Premier Scott Moe promises more money for Sask. municipalities

Premier Scott Moe says towns and cities across the province will receive a record amount of revenue sharing from the province this year.

Speaking to the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), Moe announced urban areas will receive $278 million in 2020-21, an increase of $27 million from last year.

"This massive increase in revenue sharing tells you all you need to know about why we continue to be so committed to growth," said Moe. "Revenue has grown ... because our economy has grown."

The municipal revenue-sharing formula was reviewed by the province in 2018. At that time, revenue sharing dropped to approximately $241 million, a decline of about $16 million from 2017.

"These decisions, they were necessary," said Moe. "It put us on a path that means that we will balance the budget this year. A path that means we will balance the budget next year."

Municipalities receive revenue sharing as a percentage of the PST. Towns and cities receive 0.75 per cent of the Provincial Sales Tax from the second preceding year.

Building Sustainable Hometowns

This week, mayors and councillors from across Saskatchewan will be focusing on everything from emergency preparedness to waste reduction at this year's SUMA convention.

The annual convention is designed to bring civic administrators  from across the province to talk about issues challenging municipalities and to talk about successes.

This year's convention theme is Building Sustainable Hometowns, and will focus on preparing municipalities for the future.

Later in the week, civic administrators will be able to ask questions from the premier and cabinet ministers at the annual bear pit session.

SUMA delegates will also bring forward resolutions that outline specific policy directions that mayors and councillors want to see addressed.

Some of the resolutions to be voted on are:

Merging SUMA and SARM

One of the resolutions deals with a proposed merger between SUMA and the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, which advocates for rural areas in the province. The resolution says there is an opportunity to reduce costs and for the groups to avoid competing with each other in the future.

PST on Municipal Construction Projects

Another resolution calls for the provincial government to remove provincial sales tax on any construction project run by municipal governments. The motion says ratepayers are responsible for funding any additional PST on projects that have already been approved for federal and provincial funding.

Climate Change Action Centre

Another resolution calls for the adoption for a Municipal Climate Change Action Centre that would be funded by the province and would give money to small municipal projects to reduce carbon and deal with the effects of climate change.