Changes to borrowing legislation in The Municipalities Act
Whereas urban governments have expressed concern that long-term debt limits, the SMB approval process, and the factors to determine a local governmentâ€™s debt capacity are hindering the ability to address the demands of growth within communities; and Whereas municipal borrowing legislation in Saskatchewan needs to be updated to respond to the demands of a growing province; and Whereas urban governments need an efficient approval system that is responsive to their needs; Therefore be it resolved that the SUMA lobby the Ministry of Government Relations to amend The Municipalities Act to: â€¢ Remove the requirement to seek approval for borrowing that is beyond a three-year repayment period. â€¢ Extend the borrowing limit to the equivalent of two years of own-source revenue for non-city urban governments. Be it further resolved that SUMA will also engage the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) to help them improve their relationship with urban governments through improved communication, education and process efficiencies.
Recent amendments to both The Municipalities Act and The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 passed in the recent spring session of the Legislature provide regulation making ability and flexibility that will be helpful in future discussions with SUMA, the SMB and others in the sector to address borrowing and debt limit issues. The ministry understands the SMB has other initiatives underway to ensure financial approval processes do not act as a barrier to growth. Further amendments could be considered to follow up these initiatives the next time the Act is opened.