Town council tables off-site levies bylaw, again

By Keanna Nelson (B94 Newsroom)
February 8, 2018 - 11:03am

Rocky Mtn. House town council is tabling the new off-site levy bylaw again and will bring it back in a couple months. 

The decision was made at council’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

The current offsite levy in Rocky is $34,000 per hectare. The new model, if and when adopted, would put the levy between $64,000 and $109,000 per hectare, depending on the land, with an average of $79,000 per hectare.

Off-site levies assist long-term financial sustainability for funding future growth that requires increased capacity of infrastructure because of that growth. The principle behind the levy is that the property or development that requires the new or increased infrastructure pays that cost. This ensures that current ratepayers are not paying taxes for this increased capacity that provides no or little benefit to them.

A review of the off-site levy rates in April 2014 was conducted to be updated to the rates in accordance with actual costs and the Municipal Government Act regulations. The draft since then has gone through several revisions with the final version being completed in May of 2017.

“It’s overdue and it’s a dramatic increase,” said Councillor Jason Alderson. “This was done so long ago and I know we have had a lot of changes and I feel like this has been put off.”

The off-site levy report tries to predict when development will occur in the next 25 years. Since the process started, the economic situation in Alberta and Rocky Mountain House has changed dramatically as the rate of development and growth has gone down.

CAO Dean Krause made councilors aware that the scope of off-site levies changed with the MGA modernization recently and recreation facilities, fire hall, police stations and libraries can now be included to collect funds from.

Krause also suggested that council could phase in the new levy over a period of time to help reduce the impact of an immediate huge increase. For example, year one a 30 per cent reduction, year two a 20 per cent reduction and year three would see a 10 per cent reduction and year four would have full costs.

“I want to look at something and more responsible to phase it in,” said Mayor Tammy Burke. “I just want to get this right. It’s been a couple years we’ve been talking about this. I’m in for phasing it in.”

Administration advised council that they should postpone the consideration of second and third reading of the bylaw so they could bring an updated Off-site Levy Review report.

“Things are starting to pick up right now, I’d hate for us to miss the development and that investment in our area,” said Councillor Merrin Fraser.

It was moved to have the bylaw come back to council on April 3 and that Administration bring to council and updated Offsite Levy Review report.

 

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