It is time to give our elected officials, whether they be urban, rural or provincial, some much-needed help and advice to avoid having their ratepayers going bankrupt or becoming insolvent.
We are guilty of not having done something sooner, perhaps when those massive assessment increases came through from the Saskatchewan Assessment Management Agency three years ago, and mill rates were not adjusted to help small businesses and oil companies.
Some of the things we should point out to assist in the decision-making are as follows:
1) Large groups of ratepayers get more attention than one ratepayer in front of a group of councillors.
2) Empty buildings do not create revenue.
3) Businesses that have been shut down or compromised by government policy have little or no income coming in.
4) Vacant oilfield shops and offices in RMs do not require any roads to be graded and as such are no burden to the RM they are located in.
5) If ratepayers are forced to bulldoze buildings and leave behind empty lots, it is not good for councils wanting to collect tax revenue.
6) A fair amount of tax is better than no tax.
7) It takes a lot of room rentals for a motel to pay taxes in excess of $100,000.
8) Small business creates employment for us and our children.
9) Council has the ability to abate taxes on an individual basis.
10) Crown Corporations and city councils might better serve citizens by perhaps leasing vacant properties from ratepayers rather than spending millions on new facilities, or creating small museums for fire departments or flagship police stations.
11) Perhaps the tax burden could be more evenly distributed between business, agriculture and domestic property.
12) In order for ratepayers to better understand and be able to help our officials, perhaps when tax enforcement lists are printed in local papers, it could include a report from councils showing all expenses, revenues and bank balances of the respective municipalities involved.
13) COVID did not cause this problem, it just made it more noticeable.