Establishing Special Service Areas
Res #: 25-09M
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Municipal Affairs
WHEREAS rural municipalities are growing and large urban type developments continue to be developed within rural municipalities; and
WHEREAS current legislation provides for Special Service Areas with different mill rates and tax tools at the time of restructuring of a village into a surrounding rural municipality;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM request the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to introduce new legislation to provide a rural municipality with the authority to request the Minister to establish a Special Service Area to provide different levels of service and assign different mill rates and tax tools at times other than restructuring.
Background provided by the RM of Lakeland No. 521:
Elk Ridge Resort is located in the RM of Lakeland. This resort has self contained water and sewer facilities and will need an expansion to these services. They are unable to organize as a Hamlet as all of the residential property is owned by three separate condominium corporations – not individual landowners. The RM needs this change in The Municipalities Act in order to provide services to these ratepayers, apply for government infrastructure grants, and charge an appropriate mill rate for services not available to the balance of our ratepayers.
Response from Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Municipal Affairs:
- Municipal Affairs is prepared to discuss with SARM amendments to provide rural municipalities with authority to establish Special Service Areas at times other than restructuring.
- All interested parties would be given the opportunity to present their views before amendments to The Municipalities Act are made.
- Special Service Areas could assist in planning and development and provide rural municipalities with the ability to levy taxes to support services specific to the area without the complexities of restructuring.
- This could encourage urban and rural communities to work together for the benefit of the region. Criteria would be needed to establish the circumstances under which such an approach would be appropriate and acceptable.
- Different municipal tax rates for Special Service Areas would need to be linked to specific differences in municipal services received in order to ensure transparency and equity.