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Bylaws   Item #
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
C-1107-20 - Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment - Second Reading - Levasseur
Planning & Infrastructure
Strategic Vision Element:
This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan
Request for Decision Summary
The purpose of this report is to seek second reading to the C-1107-20 - Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment. This bylaw is being amended in 2020 to include a section dedicated to Stormwater Utilities and a new reference to the Fees and Charges Bylaw which identifies a Stormwater Utility Fee.
That second reading be given to Bylaw C-1107-20 - Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment.
The City of Spruce Grove currently provides stormwater services to residents, businesses and other organizations within the City boundaries. The City's stormwater network includes infrastructure and assets such as: stormwater management facilities (Ponds - dry and wet), culverts, open ditches, underground stormwater pipes, catch basins, manholes, etc. As with all assets (infrastructure) a planned lifecycle program is necessary to ensure the network is working correctly, being inspected and having regular maintenance and upgrades completed in a timely manner.
The City currently funds this work through the general property taxes rather than a dedicated utility charge. Using the general property taxes as a source of funding means that the stormwater network competes with all other maintenance and funding needs of the City.
As a result, the work that should be going into maintenance and lifecycle programs is not always completed and may be delayed. This is a risk to the City, as a non-functioning stormwater network could result in flooding, may cause damage to public, and private properties and pose a threat to the safety of the public. This is amplified with the intensity of the storms the region has witnessed in the last number of years.
In the spring of 2019, the City engaged CORVUS Business Advisors to research and provide a recommendation on how the City can ensure our stormwater network is funded so that stormwater issues are dealt with now and in the future. As a result, a Stormwater Utility fee was proposed by CORVUS for the City of Spruce Grove. The Stormwater Utility fee would ensure dedicated funding for the stormwater network ensuring that maintenance, upgrades and associated lifecycle work could be funded when needed (this is not currently being done within the City). Stormwater utility fees are currently being used by other municipalities within the region.
To implement a new Stormwater Utility Fee an amendment to the Municipal Utility Services Bylaw was required. The amendment included adding a section in the Municipal Utility Services Bylaw that dealt with stormwater and a reference to the Fees and Charges Bylaw was required. The section added to the Municipal Utility Services Bylaw now has all stormwater related issues located in one section rather than spread throughout different sections of the bylaw. It also provides more details on the stormwater network.
Council may request amendments to this bylaw. This can be done through the following motion:
That the motion for second reading of C-1107-20 - Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment be referred back to Administration to incorporate Council's feedback.
If this option is chosen, second and third reading will be brought back at the March 23, 2020 Regular Council Meeting for consideration. It is recommended that third reading be given by March 23, 2020 to allow for an April 1, 2020 implementation. If not approved by this date, a revenue variance will be noted in the 2020 budget.
Council may choose to defeat this bylaw at second reading. This would mean utility fees would not be charged and costs would continue to be recovered from the general property taxation rather than a dedicated stormwater stormwater utility fee. This would leave the stormwater network competing with other initiatives in the corporate planning process. Maintenance for the stormwater network would be left as reactive with some scheduled maintenance being completed when funding allows.
If Council does not approve this amending bylaw then C-1108-20 - 2020 Fees and Charges Bylaw Amendment would not be required.
The work to amend this bylaw was a cooperative effort that included representatives from Finance, Public Works, Engineering, City Clerk's office and Communications.
A non-statutory public hearing on this matter is scheduled to take place earlier on the March 9, 2020 agenda. This action will allow for Council to further understand the impact to and the concerns of the public prior to giving further consideration to the implementation of a Stormwater Utility Fee.
First reading was giving and passed during the February 24, 2020 council meeting. If second reading is passed, C-1107-20 - Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment will be brought to Council for a third reading on March 23, 2020.
The City’s webpage includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) in regards to the stormwater network and Stormwater Utility Fee.
The Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment will contain a consolidated section that deals strictly with stormwater. It will also establish a fee that will be identified in the 2020 Fees and Charges Bylaw Amendment. This will be a new fee that is proposed to be implemented in the 2
nd quarter of 2020. The establishment of this fee will represent a more dedicated sustainable funding mechanism for the future sustainability of the stormwater network.