Minto development charges amended to offset county increase

Commercial and industrial developers will be getting a break on municipal de­velopment charges, but the same cannot be said for residential developments here.

Minto council held a public meeting on proposed changes to its development charges bylaw – but no one other than council and staff was there to speak to the issue.

The bylaw changes the cost for non-residential development to $1.01 per square foot in urban areas, and $0.69 per square foot in rural areas.

Treasurer Gord Duff said the bylaw has had quite a history, but the most recent proposed amendment was a direct result of Wellington County increasing development charg­es for the upper tier level of government.

The spin-off was another addition to the charges paid by local developers. At that time, in 2005, Minto chose to keep its charges as low as possible.

Since then, further discussions at the economic development committee resulted in a proposed decrease to commercial and residential development and to index the residential rates.

Councillor Rick Hembly considered the proposal a “great idea” to give Minto a more competitive edge in attracting industry, commerce, and jobs.

Mayor David Anderson said,  “We found that with the increase at the county level [combined with other existing development charges], we were out-pricing ourselves in the market, especially in the north.”

Even though there is agreement that development charges are needed, Anderson believes the current proposal met the issue halfway.

In 2005, Minto passed its development charges bylaw. It expires in 2010 and at that time a study and more public meetings will be required to calculate new rates.

“Past and previous councils have wished to promote development in the town of Minto. The indexation provision has not been utilized on any class of charges.”

In 2008, Wellington County significantly increased its de­velopment charges on all af­fected properties. Council and staff made  presentations to the county stating Minto believes high non-residential char­ges are a barrier to growth in the municipality.

At the same time, council recognized residential char­ges are quite low and should be brought up to date using the indexing provision of its bylaw.

For urban homes, local de­velopment charges will be in­dexed to move up from the current $2,527 to $2,875.

In rural areas, the costs will move up from $1,810 to $2,059.

On the commercial / industrial side charges are dropping by roughly a third.

In urban areas the costs will drop from $1.52 per square foot to $1.01, and in urban areas drop from $1.04 to $0.69.

The move follows on discussions held late last year in the wake of the proposed county increase.

Minto was concerned that the demographics of Welling­ton County would mean the increased costs would have far different impacts throughout area.

Council had no doubt the increased county charges would allow southern municipalities to remain competitive with its neighbours, but the argument was made those are not the municipalities Minto is competing with for development dollars.

Minto’s competition for development, for example,  in­cludes North Perth and areas immediately to the north, west and east.