Effective Friday, September 17, a province-wide mandatory masking order will be implemented for all indoor public spaces. 

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2020 December

Municipalities Today is a web-based newsletter published monthly. It lists deadlines, training opportunities, services and programs that may be of interest to Saskatchewan municipal administrators.

View past editions of Municipalities Today by visiting Publications Saskatchewan.

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1. Municipal Administrators' Corner

  • It is a best practice around this time of year to confirm your upcoming audit date. If you have not already done so, ensure your auditor has been appointed by council. (Section 188 of The Municipalities Act, section 210 of The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 or section 159 of The Cities Act)
  • In the absence of an agreement with your municipality, amounts that have been incurred by another municipality for providing an emergency service may be added to property taxes by Dec. 31. (Section 42 of The Municipalities Act, section 63 of The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 or section 33 of The Cities Act)
  • Be sure to download the updated consolidated version of the municipal act applicable to your municipality if you have not done so already. The amendments that are effective Jan. 1, 2021 to The Municipalities Act, The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 and The Cities Act will be updated in the new year. Bulletins have also been prepared to highlight the major changes that will affect municipalities and can be reviewed by checking out the links below:
  • Thank you to the almost 400 administrators that attended The Municipalities Act Amendments Webinar on Nov. 24. Advisory Services will be hosting a Q&A Webinar in the new year to answer questions received during the presentation and any other questions you may have. Please watch your email inbox in the coming weeks for more information about registration. Check out the following topics where questions related to The Municipalities Act amendments were received:
    • Sec. 22 – Road Maintenance Agreements (RMA)
      Municipalities may now enter into an RMA using an alternative schedule of charges or fees from those prescribed in the Regulations if the fees are applied consistently for all other agreements in the municipality and both parties agree. To ensure that an alternative fee schedule is applied consistently, a best practice would be for council to develop a written policy establishing how the schedule of fees would be applied within the municipality. If both parties do not agree to the alternative fee schedule, the municipality could still require a RMA as they could before, but the prescribed fees must be followed.
    • Sec. 81.1 – Special Meetings
      Council must designate a person within the council procedures bylaw to call a special meeting in the event the administrator is unable to or the position is vacant. This person is solely responsible for calling the special meeting only and is not the same as appointing an acting administrator. They must follow the process set out in section 123 and any additional requirements set out in the council procedures bylaw. The person designated could potentially be the administrative assistant, the local bank manager, or possibly even the administrator from a neighbouring municipality. It cannot be a member of council.
    • Sec. 110 – Qualified Administrator
      The councils of all non-city municipalities (no matter the population) are required to appoint a person to the position of administrator that is qualified as per The Urban Municipal Administrators Act and, in the case of a rural municipality, The Rural Municipal Administrators Act as of Jan. 1, 2021.
    • Sec. 273Tax Payments
      Payment or collection of taxes is to be apportioned amongst all taxing authorities. However, this does not apply to payments made specifically towards rates pursuant to The Municipal Hail Insurance Act.
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2. Peer to Peer: Saskatchewan’s Municipal Peer Network

Municipal leaders are faced with diverse challenges every day, from budget constraints to council conflicts. Unless you've experienced a similar situation, figuring out what to do next can be difficult.

That's where Saskatchewan’s Municipal Peer Network comes in.

The Saskatchewan Municipal Peer Network connects municipal administrators and elected officials with highly-experienced peers who can provide guidance, coaching and advice to help resolve issues locally, use best governance practices, better understand their roles and responsibilities, and other related matters.

There are currently nine experienced volunteer mentors who are administrators, mayors, reeves and councillors with an average of 24 years of municipal governance experience. They are trained in coaching, communication, facilitation and dispute resolution.

Mentors can be reached by phone or met with in person, and all conversations are confidential and free of charge.

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3. Reminders Concerning General Municipal Election

2020 Post-Election Survey

Please complete the 2020 Post-Election Survey for municipalities and school boards. Deadline to complete the survey is Dec. 31, 2020.

If you have any questions, please email Regs@gov.sk.ca.

Submit Your Election Results

Municipalities are reminded to submit their municipal election results to the Ministry of Government Relations as soon as possible.

Section 140 of The Local Government Election Act, 2015 requires the administrator/city clerk/clerk to notify the Minister of Government Relations of election results. To comply with section 140, use the ministry's online Municipal Election Results Form.

If you have any questions regarding submission of the election results, please contact grcompliance@gov.sk.ca.

Update the Municipal Directory System

Municipalities should update the Municipal Directory System (MDS) with any changes arising from the recent municipal elections.

The MDS is a provincial database the public uses to:

  • Locate a municipality's contact information;
  • Find out the hours the municipal office is open; and
  • Learn the names of elected officials who serve that community.

Each municipality has its own unique password to access the online MDS for security purposes. If you have forgotten your username or password, or if you are encountering difficulties entering in your municipal information, please contact muninfo@gov.sk.ca.

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4. Group Training Sessions for Councils

10-Minute Trainers are short, group-training sessions designed for municipal council members and facilitated by the administrator. The modules were developed to help councils work together more effectively using everyday examples they might face on the job. It is an excellent team-building resource that costs nothing and can be easily completed as a group before or after a council meeting.

The training includes short videos and questions designed to engage municipalities in discussions about local issues. Each 10-Minute Trainer module consists of three sections. Each section, designed to take approximately 10-15 minutes, consists of:

  • written material;
  • a video; and
  • discussion questions.

