NOTES & MINUTES
Division 5 Director, Murray Purcell called the meeting to order, introduction and welcome to invited guests, department officials, SARM staff and Councillors, Reeves, Administrators in attendance.
Murray Purcell Director’s Report on Committees & Issues
- Education Tax Issues, Approximately ½ R.M.’s supported Coalition and withheld education tax, Premier’s Announcement in Birch Hills in March 2006 – education tax credit increased for agriculture lands to 38%
- Municipalities Act in effect January 1, 2006
- Planning & Development Act streamlined for introduction in the Fall of 2006
- Clearing the Path- working with SUMA to move forward on transportation and economic development for Saskatchewan Regions
- Nuclear Forum in Regina in January 2006 – exploring future of Nuclear Development
- Saskatchewan Continuing Development, ACAF, review innovation projects for agriculture development
- North Central Transportation Planning – workshops for municipal bridges – CD available at no cost for members
- Policing – Increased costs for Rural Policing – meeting with Minister of Justice – favorable reception to concept of sharing fine revenues – as the R.M.’s cost of policing increases – they should also share in revenues
- SARM Board trip to Ottawa to meet with Lobby Group – and officials from federal departments(Environment, Oceans & Fisheries)
President Dave Marit, thanked dignitaries for attending June Meetings, Report on Activities
- Ottawa Lobby Trip – Met with Minister Strahl , Saskatchewan Ethanol Council & discussion about producers taking equity in ethanol plants, need to move producers up the value chain, producer position is for 51% ownership by producers – a tough sell to FCM, Financial Institutions, Private Enterprise. Biofuel industry proceeding-working for different positions to increase income for producers – smaller facilities in smaller communities to produce viable/stronger communities & spread out impact on infrastructure.
- Education Tax Coalition – 40% not working in all parts of province – SARM staying with Coalition providing Coalition work with SARM to address education tax on all properties
- Proposal for change in Municipalities legislation – regulate discounts & penalties – if discount & penalties to be regulated for municipalities, should also apply to Cities Act. Monthly financial reporting of School Tax Collections – R.M.’s okay with proposal. SARM does not support province’s ability to garnishee municipal bank accounts – may not stay at table if this continues
- Municipal Government & SARM Relationship very good – Honorable Van Mulligen very supportive & working on issue of Channel Clearing Assistance
- CTC – continuing work to find ways to advance needs of producers
- Veterinary Standards – a concern for small clinics & how to keep clinics open if they have to meet standards
Richard Porter, Clearing the Path – Transportation Chair
- Secondary Weight Limits, Primary Haul Corridor, Permit Fees to be revenue neutral – feedback from municipalities is key to designing logical primary haul corridor – Schedule for deliverance – Important to look at for Council perspective, not individual perspective. Color maps to be mailed to municipalities for review & comments within next few weeks.
Request from R.M. Blucher – That with the aging infrastructure, municipal resources are lacking Department of Highways Engineers with Municipal Focus – perhaps Clearing the Path could explore and submit recommendation to department.
Andrew Liu, Department of Highways and Transportation, Primary Weight Expansion Program
- Summarized key issues and reason for change – higher weight announcement in June 2006. Phase 1 of the plan – implement 9 month primary – 3 month secondary on expanded weight program. There will be no 15 km extension allowed. Monitor for 9 months – may increase to 12 months. Estimate truck haul savings of 16 million per year. Long term plan to upgrade additional network to allow primary weights. Department of Highways & Transportation to continue to work with SARM/SUMA on Clearing the Path initiative to coordinate primary weight routes on provincial & municipal road system
AL Abraham & Dale Harvey, LoadTrak Vehicle Tracking System Program
- 24 hour , 7 day a week tracking/reporting for vehicle/equipment. Pilot project in R.M.s Edenwold, Eldon & Wilton with very positive results. Capable of providing real time tracking, location, history speed monitoring, daily distance. Municipal benefits include reducing liability, reduce costs, improve productivity, simplified cost calculations, operator recording (maps & markers) no longer required. Costs approximately $900.00 per basic unit plus $60.00 access fee per month.
Honorable Harry Van Mulligan, Minister of Government Relations
- Municipalities Act – provides municipalities more autonomy & authority & assurances of accountability, relationships being redefined.
