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Wednesday, 20 November 2013 14:10

Why doesn’t City transfer land back to RM?

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Over the past few weeks there have been several references to the City of Swift Current needing to borrow in order to pay the compensation awarded by the Saskatchewan Municipal Board in their annexation hearing. 

The ruling was the City was to pay the R.M. of Swift Current 15 times the tax assessment of the annexed area over a seven-year period. The total amount was determined to be approximately $3.1 million. This was to be paid as seven annual payments of about $450,000. Over this period, the City acquired the tax base of the area which according to the R.M. tax assessment at the time was $211,000. 
Since that time a provincial tax reassessment has been undertaken which would increase the tax base of the annexed area. Even using the old assessment, the net cost yearly for the annexation of the “west end strip” to the city would be less and $250,000 per year ($450,000 - $211,000) for a total of only about one half of the awarded amount. Why then do the press releases indicate the City needs to borrow $3.1 million to pay off the R.M.?
They city has offered to pay off the tax loss compensation as a lump sum at a reduced rate of approximately $2.2 million or about a million less than was ordered.  This proposal was turned down by the R.M. since it was felt important to follow the ruling of the Saskatchewan Municipal Board even if it was flawed.
I find it disturbing the City does not appear prepared to live up to their obligations and in addition blames the R.M. for their self-inflicted financial woes. Since there are no immediate plans to develop the area perhaps the City should consider transferring these lands back to the R.M. jurisdiction, so as to remove the financial burden from the City.
Jerry Knipfel, R.M. of Swift Current 137

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