Why does the City need a dedicated fee for the storm water system?
The storm system is essential for drainage infrastructure and flood management. Maintenance and repairs to this system are currently underfunded. The introduction of a dedicated fee ensures that the system can be maintained and will continue to provide drainage and flood management for the city. The creation of a dedicated fund for the storm water system was a recommendation of the City’s asset management plan.
How have property owners been informed about this fee?
The City has been raising awareness and inviting feedback about the Storm Water Fee since last November. Residents were invited to discuss the storm water rate at the three budget open houses and presentations as well as provide feedback through shapeyourcitypenticton.ca. It was included in the December utility newsletter which is distributed to 11,000. Two additional focus groups are planned for Feb. 7 and 8 to provide further opportunities for property owners to learn more and provide feedback.
Why is the storm water fee on property taxes?
The storm system is currently funded by property taxes through the municipal general fund. The City is planning to continue funding storm water system through property taxes with the creation of a dedicated fee under City Services similar to the garbage and recycling fees.
Is this fee increasing my 2018 property taxes?
There is no increase to property taxes associated with the Storm Water Fee in 2018. Property owners will see a portion of their property taxes reassigned or moved over to the new Storm Water Fee on their upcoming 2018 property tax notice. Any future proposed increases would be managed through a review of the Fees and Charges Bylaw.
Why are you proposing to phase it in over seven years?
The City is recommending phasing the fee in over seven years to minimize the impact on the property owner. This will gradually create the funds to support the work on Penticton and Ellis Creeks. The total cost of Penticton Creek work is estimated at $30 million and the City has not yet completed an Ellis Creek Master plan so the cost is unknown. This work is expected to take 10 to 20 years. Once the work on the creeks is complete, this line item can be removed from the Storm Water Fee calculations. The Storm Water Fee will be reviewed periodically.
Why is creek restoration included in the scope of the storm water fund?
Our creeks are an important part of our drainage and flood management system. The storm water drains deposit the water collected into the creeks. This can damage the creeks if not managed. Funds collected through the storm water fee will be used to restore Penticton’s creeks to a more natural state while ensuring they continue to help with drainage and flood management.
What does this mean to renters?
By continuing to fund the system through property taxes, the fee is charged to the property owner. In most cases, landlords will not be able to directly pass the charge along to tenants. Landlords are free to increase rent by the amount allowed in the Landlord and Tenant Act at their discretion. In cases of commercial users with a Triple Net arrangement, the charge will be passed on to the tenant.
Will the storm water fee be billed monthly like a utility?
The storm water fee will be charged annually through property taxes similar to your garbage and recycling services.
Are non-taxable properties exempt?
The storm water fee will be billed as a City Service on your property taxes. City Services such as garbage and recycling are not exempt. Permissive, revitalization and statutory amounts are the only exemptions.