A brief question about Simcoe County highlights led to a wallop of an unexpected answer for one Tay council member.
A county bylaw for development charges expiring at the end of the year was the topic of an information and education session to Simcoe County council earlier this month. The development community will look at growth forecast, growth-related capital programs, and proposed changes to charge rates in future presentations with the county as the process continues.
The Development Charges Act (DCA) allows for fees to be imposed on development to finance development-related capital costs. As a municipality grows, the maintenance of service levels requires new infrastructure and facilities. The underlying principle of the DCA is that growth pays for growth, so that the financial burden of servicing development doesn’t rest upon existing taxpayers.
At the Tay regular council meeting recently, Coun. Barry Norris asked for an update on the county information session, particularly whether development charges could increase or decrease for the township once the 2022 county development charges bylaw is passed.
“I can tell you that it is going to go up substantially,” admitted Mayor Ted Walker, who added that “it was a significant increase to residential” development.
Deputy Mayor Gerard LaChapelle clarified that it would be a 45% increase.
“Ouch,” said Norris.
The 2017 county bylaw imposed rates for development charges on eligible services such as: paramedic services; long term care and seniors services; social housing; public works; solid waste management; general government; and roads and related services.
Within the presentation by Hemson Consulting at the county meeting, a cost comparison was shown regarding the difference between the current residential charge per single dwelling unit (SDU) and the calculated residential charge per SDU. A 45% increase of total charge per unit was provided, as appropriate services were compiled.
For example, as one part of the multiple services equation, long-term care and seniors services had a $758 current residential charge while the calculated residential charge was estimated at $1,965 for a $1,207 or 159% increase. However, public works had a $92 current residential charge with a $33 calculated residential charge for an estimated decrease of $59 or -64%.
Additionally, development charge rates for non-residential charges of current and calculated were provided in the presentation, as a total charge per square metre. According to the information package, an increase of 25% for non-residential services was estimated.
“I guess a question as to ‘when,"’ asked Norris, “this should have no impact whatsoever on our (Tay) development charges in the future?”
Added Walker, “It won’t have any impact directly on ours but I suspect the next time we review ours we could be looking at a substantial increase. Some of the things they noted as the major cost increase are road constructions and so on; that was one of the big ones.
“So we may very well, when we go to review ours, have the same dilemma."
The next step in the Simcoe County process will be to hold a stakeholder information session to inform the development community and municipal staff of the background study process, and outline key components of the study. A public release date for the completed development charge background study is tentatively slated for September 24.
Walker was unsure as to rough dates and timelines for the process, but agreed to keep Tay council informed when details became available.
Information on development charges for the county can be found on the Simcoe website.
With few exceptions, Simcoe County council meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month starting at 9:00 a.m. Until further notice, meetings will be live streamed to the County of Simcoe's YouTube channel.
Tay council meets for regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Further information including council’s agenda can be found on the Tay township website.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca