Prince Edward County Council has recently adopted new bylaws for growth funding charges. These will help to pay for infrastructure and services that support new development in the municipality.
Council approved the Development Charges Background Study as well as the bylaws to impose Development Charges in the following service areas:
- Services related to a highway
- Ambulance services
- Fire protection services
- Parks and recreation services
- Waste diversion services
- Library services
- Long term care services
Development charges are fees imposed on land development and redevelopment projects. Those funds are used by the municipality to cover capital costs associated with residential and non-residential growth within the municipality, ensuring that growth pays for growth.
The background study, which is required under provincial legislation — Development Charges Act — examined anticipated residential and non-residential growth over the next 20 years, including the location of development, population, housing, and employment projections. Based on those projections, the municipality determined the increase in need for service that is required.
Development charges do not cover the full cost of building new infrastructure like roads, bridges, and buildings. The County relies on property taxes and funding from higher levels of government to cover the portion the new infrastructure that benefits existing development.
Speaking to the amount of money that will fall to tax-payers due to new development charges was Councillor Janice Maynard.
“My concern is under financial considerations, where the report details the cost to taxpayers of this phase in of the development charges,” said Maynard. “So, it says there will be a 20 per cent reduction in year one. So, that was $400,000 that will cost the ratepayers….can you speak to this?”
Director of Finance, Amanda Carter, confirmed this accounts for approximately one per cent of the tax levy.
“We’re looking at what development happened in 2022 and using $400,000 in the following year to finance those exemptions,” said Carter.
Referring to Bill 23, a recent piece of provincial legislation that will affect municipal development charges, Maynard expressed concern.
“I think it’s important for people to know this legislation is costing our taxpayers roughly a one per cent increase in their taxes,” stated Maynard.
The growth-related portion of expanded water and wastewater infrastructure will continue to be recovered in two ways:
- In the Wellington urban serviced area, costs are recovered through the area-specific development charges by-law 90-2021.
- All other growth-related costs of water and wastewater services are recovered through connection charges imposed under the authority of the Municipal Act.
Councillor Kate MacNaughton inquired as to whether or not the development charges are prescriptive.
“Are they (the development charges) relatively prescribed?” MacNaugton asked.
Carter confirmed that not only is they determined based on a prescriptive framework but that they are affected by Bill 23.
“The development charges framework is very prescriptive, as were the mandates handed down through Bill 23 that affected the development charges,” Carter explained.
Based on the projects moving through the planning system today, the municipality anticipates seeing thousands of new housing units built by 2030. As part of that growth, a wider mixture of housing types, and rental buildings is projected.