The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities kicked off their annual convention Tuesday in Saskatoon, and it continued Wednesday morning with an address from Premier Scott Moe, an address by Official Opposition leader Carla Beck, and the annual bear pit session with the delegates and the provincial cabinet.  

Norm McFadden is the Reeve of the R.M. of Weyburn and is in Saskatoon for the convention. He explained that during the address from the premier, there were a few hints dropped about what could be expected. 

“I know the budget comes out next week, but a couple of things he mentioned were municipal revenue sharing is going to be going up this year, so that’s good news on the front for all of us,” McFadden said Wednesday afternoon during a break in the activities.  

The announcement from Moe was that there will be more than $297 million set aside for the municipal revenue-sharing program. This is an increase of 13 percent from the previous fiscal year and is a new record for the overall program. The municipal revenue sharing is based on 0.75 percent of the provincial sales tax revenue collected from two years prior.  

For McFadden, they aren’t sure how they will be using that money right now, but the extra boost will be welcomed in the area.  

The second announcement involved healthcare with a boost for the program that looks to attract physicians to rural parts of Saskatchewan.  

“In the past, it was like a $47,000 incentive for doctors to practice in rural areas and stay there,” McFadden explained. “They’re upping that to $200,000 over five years, so that should help the rural areas to retain some doctors for some five-year programming.” 

During the bear pit session, there was one issue brought up that was something based on a resolution introduced in the past by the RM of Weyburn – deer, elk, antelope and moose. There had been calls for the province to increase the number of tags in recent years, and it appears there could be some action taken on that front.  

“It sounds like they’re going to go ahead with depredation tags for whitetail and elk that are becoming an issue throughout the province,” McFadden added. Depredation tags allow for certain birds and animals to be shot on a person’s property to protect crops, livestock or domestic animals.  

The convention continued throughout Wednesday afternoon with the delegates reviewing and discussing proposed resolutions. Some of those include calling for the cancellation of the midterm convention, the responsibility and monitoring of noxious weeds on crown land and reviewing the fees for drilling oil wells and gas wells.  

The meeting will wrap up Thursday morning with acceptance addresses from the SARM president and vice president, as well as the presentation of the organization’s financial report.