Cote RM council holds tax rate at last year’s level

This year, for the second consecutive year, the council of the RM of Cote approved a budget calling for a tax rate of 8.3 mills.

Council approved the budget and set the mill rate during its meeting of June 10, said Sherry Guenther, administrator.

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Guenther said that the 2020 tax notices should be in the mail the first week of July and accompanying them will be a ratepayer information document outlining council’s main concerns and expenditures.

If taxes are paid by July 31, the ratepayer will receive a discount of five per cent; if paid by August 31, four per cent, and by September 30, three per cent. Taxes in arrears after December 31 will accumulate a fee of one per cent per month.

Of the RM’s total revenue of $1,730,490, the levy will generate $980,680. Other sources of revenue include the revenue sharing grant from the Government of Saskatchewan and custom work, fees and charges, grants in lieu of, interest revenue and other funding for which council had made application.

Among council’s larger expenses are: gravel, including royalties and pit stripping, $222,000; police requisition, $26,000; Eaglestone Lodge capital contribution, $5,000; Assiniboine Valley Health and Wellness Foundation, $5,480; library requisition, $7,370; fire agreement with Town of Kamsack, $21,750; culvert work for six divisions, $36,000; bush and/or patchwork for six divisions, $30,000; insurance/benefits, $24,000; SAMA (Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency), $12,000; employee wages and council indemnities, $287,000; transfer to reserves, $45,000; utilities, $19,000; oil and gas, $40,000; PRWMA (Prairie Regional Waste Management Association) for garbage, $40,000, and mowing contract, $50,000.

The complete financial statements are available at the RM office which is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Guenther reminds ratepayers that SAMA is to conduct a re-inspection of the RM this year. The municipality has not been inspected since the 1980s.

Council reminds residents that the defacing or theft of traffic and road signs in the RM ends up costing the ratepayers and may cause harm or injury to the public.

“Please report any signs down or missing to the office,” Guenther said.

The RM is still participating in the Provincial Rat Eradication Program and rat control products are provided free through Garrett Keyowski, the pest control officer.

“Call Garrett if you have issues with the rodent and require products,” she said, adding that the office in Kamsack carries pest control products for sale at cost.

The speed limit on grid roads in the municipality is 80 km per hour, she said. A number of complaints have come into the office regarding vehicles that are speeding past residences or on the roads in general. The roads are also used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Council is considering implementing a bylaw to lower the speed limit within the municipality, she said. Council is expected to deal with the matter this summer.

Regarding controlled burns, Guenther said that persons planning to burn in the RM must first call 1-866-404-4911. It is answered 24/7 all 365 days.

The municipality’s transfer station site at Runnymede is open the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from the May long weekend to October long weekend the site is also opened the first as well as the third Saturday of the month.

The Green Centre is a family-owned recycle facility located at the front of the City of Yorkton landfill, she said. This facility offers a lower price rate for the dumping of used concrete, wood, asphalt and asphalt shingles into landfills and can be reached at grgreencenter@gmail.com for further information.

Council asks persons seeing garbage bin abuse to contact the RM office. Failure to maintain these bin sites will force the RM to seek alternative operation procedures for garbage collections. The bins are for household garbage only. When other items are thrown in, it fills up the bins and causes a mess before the truck returns to empty them.

There were issues this spring again with bins overflowing with garbage, Guenther said. “Remember that when spring road bans are on, the truck does not come to some divisions for pickup. If you find the bins full, please take the garbage home and bring it back once the bins have been emptied. The garbage bins are emptied every two weeks when road bans are not in place.

Council has replaced a number of the plastic lids with metal ones and understands the concerns about the metal lids being too heavy to lift.

“We apologize for the inconvenience, but the pesky bears have destroyed some plastic lids and the only way to try to keep them out and to keep the fields garbage free is to opt for the metal lids,” Guenther said. “Please do not leave trash outside of bins. Let’s all work together to keep the municipality clean and safe.”

Concerns are being brought to the office and to council members about the seeding and spraying of RM ditches, she said. Landowners do not own the ditches, therefore no seeding and definitely no spraying is permitted. Spraying of the ditches is only adding more weeds to the area and undermines the roads when there is no grass holding it together.

Guenther reminds residents that drainage is not a landowner’s right and new drainage works now require approval from the Water Security Agency before the work is implemented.

With 2020 being an election year, the terms of Reeve Jim Tomochko, who has been in the job for 10 years, and the councillors of the odd-numbered divisions will end. These are: Councillor Ralph Hilderman, who has been in office as the Div. 2 councillor since 2005; Craig Salahub, Div. 3 councillor since 2018, and Kim Pennell, Div. 5 since 1999.

Polling day is November 9. Polling will be at the Silver Threads Drop-In in Togo for Div.1 and for reeve, and at the RM office for reeve and divisions three and five. An advance poll will be held at both polling stations.

New this year is that a public disclosure statement must be submitted with nomination papers, Guenther explained. “If you or someone you know are interested in serving in local government, contact the RM office for further information.”