The R.M. of Swift Current has had the opportunity to discuss the recent decision of the Municipal Boundary Committee of the Saskatchewan Municipal Board regarding the application from the City of Swift Current to annex the commercial strip on the west end of the City to Lac Pelletier Trail.
The RM is very disappointed in the decision to approve the City’s application with a compensation of 15 times tax loss and also in the fact that the compensation is to be spread over seven years.
"The Committee considered the City’s taxpayers to be disadvantaged if the City had to borrow or deplete its reserves to make a lump sum payment to the RM. It is unfortunate that the Committee did not give the same consideration to disadvantages to the RM taxpayers. The loss of the Pioneer Grain elevator will certainly increase the tax base to the City while the RM will still incur the cost associated with hauling grain over RM roads to the elevator. In the future, the impact of this decision will be felt by the RM taxpayers whether it be a tax increase or loss of services," the R.M. of Swift Current press release states.
"We should be clear that when the R.M. objected to the annexation, it was not a personal decision or a reflection of our “feelings” for the City. First off, the R.M. must represent our ratepayers and do what is in the best interest of all of our ratepayers. Secondly, we felt, and still feel that a decision from the Saskatchewan Municipal Board will set a precedent for all other rural municipalities bordering urban centers facing potential annexation decisions. We had hoped to be able to present our position to the Municipal Boundary Committee but that was not to be the case as the Committee only allowed presentation in regard to compensation at the hearing in November."
The R.M. looks to the future and hopes to see the City’s plans for redevelopment of the annexed lands carried through. Should redevelopment not occur, both city and R.M. residents would have to question the motive for the annexation in the first place. The R.M. accepts and promotes that growth and development should benefit everyone in the Swift Current area and will be looking to the successful redevelopment and growth of the annexed area to substantiate that this was to the benefit of the entire community.
The R.M. is not considering any further legal action as it is our opinion that this would not be productive. It is time to move forward and look to the future. We will continue to work with the City on any issues that arise that will be of benefit to both municipalities.
The R.M. will continue to operate and thrive as we have in the past. There are exciting new developments happening now and in the future and we welcome the opportunity to work with new and existing businesses as they succeed in the R.M. of Swift Current.