Notes from Council, September 30, 2022

Dear Residents & Ratepayers,

While Division 6 contains three recreation districts and three fire districts, I had the pleasure of attending the District 20 (Champion) Fire Protection Association meeting at the end of August. Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, I was not able to attend their meeting on September 27th. I can report, however, that tickets are now available for the District 20 Fire Protection Association Annual Fundraiser on November 5th and will be available until October 28th. Doors will open at the Champion Community Hall at 4:30 PM; the meal and silent auction are unlikely to disappoint. Please come out for an enjoyable evening in support of our volunteer fire protection service in the Champion District. All district fire halls provide integrated fire protection for the whole of Vulcan County, when and as required. The fundraising efforts of even one fire association remains a critical piece in maintaining affordable levels of service for municipal partners, as well as updated equipment purchases for our volunteers.

At the September 7th meeting of County Council, Administration brought forward options on recreation funding for mandatory community associations in grouped country residential developments. I believe one scenario has merit. In this scenario (Scenario 3), community associations of a significant and clearly defined assessment threshold for private grouped country residential developments will qualify for a recreation grant. Mandatory community associations are normally established at the earliest stages of subdivision to ensure that they become the corporate entity that inherits operation of critical capital-intensive infrastructure for water and wastewater service from developers. Additionally, these community associations often provide recreational amenities that promote community growth in Vulcan County, growth that brings with it significant economic and regional benefit (stable high-value taxable assessment and new customers for local services).

In recognition of their unique role in community growth—as well as their important role in providing what would ordinarily be critical municipal services in an urban setting—it is my view these associations could qualify for a clearly defined recreation grant based on a percentage of the monies raised by recreation levy off their own lands. While this will mean a very moderate increase, overall, in the dollars raised by recreation levy in the specific districts where these associations exist (i.e., $12.38 or $4 per $250,000 of taxable assessment in Scenario 3), this type of grant would promote sustainability by ensuring that all ratepayers of the development are paying into the viability of its community association. Vulcan County has a vested interest in the success of these associations and recreation levies have always existed to promote community growth and attraction through shared services. However, most of County Council is of a different opinion and I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter. Feel free to phone or email me as I am happy to discuss in more detail.

Have an enjoyable Thanksgiving with family and friends this October!


Christopher Northcott

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