Rossland Council has given developers another break which will ultimately be at the expense of taxpayers. At a recent meeting, Council decided not to consider a revised Development Cost Charge (DCC) bylaw until 2011. The ostensible reason given for the delay was the “infrastructure assessment” that is to be undertaken this year.
The “infrastructure assessment” consists of two phases. Phase 1 is a pavement condition assessment of all the roads in Rossland. Phase 2 will
include the results of the pavement condition assessment in the existing
Geographical Information System (GIS) database.
None of the DCC projects involve the condition of the existing roads. Thus
the “infrastructure assessment” provides absolutely no basis for delaying
amendment of the DCC bylaw because it has nothing to do with any proposed DCC projects. Waiting for completion of the “infrastructure assessment”
simply provides Council with a convenient excuse to off-load costs that
should be paid by developers onto the tax bill paid by homeowners.
DCCs are fees the City can collect from new development to help pay the cost
of off-site infrastructure services that are needed to accommodate growth.
DCCs are generally collected in advance of the need to install the
infrastructure services required by new development. The priority for DCC
projects is determined by the amount of development occurring. The priority
is not determined by the condition of existing infrastructure.
Council was informed in the spring of 2007 that the DCC bylaw then in place
needed to be updated to reflect increasing construction costs over those that
existed when the current bylaw was amended in February 2006. A draft DCC
bylaw was presented to Council in June 2008 by consultants hired by the City
at a cost of $50,000 to review the existing bylaw. Public consultation was
undertaken and a revised version of the consultants report was submitted to
the City in July 2009. This revised report was not circulated to Council
until June 2010. No explanation for this delay has been provided to Council.
By the time Council gets around to considering the DCC bylaw, the information
provided by the consultant will be outdated and the whole process will have
to be redone. The money spent for the current review has been wasted. DCCs
that are collected from on-going development at the current low rates will
not be enough to pay for the projects required to support development in the
future. The result will be taxpayers paying the difference.
Taxpayers in Rossland have subsidized development in Rossland to the tune of over $2,000,000 already. Delaying the review of the DCC bylaw will only increase that subsidy. I think Council needs to think about who they are