KT Council meeting notes: 11/16/20

Nov 23, 2020

There were a minimum of three areas of interest to me in the November 16 meeting of King Township’s Council.  The first was Debbie Schaefer‘s resolution that she will present to Council at their next meeting on November 30.  As I recall the content of this resolution is the objective of setting a maximum of 2 1/2 tons of GGH for gas fired electrical generators.  This resolution will also identify phasing out of all of these gas fired generators by the year 2030.

Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority

The second area of interest reviewed by the Council was a presentation by Mike Walters from the Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority.  He outlined several action outcome priorities that are included in his strategic plan.  These include such concepts as;

–– improving water quality and quantity,
–– increasing natural heritage systems,
–– making communities safer healthier and more connected to the natural environment,
–– engaging our communities to achieve a balance between social economic and ecological needs,
–– achieve social achieve success through partnerships innovation and engagement,
–– and monitor and report our progress to our partners and the community.

I did not fully understand the purpose of Mr. Walters presentation beyond being an education session for Council members.  One specific area of that Mr. Walters focused on was monitoring and managing the floodplain in the watershed of Lake Simcoe.  I’m not sure how this influences King Township outside of the marsh.  His flood emergency map should have a special interest to those involved in activities on the Holland Marsh and potentially elsewhere in the north half of our Township.

CCKT is developing a contemporary understanding of the Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority and will focus attention on how it’s activities influence the north half of King Township and how it’s guidelines influence how our wetlands, woodlands and ANSIs are protected over the coming years, in conjunction with the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plans.  The recent Federal Government’s announcement of $16 million contribution to a $40 million dollar plant for phosphorus management on the Holland Marsh suggests that the influence of the Lake Simcoe watershed on King activities and development needs our attention.

Mr. Walters is retiring after 36 years at the Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority, so it may be a good time to make contact with the new CAO when that position is filled in the near future.  Here is a map of Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority‘s watershed and how it influences King Township.  This authority owns two known pieces of property in King, specifically the village green in Kettleby called Trywitt Park and the Thornton Bales (99 steps) Conservation Park located on Side Road 19.  FYI Thornton Bales has its own strategic plan and an operating budget between $15000 and $20,000 a year.  They also identify that they own other lands throughout the catchment area of the watershed which they manage. This includes scrub land that overtime could be rehabilitated into the forest land or farmland as it matches their strategic plan objectives.  Perhaps this is something that CCKT could identify and monitor so that we are aware of the how involved Lake Simcoe Regional Conservation Authority is in King Township.

DEVELOPMENT CHARGES

The third presentation of interest in this November 16 meeting was made by Dan Elliot interim manager of revenue for King Township. He presented a detailed review of development charges.  The reason for this presentation was that the existing bylaw expires if not replaced by January 24, 2021.  There will be a developer consultation on November 27 and a public consultation presumably part of the Council’s November 30 meeting. This seems to be a short window of time but if the bylaw is not replaced developers may have a free hand and may not be required to submit development charges for their projects.

Development charges are imposed by the development charge act of the province and local bylaw a King Township.  It is a primary to tool of the municipality to impose costs of growth related infrastructure upon growth development i.e. developers.  Its goal is to minimize existing taxpayers from funding growth related infrastructure.  Unit costs are identified by urban single family unit, i.e. on sewage and water, and by square footage for industrial and retail projects. Rural residential had its own cost per unit.  King Township for a single residential lot urban is approximately $39,000 second highest in York Region.  Vaughan is the highest at $54,000 for an urban single-family unit.

Development charges fund costs of expanding infrastructure capacity to meet service needs of growth communities:

–– point parks and recreation-new facilities,
–– libraries, including expansion of collection
–– fire and emergency services
–– road and related services
–– water services
–– waste water services
–– stormwater services
–– growth related studies and master plans.

From a macro point of view, it appears to me that development charges are equivalent to the capital budget for the township while property taxes provide revenue for the operating budget of the township. I don’t think that is consistent across all issues as you can see in the table below some of the development charges are transferred to the operating budget.

During 2019, development charges collected a total of almost $5.8 million with an additional income of $350,000 based on interest.  Development charge funding allocations to capital acquisitions and projects in 2019 totalled almost $4.1 million.  As indicated in the table below total development charge revenue funds balance increase to $16.1 million to support growth related costs as set forth in the township’s development charge supported capital plan.
Continuity of development charge reserve funds paragraph

–– opening balance $14,529,286
–– development charge collections $5,815,479
–– development charge credits. ($43,105)
–– Interest earnings. $350,593
–– funding allocation to capital an operating bracket ($4,554,944)
–– closing balance $16,097,308

Mr. Elliott identified that development charges are not the same thing as land submitted by the developer for use of by Parks and Recreation.  If the developer does not have enough land to submit for Parks and Recreation they can contribute Cash in Lieu so that the township can buy land required for Parks and Recreation.  During 2019, Parkland fees collected a total of almost $5.3 million with an addition interest funds of $66,000.  The amount of Cash in Lieu funding allocations to capital acquisition and projects in 2019 totalled almost $5.5 million for the purchase of the Nobleton Public School lands which totally drained the reserve fund.  The reserve fund in 2019 showed a deficit of $18,454.

To me these seem to be significant dollar values.  I understand that it is not the developers responsibility to remain involved to determine how the dollars are allocated in the community across capital projects.  To them development charges are just another tax, a cost of doing business.  I do not know what these development charges are in proportion to the operating budget for the Township; nor do I understand decisions made to allocate dollars across various capital projects in the township nor who was involved in allocating these capital dollars.  Clearly this is an area of concern to CCKT and I argue that we need to expand our understanding of Mr. Elliott’s presentation so that we have a fully transparent knowledge of how these dollars are allocated.

CCKT Notes by Tom Butt