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City DCC reserves dwindle while review delayed

City of Revelstoke has almost no money left in road and sewer development cost charge funds
The City of Revelstoke used up its development cost charge funds for roads to build the roundabout last year. ~ Revelstoke Review file photo

A study of the City of Revelstoke’s development cost charges may have to wait until next year because of a lack of consultants available.

“We are talking to a number of consultants about their availability to do this work. We’re trying to make sure we can get the right people looking at this for us,” Mike Thomas, the city’s director of engineering, told council during last week’s meeting. “Part of it is making sure the timing works for them as well because otherwise you’re not even going to get a proposal from them. We really have to work out who’s available when.

“I’m hoping to have something back to council by the end of this year, but it might go forward to early next year.”

Council received a brief report on the state of the city’s DCC accounts last week. DCCs are funds collected from developers that are earmarked towards certain projects.

The city has three DCC funds — for roads, water and sewer.

The report shows the city started 2016 with $545,145 in its water fund, collected $75,213 in revenue and didn’t spend any money on water projects from DCCs.

For sewer, the city started the year with only $196 in its DCC fund. The city collected $131,751 ($15,000 of that was from an internal loan) and spent $127,782, leaving it with only $4,221 in the fund.

The road fund, which sat at $943,108 at the start of 2016, was practically depleted by the highway intersection project. The city finished the year with $1,832 in the fund.

We stepped out of the council meeting briefly when the report was presented but left our recorder going to capture any comments. Mayor Mark McKee lamented the lack of members of the public and media in the room while the report was being discussed.

“I think it’s really important to get the message out to the community about development cost charges and the role they play in increasing capacity while not increasing the burden on the taxpayer,” he said. “Because the infrastructure that’s in place for current tax payers meets their needs, so when new development comes and needs new infrastructure for new capacity, that’s who pays for it.”

With the Ramada Inn and Mackenzie Village being built, it is likely the city will be collecting significant DCCs this year, but Tania McCabe, the city’s director of finance, did not know how much was received so far in 2017.

The city budget includes $500,000 in spending from DCCs to complete the highway intersection this year.

The city is allowed to borrow money to pay for DCC projects and pay them back from DCCs collected in the future.

“When you’re looking at projects that are coming in the future, what we’re doing this year is doing an update to the DCC bylaw to make sure that the amounts that are collected are going to be enough so when those projects need to be upgraded to meet demand, the money’s going to be there,” said McKee.

Last November, Thomas presented a report to council saying the city was looking at $54 million in DCC-funded projects over the next 15 years — much of which is supposed to pay for a new or upgraded sewer treatment plant. He also warned of the lack of reserves.