by Calli Stromner
Council unanimously passed first reading of a revised offsite levy bylaw which paves the way for additional revenue to be brought in to municipal government coffers if it successfully gets through the legislative process.
An offsite levy is a essentially a development tax that can be levied to pay for critical municipal infrastructure such as storm sewers, sanitary sewers, water lines and roadways. It is a fee often paid by developers to a municipality to mitigate the growth impacts that new development has on new or expanded municipal infrastructure. The fee is a one-time charge that only pays for capital, not ongoing maintenance or operational costs, said Planning and Development Manager Greg Hoffmann.
“It is a cornerstone bylaw for any municipality to establish a method for development to pay for growth and development,” said Hoffmann, noting that Council approved the current bylaw in May 2009 (replaced previous Bylaw 29/2003) and the Municipal Government Act stipulates that the bylaw must be reviewed and updated with the most recent information on a regular basis.
Total offsite levy charges for new development in Morinville will range between $87,000 and $221,675 per hectare if the bylaw is approved. The new offsite levy rates will apply to 28 offsite levy areas encompassing approximately 600 hectares of currently undeveloped land within town boundaries.
The transportation portion of the proposed offsite levy bylaw will increase by 6 per cent to approximately $59,000 per hectare. The water rate is $21,734 per hectare which represents a 24 per cent reduction from 2009. Neither storm water nor sanitary sewer offsite levies were included in the 2009 bylaw and are now included in the proposed offsite levy bylaw. Developers building south of the railroad tracks will pay between $80,000 and $131,575 per hectare; developments north of the railroad tracks will only pay $6,676 per hectare. Similarly, new developments that are built north of the railroad tracks will not have to pay off-site levies for storm sewer infrastructure, but those planned on the south side will see a $9,122 per hectare charge.
The Town will now seek input from land developers, land owners and other key stakeholders prior to second reading of the bylaw.