Town Council Representatives Attend Saskatchewan Urban Municipal Affairs Conference

Mayor Campbell, Councilor Ed Lowenburger, Derrick Wiebe, and Administrator Dawnette Peterson attended the 2014 SUMA Conference. This year’s Suma theme was, Strength from Many Peoples and was well attended by the membership.

Councilor Lowenburger and Mayor Campbell attended pre conference Municipal Leadership Development Programs on Saturday February 1/14.  The Municipal Leadership Development Program (MLDP) is a series of (6) modules developed exclusively for elected and appointed municipal leaders in Saskatchewan. The modules target specific issues of importance to urban, rural and northern municipalities. Councilor Lowenburger completed the Municipal Economic Development Fundamentals module. Mayor Campbell completed the Community and Land Use Planning module . Mayor Campbell has now completed all 6 MDLP modules.

On Sunday afternoon Mayor Campbell was a guest speaker along with the Mayor Martin Shields of Brooks Alberta, Reeve Molly Douglas of the County of Newell Alberta, Mayor Bruce Evans of White City, and Shaun McBain Town Superintendent of the Town of Balgonie. The session was a panel discussion moderated by Mayor Jerrod Schafer of Swift Current, and speakers shared their experiences with Regional Recreational Collaboration.On average urban governments spend 18 percent of their annual operating budget on recreation and leisure services to residents.   Mayor Campbell shared the regional recreational collaboration that occurs in the Gull Lake Area through the Gull Lake Area Recreation Board. Municipalities of the Gull Lake Area (Town of Gull Lake, R.M. of Gull Lake, R.M. of Carmichael, R.M. of Webb, Village of Tompkins, and Village of Webb). Our area local governments have done an outstanding job working together to provide our area with quality recreation and cultural facilities and programs.  The information shared at the meeting was well received, and several communities expressed interest in the Gull Lake Area Model, and how it works.

Council also had the opportunity to attend a variety of educational sessions throughout the conference. Sessions attended were as follows:

  1. “The Urban Environment “dealt with the future of solid waste regulations in Saskatchewan.
  2. “Managing Roadway Risk” dealt with how lawsuits claiming negligence in the design, construction, and maintenance of roadways, affect municipal road authorities, and how to identify and manage risks in municipalities.
  3. Planning and Development dealt with challenges Urban municipalities around the province are experiencing with continued population and economic growth. How to deal with developers and learn about urban governments’ roles and responsibilities in the development process and what urban governments can do to ensure the process goes smoothly.
  4. The Importance of Communication dealt with the importance of Communicating with your residents. How to ensure your residents get the information they need from the most reliable source. Participants were provided with the tools available to communicate, when and how to use them.

Delegates had the opportunity to listen to Premier Brad Wall speak about the record growth Saskatchewan is experiencing and some of the Challenges the province and municipalities are facing with prosperous and growing province.

A breakout session held on Tuesday afternoon dealt with community debt limits, borrowing applications, and when you need approval to borrow more. Many communities are faced with having to repair, replace, or update aging infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer systems. Several communities expressed concern over there debt limits meeting their infrastructure needs.

This year a variety of resolutions were put forward at this year’s convention as follows:

1. A Reliable Power Grid for Northern Saskatchewan

2. The Burning of Demolition Materials

3. Policing Levies

4. GST for Health Capital Projects

5. Tax Enforcement Act Amendments

6. Allow Elected Officials to Temporarily Assist with Maintenance Duties

7. Removal of Education Portion of Property Taxes

8. The Registration of All-Terrain Vehicles

9. Golf-Cart Use

10. Mandatory Training as Pre-Requisite for Nomination as an Elected Official

11. Changes to Rental Rates by the Saskatchewan Housing Corporation

12. Railway Safety

13. Stagger Urban Municipal Terms of Office

14. Fine Revenue Distribution

For resolution details goto: http://www.suma.org/cmsupload/fckeditor/Convention_2014/2014_resolutions.pdf

This years SUMA convention was very informative, and a great deal was learned at the various sessions, and networking opportunities with other municipalities. It was clear after attending this years convention that we need to continue to continue to work on our Strategic and Financial Plans in order to prioritize our communities needs with regards to our current and future infrastructure needs.

Mayor Campbell

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