- Federal Budget – should be positive, maintain gas tax funding, working to determine how new money can be allocated. Sensitive to how federal funds be spent on municipal level.
- Provincial Budget – Strong, reduction in business taxes, Education Tax Credit increased for Agriculture lands, maintained for other properties. Increased unconditional grants – Builds economic strength of province.
- Equalization – Saskatchewan fighting uphill battle with Ottawa – concern being revenues from non renewable resources would be included for eligibility, prior to 1982, Saskatchewan kept 72% of resources before determining eligibility, since 1982, Saskatchewan kept 10% of resources before determining eligibility.
Request from R.M. Garden River – Spring disaster area for roads and bridges, Oceans & Fisheries requirements very costly to comply with repairs/replacement.
Response – Federal & Provincial Governments need to have better responsibility of who has say – should have better relationships. For immediate issues, correspondence has been forwarded to Oceans & Fisheries & Navigable Waters to ensure staff is available to have resolution to issues.
Wayne Black, Director, Saskatchewan Municipal Hail
- Summary of risk, coverage available. Promoted Council’s understanding of administrators’ time to promote municipal and additional hail to ratepayers.
- Reported on agriculture conditions - late seeding, wet areas, flooding, unseeded areas extend throughout north east.
Robert Stedwill, Saskatchewan Power
- New generation programs to meet load growth, refurbish mid-life generation, 2/3 of current system must be refurbished in next 20 years. Saskatchewan customers – 3 per kilometer of line compared to Ontario’s 12 per line results in high cost per consumer. Overviewed strategies for supply of power ranging from wind, polygeneration, to Nuclear Options. Goal is to strike the right balance to deliver power in safe, reliable, cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner.
Response to Questions: Sask. Power supports private enterprise to produce power – Power is bought & sold to recover costs and maintain infrastructure. Sun & Wind power is not reliable, dependent on elements – requires back-up. Every available source of power is being considered.
Laurel Feltin, SARM Director of Agriculture Policy
- CAIS Program Changes – Overpayment repayment extended to January 1, 2007. Deadline to apply for 2005 CAIS extended to Sept 30, 2006, CAIS Inventory Transition Initiatives – retroactive to 2003, 2004, 2005, Expanded Criteria for Negative Margin Coverage for 2005 and 2006
- Cover Crop Protection Program - $15 per acre payment for spring flood damage
- Enhancements to Spring Cash Advance Program
- Specified Risk Material Disposal Sites – federal funding available for building sites in Sask.
- Clearing the Path – 8 workshops 961 people attending – see SARM website for full report . SARM/SUMA working for federal funding to hire two consultants to provide more localized workshops & act as resource people for Clearing the Path
- National Biofuels Strategy-Minister Strahl met with farmers – demonstrated commitment
Ken Engel, SARM Program Changes
- SARM Property Insurance – only property owned by R.M. can be covered by SARM insurance, Public and Recreation Building inspections commencing in July. Municipalities being requested to report recreation and public facilities for insurance coverage. Eventually, workshops and offices will be inspected. Costs of inspection - $500.00 for one property every 5 years, $150.00 for each additional building. Revenue will go into fund for payment of inspectors. Inspections will classify deficiencies by critical, important and desirable ratings. Municipalities will be required to repair Critical deficiencies within 30-60 days of notification.
- Liability Insurance – begin inspections January 1, 2007, one inspection can cover both property & liability insurance when SARM has both policies.
- Disability Plan Coverage – Follow-up to Convention Resolution asking for coverage for officials over 65 , coverage must be extended for employees over 65. Statistics confirm the number of claims increase with age. The cost of premium will increase with the number of claims.
RM ROSTHERN No. 403
That solid-frame trucks with a single axle at the front and triple axles at the back be permitted on Saskatchewan roads.
RM BIG RIVER No. 555
Whereas economic development in our province is dependent on road infrastructure to facilitate the receiving of supplies, the shipping of goods and the travel to and from the area by the workers, and;
Whereas the proposed huge expansion of resource development in the North West will depend heavily on a connection to the province’s primary highway system,
Therefore be it resolved that SARM promote the inclusion of Highway No. 155 from Green Lake to Laloche in the Primary Highway System.
Conclusion – Two Door Prize Draws (SARM Golf Shirts)
ADJOURNMENT (3:00 P.M.) RM WREFORD No. 280