Council to consider ‘growth pays for growth’ approach for development

Municipality of Chatham-Kent staff is recommending a consultant be hired to undergo a development charges background study and community benefits study.

A report, which is set to be before Council at their Monday, October 19, 2020 electronic meeting, recommends Watson & Associated Economists Ltd. be directly appointed to undertake both studies in the amount of $60,000.

Staff is recommending the total project cost be funded from future development charges.

“In order to implement a growth pays for growth approach through development charges Council must comply with the requirements of the Development Charge Act and associated regulation O.Reg. 82/98, as amended,” a staff report indicates.

“This includes preparing a development charges background study comprising a forecast of anticipated development, determining eligible services, estimating increased needs for each service, measuring 10-year historical level of service, developing an asset management plan for projects included in the study and rules for imposing the calculated charges.”

Staff says the final determination if Chatham-Kent will enact further development charges, beyond water and wastewater, is Council’s decision, adding that approving this report “only begins the study process and dialogue.”

“It is anticipated that the entire process will take seven months,” staff said in a report.

“Chatham-Kent’s current residents can no longer have growth cost added to their existing property tax bills. Property taxes of existing homeowners in Chatham-Kent, including low income families and seniors, have subsidized new growth construction for far too long.”

Staff say currently, across Ontario, over 200 of the 444 municipalities
have development charges and collect approximately $2.5-billion in cost recovery funding for growth.

“To which Chatham-Kent has ignored for two decades,” a staff report indicates.

“As a result, Council priorities have been sacrificed to be able to pass (reasonable) tax increases and fund growth projects. In municipalities where development charges are fully implemented, development charges usually account for less than 5% of the price of a new home. Properly funded growth plans facilitate a greater pace of growth and is welcomed by the developers of subdivisions.”

In a briefing note from the September 28, 2020 Council strategy session on growth, Bruce McAlister, acting general manager of community development, said development in Chatham-Kent is at it’s all time highest.

“Yet the cost to develop services is spread across the tax base versus developers or rate payers,” McAllister said.

“It is highly recommended that Chatham-Kent consider introducing some additional development charges to have a portion of ‘growth pay for growth’ in order to help expedite needed infrastructure spending.”

Read the full staff report, here.

Monday’s Council meeting begin at 6 p.m. It will be LIVE streamed, here.

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