Sask. RMs focus on working together as delegates gather at SARM convention

Fine revenue could bolster rural policing, says SARM president

Rural governments in Saskatchewan will be talking about how they can better work together to traverse the province's economic downturn as the association holds its annual convention in Saskatoon.

"We think we need to demonstrate to the province how we can work, how we are working together, but how we can also work together more in the future," Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities said ahead of the convention.

"And I'm talking about within the next one or two years."

Orb said he will be speaking to that idea during his president's address Tuesday morning, which precedes the address from Premier Brad Wall.

"We're going to have to work together to show that we can operate, perhaps on less money. The only alternative is to raise the mill rate."

And Orb acknowledged that, in some areas of the province, doing so could cause a lot of duress for producers.

Orb also acknowledged that the association realizes there will be a drop in revenue sharing due to the economy.

There are a lot of ways, the president said, that RMs already work together and share services. He said there are more opportunities to do so when it comes to transportation, common roads, equipment or even office staff and labourers.

Resolutions and discussions

Tuesday's agenda also includes resolutions from members. One proposes that SARM "[supports] the provincial government's transformational change effort and immediately [puts] 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."

Other discussions include the increasing coyote population, proposing a fine for grain dumping, repealing new Water Security Agency regulations, adding a fee to hunting licenses to cover the cost of damage to roads by hunters, and requesting three-way calling for 911 and paramedics on rural calls.

Delegates will begin arriving in Saskatoon Monday night for registration. The convention runs through Thursday.