Despite their ongoing concerns over the process for local improvement charges (LICs), city councillors Samson Hartland and Betty Irwin joined the rest of council Tuesday in passing a bylaw.
It’s for the charge to be levied against property owners who will benefit from major upgrades to Alexander Street and nearby areas next year.
“The whole process still bothers me,” Irwin said at this week’s council meeting, echoing sentiments expressed by Hartland.
Under the LIC process, benefiting property owners pay for a portion of the surface work when improvements are to be made.
Ballots are sent to property owners to vote on the project, with unreturned ballots considered to be in favour.
If there was a vote of more than 50 per cent against an LIC, it does not go forward.
As Irwin pointed out, in this case, it means the two ballots that were returned – both showing support for the project – spoke for the entire 22 impacted.
Hartland and Irwin acknowledged that since the process is set out in territorial legislation through the Municipal Act, the city cannot change it.
However, Hartland suggested that the next time there is a territorial review of the Municipal Act, efforts be made for changes to the LIC process.
Along with the vote, a public hearing on the LIC was held. There, only one person addressed council, simply looking for more information on the proposed project.
The plans – estimated at a total of $3.2 million – would include:
• replacement of water and sewer mains to meet current infrastructure standards and increase capacity;
• installation of water recirculating services to replace services that bleed in order to meet current frost protection standards and to improve distribution efficiency;
• enhanced street lighting and landscaping;
• new sidewalks and angled parking on both sides of the road;
• frost-susceptible soils removed, with new asphalt for the roadway; and
• curb and gutter construction to improve drainage.
Benefiting property owners
The LIC would see benefiting property owners contribute a total of $475,000 for the surface work, with individual property owners paying between $2,159.67 and $44,954 over a 15-year period.
The exact charge per property owner is based on the amount of frontage and what type of property it is.
The charge for residential and not-for-profits would be $633.33 per metre of frontage.
Commercial property owners would pay $1,266.67 per metre of frontage, and finally, governments would pay $1,900 per metre.
The work is proposed for next year.