Like many of their Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association counterparts, the City of Humboldt has reservations about the province’s plan to move municipal elections. At its Monday meeting for January, City Council approved a motion to convey their objections to the province on having city elections slated for November.
An amendment to the Local Government Elections Act sets up a date of November 13, 2024 for the next civic elections. That’s two weeks after the anticipated date of the provincial election on October 28, 2024. The dates mirror the situation in 2020 when civic and municipal elections were held two weeks after a late October provincial call. That’s a situation the cities, Humboldt included, don’t want to see repeated.
In an administration report presented to Council, City Manager Joe Day pointed out that SUMA has recently reminded Mayors and City Managers that there may only be this one last opportunity to convince the Province to amend the municipal election date before the bill proceeds through three readings and is adopted this spring.
Traditionally, municipality elections had been held the third or fourth week of October, times that Day considered to be generally “safe dates” in terms of dealing with winter weather and projected turnout.
“The provincial government decided for 2020 that they too liked that time period,” Day outlined to Council at the meeting. “That pushed the municipal elections to the middle of November 2020. As you all recall, there were a number of problems with that date in 2020 with a massive snowfall event. As well, I think some of our election workers and organizers recognized the conflict of having two general local elections, one at a provincial level and one at a municipal level, going on during an overlapping two week period.”
A bill to make additional minor changes to the act has been tabled for consideration this spring. That’s the last opportunity, SUMA noted, to have a change in the election date considered. Surveys that have come back from cities and other urban municipalities are suggesting a May 2025 date for municipal elections.
The motion to draft a letter and send it to the provincial government was carried.