With new projects and purchases on the horizon due to growth, council is asking for an update of its Development Charge bylaw.
That will require a study to review capital costs caused by growth, and council adopted the recommendation of staff to have the update done by Watson & Associates.
Up to $30,000 was authorized, which was the cost of the original study.
Because the bylaw was passed one month prior to major changes, the cost of the update can still be funded by DCs. rather than the regular budget, CAO Dina Lundy noted. That’s not the case for updates of DCs put in place after the new legislation.
Coun. Monica Singh Soares asked about whether other companies could do the work.
Ms Lundy said that the company has a lot of expertise in the area, and also has done the Southgate bylaws before.
Watson did the study for the bylaw adopted by Southgate in October, 2022, just before Bill 23 and other changes affected how municipalities can collect DCs from developers.
In Southgate, urban DCs dropped dramatically with the 2022 study, because the township was moving forward with a solution to wastewater needs by improvements to the lagoon system. Prior to that, a water treatment plant build which could have cost three times as much had been forecast.
Among the changes made by the province of Ontario was to start the development charges at 80 percent of the rate adopted by the municipality, to increase by five percent each year.
CAO Dina Lundy confirmed that by updating the bylaw, it will start again at 80 percent.
Presumably, it will be 80 percent of a higher number, with the added needs that have emerged during township engineers servicing study. That study is not yet complete, and still has to be publicly presented to council.
One cost that was referred in council discussion was the need for an aerial truck for the fire department, because of heights of new construction.
Ms Lundy said that a new administration building would not qualify on its own, but if located in a multi-use facility, those parts used for recreation needs caused by growth would be DC eligible. “We may not look at administration in the next five years, but we may need to look at water and waste water.”
A list of some of the considerations that warrant a DC study were listed in the CAO report:
-Eco Park Phase 2 Hwy 10 turning land and signalling entrance;
-Eco Parkway road improvements;
-Dundalk transfer station upgrade;
-commercial/industrial – Fire Flow Automated Water System Upgrades at Well 3;
-upsizing of services for Victoria, Alice and Mill sanitary sewer and Victoria watermain.
The study update will also look for any missed growth-related projects in recreation, library services and other areas.
Because the township will only be going into Year 2 (85 percent DCs) in October, 2023, the re-set to 80 percent will be less of a hit than if the township were further along in the five-year climb to full DCs.
Rather than the previous study length of five years, provincial changes mean that the study could be extended 10 years.
Ms Lundy said that all departments have been asked to review to identify projects.
Here are the actual numbers for Southgate – for simplicity’s sake, these are for the most common residential builds of singles or semis. The charges are still indexed annually on Jan. 1 for inflation.
The 2022 study put the DC for a rural single or semi-detached dwelling to $8,027 and in the “urban” area (Dundalk) $16,687.
When Bill 23 changes came into effect on Nov. 28, 2022, that went to 80 percent of that rate: $6,424 (rural) and $13,353 (urban).
January 1 these were indexed, so right now what’s being charged is $7,430 (rural) and $15,442 (urban).
However, Oct. 5, 2023 is the anniversary date of the DC bylaw, and the DC odometer clicks up to 85 percent (of the indexed cost). That means from Oct. 5 until whenever the DC bylaw is updated, the charge will be $7,898 (rural) and $16,411 (urban).
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald