RDEK Municipalities Exploring New Cost-Sharing Method for Planning on Rural Land

(Courtesy: RDEK)

Municipalities in the RDEK will get the chance to vote on a reduced cost-sharing system for the Electoral Area Planning Service, that if approved, would see them contribute less funding to land use planning in rural areas.

"The Planning Service provides land use planning in the rural areas and the Local Government Act establishes that all municipalities participate in that rural land use planning service," Shaw Tomlin told Summit 107, the Chief Administrative Officer with the Regional District of East Kootenay. "It also allows them to opt out of it or to contribute a reduced amount towards the cost through an agreement."

Nearly all municipalities have participated in the Electoral Area Planning Service, but the new agreements would now reduce costs even further. The service is specifically for land use in rural areas and would pertain to items such as Official Community Plans, Development Variance Permits, and further zoning bylaws or amendments.

"For quite some time the municipalities have been paying a reduced contribution to the service. What's being proposed now is for the municipalities to pay a further reduced cost and that it would be a fixed contribution so that they would know exactly what their annual payment would be," added Tomlin.

In order for the municipality to pay the reduced price, the respective City, Town or District Council would have to approve the funding model - which would be for a ten-year term - while the RDEK's Electoral Area directors would then approve the agreement at the RDEK level.

Tomlin said the new agreement is a fairly significant drop in percentage.

"All the municipalities collectively were paying 39% of the cost of the service, based on this formula, if they all opt-in to continue to participate they will collectively be paying about 24% of the service."

Tomlin explained that if municipalities decide to opt out they can still opt back in anytime they choose but the contributions from the remaining municipalities would be further reduced below the 24% total cost.

Sparwood and Elkford were the only municipalities in the RDEK to opt out of the Electoral Area Planning Service in August 2017, which is now in effect as of the 2018 calendar year. Tomlin said the new agreements if approved would then go into effect in 2019.

Although the cost may not be significant to the resident taxpayer, the municipalities are still bearing some of the cost for the land use planning in the RDEK's electoral areas. What municipalities and residents now need to decide on in the new agreement is if it is still worth contributing at a reduced cost so their RDEK representatives can vote on those decisions.

"It's balancing what the value is to residents in the municipalities because of course they are contributing to some of the cost and that's balanced against the value into having their elected representative able to vote on these land use decisions in the rural areas."

Tomlin said they are hopeful Elkford and Sparwood would have a decision by the February RDEK board meeting if they would like to opt back into the Electoral Area Planning Service, while the remaining municipalities have until the August deadline to either approve or opt out.

Here's a look at the old and new cost-sharing formula if Elkford and Sparwood decide to return and opt into the Electoral Area Planning Service:

Municipality/Electoral Area Current Cost-Sharing New Cost-Sharing
City of Cranbrook 14%  -  $111,680  -  $10 / $300k residence 8.6%  -  $69,499  -  $6 / $300k residence
City of Fernie 6.3%  -  $51,028  -  $10 / $300k residence 3.9%  -  $31,755  -  $6 / $300k residence
City of Kimberley 4.4%  -  $35,901  -  $10 / $300k residence 2.8%  -  $22,341  -  $6 / $300k residence
District of Sparwood 4.9%  -  $39,711  -  $10 / $300k residence 3.1%  -  $24,712  -  $6 / $300k residence
District of Elkford 3.4%  -  $27,415  -  $10 / $300k residence 2.1%  -  $17,060  -  $6 / $300k residence
Jumbo Glacier Resort 0.0%  -      $32     -  $10 / $300k residence 0.0%  -     $20      -  $6 / $300k residence
District of Invermere 4.3%  -  $34,479  -  $10 / $300k residence 2.7%  -  $21,456  -  $6 / $300k residence
Village of Radium 1.7%  -  $13,788  -  $10 / $300k residence 1.1%  -   $8,580   -  $6 / $300k residence
Village of Canal Flats 0.5%  -   $4,207   -  $10 / $300k residence 0.3%  -   $2,618   -  $6 / $300k residence
TOTAL 39%   -   $318,241  /  $809,635 24%   -   $198,041  /  $809,635
Electoral Area A 9%    -   $75,485   -  $20 / $300k residence 14%  -  $111,386  -  $30 / $300k residence
Electoral Area B 10%  -   $81,167   -  $20 / $300k residence 15%  -  $119,771  -  $30 / $300k residence
Electoral Area C 12%  -   $98,928   -  $20 /  $300k residence 18%  -  $145,980  -  $30 / $300k residence
Electoral Area D 5%    -   $39,568   -  $20 / $300k residence 7%    -   $58,387   -  $30 / $300k residence
Electoral Area E 21%  -  $171,273  -  $20 / $300k residence 31%  -  $252,732  -  $30 / $300k residence
Electoral Area F 3%    -   $24,974   -  $20 / $300k residence 5%    -   $36,851   -  $30 / $300k residence
TOTAL 61%   -   $491,394  /  $809,635 76%   -   $611,594   /  $809,635

Now here's a look at a similar 20/80 cost-sharing formula if Elkford and Sparwood decides to remain out of the Electoral Area Planning Service:

Municipality/Electoral Area New Cost-Sharing
City of Cranbrook 9.1%  -  $73,280  -  $7 / $300k residence
City of Fernie 4.1%  -  $33,482  -  $7 / $300k residence
City of Kimberley 2.9%  -  $23,557  -  $7 / $300k residence
District of Sparwood - - - - -
District of Elkford - - - - -
Jumbo Glacier Resort 0.0%  -     $21      -  $7 / $300k residence
District of Invermere 2.8%  -  $22,624  -  $7 / $300k residence
Village of Radium 1.1%  -   $9,047   -  $7 / $300k residence
Village of Canal Flats 0.3%  -   $2,761   -  $7 / $300k residence
TOTAL 20%   -   $164,767  /  $809,635
Electoral Area A 12%  -   $99,060   -  $27 / $300k residence
Electoral Area B 13%  -  $106,517  -  $27 / $300k residence
Electoral Area C 16%  -  $129,825  -  $27 / $300k residence
Electoral Area D  6%   -   $51,926   -  $27 / $300k residence
Electoral Area E 28%  -  $224,763  -  $27 / $300k residence
Electoral Area F  4%   -   $32,773   -  $27 / $300k residence
TOTAL 80%   -   $644,864   /  $809,635

- Bradley Jones

Audio: Shawn Tomlin, RDEK Chief Administrative Officer

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