POP: Boundary Alterations
Res #: POP 1-10A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Municipal Affairs
WHEREAS the present system of compensation for boundary alterations between municipalities has been based on tax loss on undeveloped land;
WHEREAS the current compensation approach used by the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB) does not recognize the value of infrastructure to the municipality which developed the infrastructure on the affected lands;
WHEREAS municipalities are now required to undertake detailed financial evaluation of their infrastructure assets and SAMA reflects this infrastructure in their assessment of real property;
WHEREAS under the present system there is no recognized financial protection for legal costs, tax loss, or infrastructure for any municipal land areas deemed suitable for annexation by a neighbouring urban municipality; and
WHEREAS there is no significant deterrent to frivolous annexations, either in financial or operational terms, thus allowing the annexing municipality to repeat its application every year with no consequences for failure;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM, SUMA, the Ministry of Municipality Affairs and other appropriate Agencies immediately convene a working group empowered to establish a fair and equitable system for conflict resolution and compensation for boundary alterations; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that, until such a system is developed and becomes law, no boundary alteration shall occur except under joint complementary resolution by the affected parties.
Response from Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Minister of Municipal Affairs:
- The Ministry is committed to looking at ways to help alleviate disputes between municipalities and shares an interest in a cooperative annexation process between jurisdictions.
- Establishing some principles and guidelines could facilitate resolution of financial disputes related to annexation and help clarify expectations. Municipal Affairs will prepare some research and information for the Municipal Sector Strategic Plan tables and the Municipal Forum for SARM and SUMA to consider.
- Consideration of boundary alterations cannot be put on hold as the process is established by statute. The Cities Act and The Municipalities Act outline the annexation process. If municipalities agree with the annexation, the request for annexation is made to the Minister; otherwise the application is made to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board (SMB).
- Where agreements cannot be reached, it is the responsibility of the SMB to adjudicate the boundary alteration application. The SMB may attach terms and conditions based on the circumstances of the specific application.
- The province is currently developing an annexation guide to assist municipal administrators. This will provide information about annexation and outline steps in the process. It will also identify items to consider in developing an annexation agreement.