Lacombe Councillor proposes redevelopment levy to cover infrastructure costs

Counc. Jacobson says this has the potential to ease tax burden off community long-term

Lacombe Councillor Jonathan Jacobson is hoping a possible new levy could help cover future residential infrastructure costs in the City of Lacombe without impacting the taxpayer.

At a Feb 10 council meeting, Jacobson made a notice of motion stating: ““That Council direct administration to research and present options for instituting a redevelopment levy in strategic areas of the city”.

Jacobson said this motion was part of why he ran for city council and says this new levy would remove uncertainty from infill redevelopment in Lacombe by having developers and home buyers pay a levy when they receive their development permits which would cover future costs of infrastructure in the neighbourhood they are purchasing in.

“I have often thought that an off-site levy system, which we apply to new developments to cover all the services, shared roads and infrastructure, can be applied to infill development,” he said.

“The people who buy newly redeveloped homes ultimately pair their fair share for the infrastructure needed to develop homes.”

The levy would go towards necessary infrastructure improvements that the City would be on the hook for anyway. By applying the upgrades to a levy rather than the taxpayer, homeowners and developers would pay for infrastructure upgrades in their own neighbourhood.

“That goes into a fund that builds up over time. Whenever council decides to institute redevelopment, the funds are already in place and paid for by the people who bought and live in that subdivision,” Jacobson said.

“This is a very focused, well-managed program to make sure upgrades in a neighbourhood are paid for by the people who buy and live in these upgraded homes.”

Jacobson, who works as a developer, said the most common infrastructure needs in a community are properly paved laneways for multifamily dwelling and properly sized sewer pipes.

Jacobson said the levy would have the potential of developers and buyers not wanted to redevelop homes in neighbourhoods that require extensive infrastructure improvements — but he says the City will eventually be on the hook for these costs eventually anyway and this would paint a clearer picture on what potential costs would be.

“Putting a price on that now sends a much clearer signal to the market,” he said. “It is a much fairer signal and it has the principle that the people buying and living in these newly developed homes are paying for the infrastructure that is needed to serve them properly.

“That burden is not being hoisted out on people who haven’t asked for this or all of the taxpayers in the City of Lacombe.”

The notice of motion will be discussed at the next meeting of council.

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