There are two 10-Minute Trainers modules currently available. The first module focuses on council procedures. It contains a workbook and short videos that demonstrate different situations a council may face. It is designed to help councils help themselves using their own legislation, such as their council procedures bylaw. The second module explores the roles and responsibilities of municipal administrators and council members. It provides an opportunity to discuss what the different roles and responsibilities look like in your municipality and what problems may arise when these roles and responsibilities are unclear.

For more information about 10-Minute Trainers, call 306-787-4984 or email patrick.chastel2@gov.sk.ca.

To access this training or other training for municipal administrators and council, visit Training and Workshops for Municipalities.

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5. Community Planning Regulatory and Educational Material Update

Communities have the ability to manage development within their boundaries. An official community plan and zoning bylaw create a framework for managing local development. These land use planning bylaws provide a consistent and fair approach to decision making, ensure public participation in the development process, and support the development of economically, environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable communities. Municipal land use planning bylaws must be consistent with The Planning and Development Act, 2007 and The Statements of Provincial Interest Regulations.

Amendments to The Statements of Provincial Interest Regulations come into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. These amendments will:

  • Improve predictability for agricultural activities in Saskatchewan;
  • Strengthen relationships between municipalities, and First Nations and Métis communities;
  • Encourage regional planning; and
  • Incorporate the following new topics:
    • Climate resilience, including mitigation and adaptation;
    • Economic growth; and
    • Community health and well-being.

For more information, visit Communities and The Statements of Provincial Interest Regulations.

Educational Materials

Community Planning has been working to prepare educational materials and ready communities and planning professionals for these amendments. A new tool has been uploaded to Community Planning's official community plan and zoning bylaws webpages to help implement these amendments.

The Preparation and Adoption of New Planning Bylaws checklist has been created to simplify and expedite the land use planning bylaw preparation process and subsequent review process by Community Planning. Municipalities are encouraged to include a completed checklist along with land use planning bylaws submitted to Community Planning.

More educational and training materials will be available in early 2021.

Ministry staff are available for discussions related to land use planning and bylaws. View this contact list of Community Planning Consultants to find the person assigned to your area and general Community Planning contact information.

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6. Reminder: Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant - Declaration of Eligibility

The unique link and password for the online Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant Declaration of Eligibility was emailed to your municipality on Nov. 13, 2020. If you did not receive the email, please check your SPAM/JUNK folder. If the email is not in your SPAM/JUNK folder, please email grcompliance@gov.sk.ca requesting the email be re-sent.

To avoid your municipality's Municipal Revenue Sharing Grant for the 2021-22 year being withheld, ensure your municipality submits its Declaration of Eligibility and that your municipality meets all eligibility requirements. A completed declaration requires a resolution from council confirming the eligibility requirements the municipality meets.

Administrators will want to include the Declaration of Eligibility on the December or January council meeting agenda.

The eligibility requirements are the following legislated responsibilities:

  • Submission of Annual Audited Financial Statement;
  • Submission of Waterworks Reporting, if applicable;
  • In good standing with Education Property Tax;
  • Council Procedure Bylaw has been adopted by council;
  • Employee Code of Conduct has been adopted by council; and
  • Public Disclosure Statements have been filed and annually updated by council members.

The deadline for submission of the online Declaration of Eligibility is Jan. 31, 2021.

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7. Property Tax Percentages of Value Updated for 2021

Percentages of value to be applied to Saskatchewan properties starting in 2021 have recently been updated, as part of the revaluation cycle across the province.

For 2021, the percentage of value for commercial, industrial, elevator, railway, resource and pipeline properties will be 85 per cent compared to 100 per cent set in 2017 when the previous revaluation occurred.

All other percentages of value remain unchanged from the previous revaluation cycle:

  • Non-arable (range or pasture) land at 45 per cent.
  • Other (cultivated) agricultural land at 55 per cent.
  • Residential, multi-unit residential and seasonal residential at 80 per cent.

For more information, visit Revaluation 2021.

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8. Creating a More Accessible Saskatchewan

In 2019, the Government of Saskatchewan announced a commitment to introduce accessibility legislation. The goal of the legislation is to remove and prevent accessibility barriers for people with disabilities. With almost a quarter of Saskatchewan people 15 and older living with some form of disability, this legislation will go a long way in making our province more inclusive.

Developing accessibility legislation will take a number of years and will require collaboration within the provincial government, Saskatchewan's municipal governments and community stakeholders. We'll be asking for your suggestions and feedback throughout the process to ensure we understand the needs and concerns of our communities in areas like the design of public spaces, information and communications, transportation, service animals, employment and procurement.

The first step in creating legislation is developing an act. The act is the foundation of the legislation and will set out the process for adopting accessibility standards and regulations, time frames for implementation and enforcement measures. In early 2021, we'll be launching our first phase of public engagement to make sure this foundation meets the needs and expectations of Saskatchewan residents. We'll be offering a variety of opportunities for engagement with a website for surveys, discussion forums and comments, along with more traditional options like mail and phone-in submissions. As we get closer to launching, information on these engagement opportunities will be available at www.saskatchewan.ca/accessiblesk.

The Government of Saskatchewan values its relationship with the province's municipalities and we are excited to partner with you on this important work. We recognize and appreciate that many of you are already working hard to make your communities more accessible, and we hope you'll share your ideas, successes and challenges with us during the engagement process. Together, we can build a more accessible and inclusive Saskatchewan for all of our residents.

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