Amend the Cities Act to Allow Unpaid Utility Charges to Tax Roll
Whereas The Municipalities Act allows municipal councils to add unpaid charges for a utility service provided to the parcel by a public utility that are owing with respect to the parcel to the tax roll; and Whereas The Cities Act allows municipal council to add unpaid charges for a utility service provided to the parcel by a public utility that are owing by the owner of the parcel of land only; and Whereas there are many instances where tenants, particularly transient tenants, leave utility accounts unpaid and in many situations, uncollectible, and The Cities Act does not permit municipal council to add these unpaid utility charges owing by the tenants to the tax roll; and Whereas the uncollectible accounts then become an unfair expense to all taxpayers of the city; Therefore be it resolved that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association urge the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to amend The Cities Act Clause 333(1) (b) to allow Council to add unpaid utility charges owing with respect to the parcel of land to the tax roll, in the same manner as provided for in The Municipalities Act Clause 369(1) (b).â€
Municipal Affairs has identified amendments to provide cities the authority to add unpaid utility charges to the taxes of a property, whether or not they are incurred by the landowner, as something for consideration. It may be desirable to further amend both The Cities Act and the Municipalities Act to ensure other available options to obtain payment are taken into account and to provide prior notification to both tenant and landowner respecting the situation. Wording similar to Section 389 of The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010, which was developed in consultation with Justice and Attorney General, would balance the interest of landowners and cities and make all three Acts consistent with respect to this matter. This amendment will be considered when the municipal Acts are next opened for amendment.