Road Maintenance Agreements

Res #: 14-11M
Number: 14
Year: 2011
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Municipal Affairs

WHEREAS the RM of Touchwood No. 248 submitted Resolutions calling for the re-evaluation of Road Maintenance Agreements in their entirety for consideration at the 2010 and 2011 Annual Conventions; and

WHEREAS these resolutions were adopted by the majority of Rural Municipals Councils of Saskatchewan; and

WHEREAS the issue of inadequate Road Maintenance Agreements has been raised repeatedly at SARM Conventions; and

WHEREAS there has been no significant changes made in regard to rates of compensation and speed enforcement as was requested;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government to take immediate action to address the road maintenance agreement inadequacies.

Response from Honourable Darryl Hickie, Minister of Municipal Affairs:

A committee with representation from government, SARM, the Rural Municipal Administrators’ Association (RMAA) and industry stakeholders conducted a review of road maintenance agreements beginning in 2007.

The committee reached consensus on a new agreement template that is posted on the Municipal Affairs’ website and on a new dispute resolution mechanism through the Saskatchewan Municipal Board that has been implemented through legislation.

The committee was unable to reach consensus on the road maintenance agreement rates or a consultant’s report related to these because municipalities did not have the required data needed to identify actual road maintenance and restoration costs. A recommendation of the report was for a project that would gather actual cost data from municipalities. Upon completion of this study, government should be in a better position to determine how road maintenance rates should change.

Municipal Affairs has initiated this project and for the study, has developed a costing model as an excel spreadsheet for RMs to track the incremental costs of maintenance and capital repair to rural roads under heavy haul agreements in June 2011.

The key goal of the study is to gather costing data from municipalities in order to:
 establish heavy haul compensation rates that are based on actual roadway maintenance and restoration costs incurred; and
 develop a rational methodology for updating the rates on a regular basis.

Despite requests from the Ministry and SARM, only nine RMs have chosen to participate in the study to provide the evidence needed to support a change in maximum rates for road maintenance agreements.

Furthermore, in 2011-12, funding to rural revenue sharing is $62.9M, an increase of $14.4M, or nearly 30 percent compared to 2010-11 ($48.5M). With an increase of approximately 30 percent in revenue sharing dollars, it is government’s expectation that municipalities will have more funding for maintenance costs such as road repair. Roads are a large component of the current rural revenue sharing formula, with 70 percent of funding being determined by transportation calculations. It is important to remember road maintenance fees are only to cover the incremental costs in maintenance and loss of life brought about by heavy hauls.

Finally, with respect to the matter of speed enforcement, the Ministry responded to the SARM convention resolution in March 2011, advising that RMs have the authority to regulate vehicle speeds on roads under RM control. This could be done either by bylaw or pursuant to a provision added to the road maintenance agreement. RMs can enforce their bylaws or agreements either through the police or a bylaw enforcement officer.