| May 15, 2019

Development Charges: Bill 73 and Beyond

Claire Dodds, Director of Public Services, introduced consultant Gary Scandlon, Director of Watson & Associates, who was contracted in January to assist the Township in updating and renewing its development charges by-law, which must be completed by September 3rd.

Development Charges, previously known as “lot levies” became formalized in 1989 in Bill 73: these are charges the municipality can levy to recover the capital costs associated with residential and non-residential development (eg, fire protection, police services, waste management, parks, recreation and libraries). In 1997 the Harris government lowered the amount that could be recovered from 100% to 75%.

Bill 108, which is pending, proposes to remove a number of “soft” services previously eligible for funding from development charges: hospitals, municipal staff offices, arts, culture, libraries, parks, recreation and waste diversion. They would be shifted to a new “Community Benefits” category (details currently unclear). Bill 108 would also lock in the rate of the development charge on the day before the building permit is issued, and permit it to be payable in instalments over six years. Scandlon suggested these changes could open the system up to abuse, and would lead to a significant revenue loss for the Township, decrease cash flow, and increase bookkeeping and other demands on staff time.

Despite these looming changes, provincial regulations dictate that South Frontenac still has to move forward on updating its current Development Charges by-law by the beginning of September.

Next steps: May 31 - Release of Background Study and Draft By-law to public; June 19-Development Charges Open House; July 2-Public Meeting; August 6-Council Consideration of By-law.

(Scandlon’s full report can be read in the COW agenda notes for May 14. It includes survey results, capital cost projections and rate comparisons.)

For Something Completely Different: Cowboy Mounted Shooting

(If you have to ask, check out the video in the agenda notes on the township website: some impressive riding and shooting!)

Philip Smith and Jaime Lloyd came to Council, requesting a letter stating that they were not violating any regulations or by-laws by establishing a private practice range for the two of them to practice their sport, which is similar to barrel racing but includes the challenge of shooting ten balloons while riding a set obstacle course. Although they will be using actual firearms, there will be no live ammunition: the balloons are broken by sparks from black powder blanks. The sparks have a maximum range of 20 feet; the horses wear earplugs; Smith and Lloyd have held a meeting with their neighbours to address their concerns and the Board of the neighbouring Piccadilly arena has no objections. Council will make their formal decision at next week’s meeting, but seemed to have no serious objections.

Fermoy Hall: Next Steps

Fermoy Hall, located in Bedford district and built in 1866, may be one of the oldest municipal halls in the Township. It is still in sound shape, even has the original stage, which was an important part of most community halls in the last century. However, the walls are covered with a skim coat of asbestos-laden plaster. A year ago, Council adopted the Heritage Committee’s recommendation that the hall be considered for future listing as a place of cultural significance, and allocated funding for a restoration expert’s report. The report recommended removing the existing plaster, and replacing it with ‘something that closely matches the original treatment”. The Fermoy community has expressed their wish to bring the hall back to life. Committee of the Whole recommended that Council release as much of the current Project Account fund as is necessary for clean-up and remedial work, and look to the community to develop future plans for the hall.

Strategic Planning Online Survey

Coming soon: an opportunity to tell Council how you want them to spend your tax dollars. Watch for more info in the Township’s weekly notes in the Frontenac News.

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