Letter: Bruce County Responds to SEPO Concerns Over Proposed Development Charges

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The following letter was sent to the St Edmunds Property Owners Inc. Esecutive in reply to their letter re: proposed County Development Charges.

Hello St. Edmunds Property Owners, Inc. Executive.

Thank you for your letter regarding the County’s Development Charges (DCs) initiative.

DCs are not an additional tax on the rate payers of the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula. In fact, it is a fee charged to new development to offset the need to charge additional property taxes.

 The DCs collected are only permitted to be spent on the projects specifically included in the DC Background Study. (See Section 4, pages 60-75) The DC money is not permitted, by law, to be spent on any other projects and are not permitted to go into the County’s general spending. The Province requires the County to publish annual reports showing how much money was collected in DCs and what it was spent on. The Province also reviews these reports as part of their annual review of municipal financial reporting.

The intention is to charge DCs to new development to provide funds to improve our existing services as the new development adds increased population and pressures onto our existing services. Without DCs from new development we would have to increase property taxes up to 5.15% to offset the increasing pressure on our services from the new growth. DCs save property taxpayers money.

Some of the DC funded improvements in Northern Bruce Peninsula include:

-Trail improvements at Lindsay Tract (Appendix 1 below),

-Shoulder bicycle lanes from Lion’s Head to Wiarton,

-Early Years Program Space (potentially – pending County-wide analysis and review),

-New ambulance (identified in DC background study – funded from general County taxation due to lack of sufficient growth).

Affordable housing will be exempt from DCs. The Province included this exemption in Bill 23 More Homes Built Faster (2022) and the Province is expected to activate this exemption before the end of 2023. The County does not intend to charge DCs until 2024. DCs are not charged to a residential homeowner building a garage and there are additional exemptions for secondary buildings on a residential lot.

Additional information and presentations are posted to our DC webpage and here is a link to the presentation I made to Northern Bruce Peninsula Council – skip to 30:00. I am available for any other questions and comments and can be reached at ehenley@brucecounty.on.ca or 226-909-3110.

Sincerely,

Edward Henley

Director of Corporate Services and Treasurer