A provincial reeve says the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) missed an opportunity at its recent convention to begin the conversation on how to modernize its governance.
"We feel it's time that SARM take leadership and we do our part because things are changing," said Corey Senft of Lipton RM 217.
Senft's RM presented a resolution at last week's annual convention encouraging a move toward consolidation. It proposed that SARM "support the provincial government's transformational change effort and immediately put a plan of action in place province-wide to direct local governments to consolidate in a similar manner as other Saskatchewan service industries are doing."
The resolution was defeated by 93 per cent.
"You know, it's been 100 years or more that municipalities have operated like this. And it may have worked in its day but with the changing world, the rural is changing, the population is declining and if we don't adapt to that change, I really don't know what's going to happen," Senft said.
Senft says RMs need to find new ways to address the challenge of a lower population, because they can't keep raising the mill rate.
Reducing governance and administration, Senft said, is one such alternative, arguing that there are ways that money can be saved by being more efficient.
He went as far as to say that the current system benefits councillors more than ratepayers.
Senft says even though his resolution was defeated, he hopes the association starts to examine the direction other provinces have taken to learn about what can work best for Saskatchewan.