based suppliers to clean government-owned buildings
Orb says a significant change in the revenue sharing formula could lead to higher municipal taxes.
“The only other mode of operating is by raising mill rates. That’s what R.M.’s depend on. They would have to go back to ratepayers to raise the mill rates.”
Other SARM convention highlights include the provincial cabinet bearpit session on Wednesday morning and an address by Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay on Thursday.
More than 30 resolutions are on the table for debate covering issues such as agricultural drainage and the rising coyote population.