The rising price of fuel is causing concerns for rural municipalites. This week the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities is calling for relief from the rising costs associated.
“The cost of fuel has never been higher, and the ripple effect of high prices is exceptionally frustrating for rural municipalities, the increased cost of fuel directly impacts a municipalities' day-to-day operations as well as their budgets,” Ray Orb, President of SARM said in a release.
The speed of fuel inflation has left RMs scrambling and adjusting their budgets to cover the large additional cost of successfully running an RM.
Operating a rural municipality budget includes sourcing contractors for road maintenance and repair, ditch mowing, and bridge repair. In unison, an RM needs to account for their own fuel budget, and for the equipment they use daily and year-round.
This sentiment is echoed by administrators.
“Every RM has at least two graders, alongside backhoes, gravel trucks, and front-end loaders that use substantial amounts of fuel. In the RM of Redburn we use six machines that run every day for seven months of the year, and two machines that run all year round. Looking at our upcoming budget, it’s hard to see the price of fuel to run these machines increase by fifty percent. It’s not easy for RMs to juggle this cost,” Guy Lagrandeur Administrator for the RM of Redburn explained.
Many RM’s are finding themselves in a tight position with their operating costs, alongside the contracted jobs that are trying to recoup the increased fuel costs through surcharges tied to cost escalation. The practice, whether warranted and appropriate or not, can result in disputes, claims, and delayed start times.
“With a short season for maintenance work and projects to be completed in our rural areas, having quoted costs drastically increase and the clock ticking for work to get underway, local RM’s are feeling the pinch in their operating budgets,” Orb added.
The future of fuel prices doesn’t look promising for any reprieve from these high prices and they need to find support to offset this fast inflation.
SARM supports their members and colleagues at Rural Municipal Administrators’ Association (RMAA) as they juggle their budgets and frustration over the rising fuel costs and little to no support from our provincial and federal governments.
SARM has heard the frustration of our members and colleagues at RMAA and will lobby our provincial and federal government to do better on their pledge to address the rising fuel costs.
SARM is listening to our members and colleagues at RMAA, we continue to be the voice for rural Saskatchewan and will lobby for support from our provincial and federal governments to help offset the surging fuel costs and the drastic implications it will have for rural Saskatchewan.
Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald