Policing costs, ATV registration, cannabis excise tax top list of SUMA resolutions

By Tyler Marr
January 10, 2019 - 2:20pm Updated: January 11, 2019 - 11:35pm

A new funding option to help STARS Air Ambulance, advocating the provincial government to create an ATV registration process and develop and implement a cannabis excise tax sharing agreement with municipalities.

These and other topics will be top of mind as representatives from municipalities across the province descend on the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) Convention in February in Saskatoon.

Each year, resolutions are introduced on the convention floor outlining the top concerns of municipalities across the province. They are presented and discussed among elected officials and created by local lawmakers.

One on the agenda is coming from the Town of Battleford, asking for SUMA to partner with the Saskatchewan All-Terrain Vehicle Association to advocate the provincial government to create an ATV registration process.

If passed, SUMA would approach the provincial government and SGI to propose requirements for ATVs to be licensed and require plates to better hold drivers to account when property is damaged.

This has been discussed at length inside council chambers, as town residents continue to vocalize frustrations with ATVs cutting through their property.

“Today, the only way to enforce it is if a resident or complainant has a video of the ATV and submits it to the RCMP,” Mayor Ames Leslie previously told battlefordsNOW.

He predicts the process would not be dissimilar to how snowmobiles are registered in Saskatchewan.

A resolution to advocate the provincial government to develop and implement a cannabis excise tax sharing agreement is also on the books, backed by the Town of Aberdeen and the SUMA Board of Directors.

Defending the proposal, the resolution states that municipalities are absorbing significant costs as a result of legalization, but are the only level of government unable to draw revenue directly from sales tax.

It adds that while the federal government acknowledged these costs and increased the federal flow-through to provinces from 50 to 75 per cent, with the stated intent that the additional 25 per cent flow to municipalities, “the province has not yet signed an agreement to flow through funding to municipalities, citing that they are, as yet, unaware of their costs and revenues.

“Agreeing to a percentage share of cannabis excise tax doesn’t require an encompassing knowledge of costs and revenues,” the resolution reads.

SUMA members previously urged haste on the province to implement a regime to give municipalities their slice of the cannabis cash pie but to little avail.

The mayor of Prince Albert has been vocal in his calls for cannabis revenues to be shared with municipalities to cover roll-out costs, an idea echoed by mayors across the province.

“I want to make sure that rolling out legalizing marijuana does not cost my taxpayers,” Dionne previously said.

About $43 million was spent across Canada at licence cannabis retailers in the two-week period after legalization, according to Statistics Canada.

La Ronge is backing a pitch for SUMA to lobby the SLGA and Ministry of Finance to implement a five per cent tax on the sale of alcohol and return this money to communities in proportion to liquor sales, or community safety and wellbeing initiatives.

The Town of Shaunavon is bringing forward a resolution regarding STARS Air Ambulance funding, asking SUMA members voluntarily contribute a minimum of $2 per capita per year to help maintain operations.

SUMA’s Board of Directors is pitching a reduction of plastic waste and pollution resolution. It calls for SUMA to work with Ottawa and Regina to eliminate problematic and toxic products like micro-plastics, reduce the use of single-use plastics and create incentives for reducing waste and growing waste-diversion strategies.

Another resolution is asking for reform on policing costs for municipalities under 5,000. It calls for the Ministry of Justice to have RCMP service costs assessed at a per capita rate for municipalities that fall under the provincial policing contract.

The current per capita system was implemented when RCMP members were still required to reside in their detachment municipality. It sees municipalities with an RCMP detachment charged a higher rate per capita than those without.

According to the resolution, as policing costs increase, the gap between detachment and non-detachment municipalities grows as increases are percentage-based. 

Currently, there is a $28.43 per capita gap, but that is forecasted to grow to $46.13 per capita in 10 years. The Town of Carnduff, which is introducing the resolution, is not asking for a single per capita rate, but for an adjustment to shrink the gap in the current price structure.

 

tyler.marr@jpbg.ca

On Twitter: @JournoMarr

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