Streetlights cost less than estimated, tax break for Grand Valley residents

·2 min read

Property owners in Grand Valley will pay less for the installation of streetlights.

Council directed staff to reduce user fees and establish a reserve fund where excess revenue can be deposited each year to be applied for future capital costs.

“The town is reducing it to about $20 a year (per household) and using that money to go into a streetlight reserve fund so we can make repairs and have extra money," said Mayor Steve Solomon. "It’s a tax break for us.”

When staff installed streetlights in Grand Valley, Monticello and Colbeck and the Mount Haven Crescent subdivision, staff established a program. Hence, property owners paid for those lights' ongoing operating and capital costs.

The program's annual costs have been similar in previous years, with 2020 being slightly lower because of electricity rate adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program cost just over $17,000 in 2019.

Administration notes, if council, for example, wants to have $20,000 per year in the reserves, each of the 909 households in town must contribute $2.50 to the account.

Factoring a $2,000 annual contribution to reserves, divided equally among the current number of households, along with anticipated operating costs for each area, the recommended fee structure would be $21.00 per year per property, Monticello and Colbeck $39.50 per year per household and Mount Haven subdivision of $15.00 per year per property. The total anticipated revenue would be about $20,455.50.

When town staff updated the streetlights, operating costs were less than estimated. As such, the capital repair and program requirements also decreased, allowing council to reduce user fees.

User fees are charged to each household in the functional areas. These charges are issued and collected on their last property tax bill of the year.

Previously, Grand Valley property owners paid $42, Monticello and Colbeck $45 and Mount Haven $79 in user fees annually.

Staff will monitor costs and the user fees reviewed as needed. Staff will also review it at least once per term of office to determine if increases are required to keep the program funded by households, ensure property taxes do not pay for streetlights and provide excess revenue is secured in reserves specific to the program.

Recreation survey results

A survey was conducted to gather feedback from recreation users.

About 73 per cent of survey respondents said they live in the urban area of Grand Valley, 19 per cent live in rural areas of the town, and eight per cent live in another municipality. The town received 324 responses.

The top three recreation activities were an outdoor ice rink, expansion of walking trails and a large playground for children. There was no statistically significant relationship between where people live. Commentators note they would like a dog park, mountain bike trails, a proper skateboard park, an outdoor pool and a pickleball court for league play.

Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner