Media releases from SUMA.

Province’s Bill 64 Strips Hometowns of Revenues and Rights

April 24, 2017

The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) voiced its objections again today against Bill 64, An Act to amend The Power Corporation Act and The SaskEnergy Act.

“Bill 64 strips 109 hometowns of payments in lieu they are legally entitled to, and gives the provincial government the power to redirect these royalties to the general revenue fund,” said SUMA Vice-President of Cities, Bob Maloney. “Even worse, the bill strips hometowns of their legal right to defend those agreements before the courts or be compensated for their loss.”

Responding to comments last week from Government Relations Minister Donna Harpauer, SUMA Vice-President of Towns Rodger Hayward said “She asks if it’s reasonable for two orders of government to spend money to fight it out in court. We ask if it’s reasonable to pass legislation that denies local governments the ability to defend legal agreements — or be compensated for this loss of revenue.”

These agreements covered capital investments and they included a guarantee that the municipality would forever get royalties on future sales of power. 

Read more in the full release below.

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SUMA Calls for Meaningful Consultation as Hometowns Reopen Budgets

April 10, 2017

The Executive Committee from the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association showcased a united front today, as they continued to push the provincial government to engage in meaningful consultation with the province’s more than 440 hometowns left reeling by the significant cuts and downloading delivered in the provincial budget.

In addition to stripping $36 million of payments in lieu from 109 hometowns, the provincial budget shuttered the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC), suspended the Community Rink Affordability Grant, further reduced funding to urban parks, suspended the Main Street Saskatchewan Program, further cut funding to the Urban Highway Connector Program — which also funds the Town Urban Highway Program — and slashed funding to libraries.

“We were hopeful the meeting with four cabinet ministers on March 29 was a first step in meaningful consultation and further discussion with the provincial government,” said SUMA Vice-President of Villages, Resort Villages and Northern Municipalities Mike Strachan. “But less than two days later, before we could bring forward any suggestions, Minister Harpauer issued a press release. The decision to cap the payments in lieu cuts — but only for nine out of 109 hometowns and only at 30 per cent of their revenue sharing amount — came out of nowhere for us.”

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Provincial Government Punishing Hometowns

March 28, 2017

Saskatchewan hometowns are reeling this week as the reality of the provincial budget continues to sink in. The 2017 provincial budget stripped $36 million of payments in lieu from Saskatchewan’s urban municipalities — a move that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) is calling on the provincial government to reverse.

“We expected last week’s provincial budget to be tough, but nothing prepared us for the crisis some of our members now face,” SUMA President Gordon Barnhart said. “The province has eliminated $36 million in funding from more than 100 hometowns without consultation after most municipalities’ budgets have already been finalized. Many councils will need to hike property taxes to stay in the black.”

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SUMA Relieved “Solemn Promise” of Revenue Sharing Maintained, Disappointed by Continued Downloading

March 22, 2017

The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) was relieved that today’s provincial budget maintains what Premier Brad Wall has called the “solemn promise” of the municipal revenue sharing program, but remains concerned about the many small ways Saskatchewan’s hometowns are forced to bear the burden through provincial downloading.

“Our cities, towns, villages, and northern communities are no strangers to making tough choices when it comes to their budgets,” said SUMA President Gordon Barnhart. “SUMA members balance providing programs and services that are vital to quality of life in this province, with limited ways to generate revenue and being unable to run operating deficits at all, let alone for several years.”

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Conference Board of Canada Report on Sustainable Public Policies

March 06, 2017

The Conference Board of Canada recently completed a report entitled “Reinventing the West: Sustainable public policies and fiscal regimes for the 21st century.” The report, commissioned by the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) examines recent demographic and economic trends in Saskatchewan, and takes a close look at the fiscal framework between the province and municipalities, all under the umbrella of the Saskatchewan Plan for Growth.

Up to date with the 2016 Census population data, the report reveals that, for the most part, new jobs, economic diversification, and population growth occurred within Saskatchewan’s urban municipalities. “Most of the province’s population growth is occurring in its urban centres: 77 per cent of the province’s population now lives in a city, town, village, or resort village,” says Henry Diaz, Economist for the Centre for Municipal Studies at The Conference Board of Canada. “These demographic shifts are tied to fundamental changes in the composition of the province’s economy, as urbanization goes hand-in-hand with the move towards services.”  

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SUMA Convention 2017 Wraps Up

February 08, 2017

More than 1,000 delegates from towns, villages, cities, and northern municipalities across Saskatchewan are heading home after a whirlwind four days at SUMA’s 112th Annual Convention. This was the first SUMA convention since the 2016 municipal elections, and there were many highlights.

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SUMA Elects New President

February 06, 2017

Today, Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) delegates elected Saltcoats Town Councillor Gordon Barnhart as their newest president on the second day of SUMA Convention 2017.

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Media Advisory: SUMA Convention 2017

February 01, 2017

February 5 – 8 nearly 1,000 representatives from Saskatchewan’s cities, towns, villages, and northern municipalities will gather in Saskatoon for the 112th Annual Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) Convention.
The annual convention gives SUMA members the chance to network with colleagues from around the province and discuss issues affecting their communities. They also have the chance to hear from the Premier and his Cabinet, and ask them questions directly. This year, delegates will decide who they want to lead the Association for the next four years, with the election of the SUMA President and sector Vice-Presidents.

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Media Representatives Invited to SUMA Convention 2017

January 18, 2017

The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) invites all members of the media to attend the 112th Annual SUMA Convention, Shaping an Urban Saskatchewan, February 5 – 8, 2017 at TCU Place in Saskatoon.

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SUMA Pleased to See Further Investment in Infrastructure

November 02, 2016

The Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) is pleased to see the Government of Canada expanding their investment in infrastructure as announced yesterday in the fall fiscal update.

Documents released show the government allocating an additional $81 billion over the next 11 years towards public transit, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, transportation projects, and importantly a new $2 billion fund to help rural and northern communities. Many SUMA members are considered rural in the federal context, so this funding will help our members with their infrastructure commitments.

Municipal infrastructure is vital to the day-to-day life of everyone in Saskatchewan’s cities, towns, villages, and northern municipalities. Local governments own and maintain nearly two-thirds of the country’s infrastructure and yesterday’s announcement by the federal government shows their commitment and recognition of the value of investing in municipal infrastructure. SUMA looks forward to further details on when and how this money flows from the federal government to our members. 

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