Bylaws    Item #   10. b.            
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 08/17/2020  
Title: C-1107-20 - Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment - Third Reading - Hussey
Department: Planning & Infrastructure
This topic relates to all three of the City’s strategic vision elements contained in Council’s Strategic Plan
n/a

Request for Decision Summary

Third reading of Bylaw C-1107-20 - Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment is proposed for Council's consideration. This bylaw will amend the Municipal Utility Services Bylaw to allow for the establishment of a new Stormwater Utility and reference of a fee in the Fees and Charges Bylaw.


Proposed Motion
That third reading be given to Bylaw C-1107-20 - Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment.
Background/Analysis
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 infrastructure assets, 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 competed 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 risk 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 fees 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 is required.  The proposed amendment includes adding a section in the Municipal Utility Services Bylaw that addresses stormwater and also includes a reference to the Fees and Charges Bylaw.  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.  
 

Initially the third reading for this bylaw amendment was to have been delivered in April 2020 but due to the COVID-19 Pandemic situation it was postponed until August.

Options/Alternatives
Council may request amendments to this bylaw.  This can be done through the following motion:
 
That the motion for third reading of C-1107-20-Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment be referred back to Administration to incorporate Council's feedback.

Council may choose to defeat this bylaw at third reading.  This would mean stormwater utility fees would not be charged and costs would continue to be recovered from the general property taxation than a dedicated 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 this action is chosen, a revenue variance will be noted in the 2020 budget.

If Council does not approve this amending bylaw then C-1108-20 - 2020 fees and charges Bylaw Amendment would not be required.
Consultation/Engagement

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 took place during the March 9, 2020 Council meeting.

Implementation/Communication

First reading was given and passed during the February 24, 2020 Council Meeting.  Second reading was given and passed during the March 9, 2020 Council Meeting.  During the March 9, 2020 Council Meeting a non-statutory public hearing was held.  If third reading is passed, C-1107-20-Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment will be approved and implemented in September 2020.

The City's webpage includes a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) in regards to the stormwater network and Stormwater Utility Fee.

Impacts
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 3rd quarter of 2020.  The establishment of this fee will represent a more dedicated sustainable funding mechanism for the future sustainability of the stormwater network.

Attachments-Y
C-1107-20-Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment
C-1107-20-Municipal Utility Services Bylaw Amendment - Redline Copy