POP: Fee for Service Taxes
Res #: POP 2-01A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Government Relations
Point of Privilege Resolution No. 2
WHEREAS, municipalities now have the authority under section 338 of The Rural Municipality Act, 1989, to impose a special tax or fee for service for the following: sanitation, scavenging, fire protection, or street lighting;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Section 338 of The Rural Municipality Act, 1989, be expanded to include such services as library fees and policing costs – expanded services to be determined at the discretion of Council.
Response from Hon. Ron Osika:
The Point of Privilege would authorize councils to move further away from the "ad valorem" system of raising monies for general municipal operations. While some municipalities, primarily urban ones, have discussed replacing property taxes with a series of "service fees", this principle would need closer examination before being considered as a viable alternative to providing for standard/indirect services through the general tax levy.
Section 338 is intended to provide a revenue source to offset the costs of directly providing a service to a dwelling or building. Insofar as there is no direct delivery of library services to buildings and the same could be argued for police services (they are intended as services or protection for people) Section 338 may not be the place to allow for the authority. Section 256.1 gives council the authority to charge directly for services provided to property and might be considered as an option. However, the only enforcement mechanism is discontinuation of the service, that is, the fee cannot be added to taxes owed.
MAH is in the process of identifying possible amendments for 2002 and will ensure that this issue is included on the list for examination and consideration.