Staff presented an update of the Flood Control Program status including funding requirements at the April 8, 2019 General Committee meeting. Increases to Stormwater Fees were recommended to fund the program considering updated cost projections and grant funding sources. Staff was directed to evaluate additional resiliency projects to consider incorporating into the program, including rear-lot electrical service conversion/undergrounding.
At the September 3, 2019 General Committee meeting, staff reported on potential impacts to Stormwater Fees related to rear-lot service conversion/undergrounding and recommended that funding for such a program not be included in the Stormwater Fee.
At the September 24, 2019 Council Meeting, Council supported partial undergrounding should rate-based funding be approved in the future by the OEB. Additional minor projects to consider as part of the Flood Control Program were discussed and an amendment was referred to staff to advise Council on additional projects on an annual basis, including fee impacts.
Key resolutions included:
Staff presented a memorandum on the deferred report from the June 15, 2015, meeting on September 9, 2015, to the Mayor and Council. The memo summarized the follow-up discussion with Markham Board of Trade and included additional background information shared in relation to Staff recommendations on the Stormwater Fee.
Key resolutions included:
6. Billing of the annual Stormwater Fee for Non-residential property classes commence in 2016 at a rate of $29 per $100,000 of Current Value Assessment (CVA),
7. Billing of the annual Stormwater Fee for vacant land properties commence in 2016 at a rate of $29 per $100,000 of CVA,
8. Any property with a CVA of less than $100,000 shall not have a Stormwater Fee imposed upon it, and
9. By-law 2014-168 be revised with the Stormwater Fee By-law as outlined in Appendix A of the staff report
The City held a Council meeting to present an update to the Stormwater Fee non-residential consultation and City-wide implementation. The purpose of the meeting was to summarize the results and feedback from the communication engagement with the business community, summarize the evaluation of the billing system and communicate other recommended changes to the Stormwater Fee. Resolutions on the implementation of the fee were deferred to the September 16, 2015, Council meeting with the expectation that Staff meet with the Markham Board of Trade to discuss distribution of fee options in further detail and to identify a mutually agreeable approach.
The City held two meetings to obtain input from non-residential property owners on the various options for distributing their share (40%) of the City-wide Markham Flood Control Program costs. Owners and managers of non-residential properties (such as stores, businesses and offices) were encouraged to attend this dedicated consultation session to learn more about the program and to provide feedback on options for distributing fees to these properties. In the review of options, the Council-approved fee of $21 per $100,000 of Current Value Assessment (CVA) per non-residential property was identified as best meeting the Principles of Payment which are: 1) ability to pay, 2) equity/fairness in relation to runoff and 3) ease of administration and communication.
A presentation and report on Stormwater Fee implementation, billing system considerations, and feedback from the non-residential sector was made at the General Committee meeting held on November 17, 2014. Resolutions at the following Council meeting (November 25, 2014) included that the approved Stormwater Fee of $47 per residential property be included on the property tax bill effective 2015, and that the November 26, 2013 Council resolution be amended to include all properties in the City of Markham in Stormwater Fee billing. It was also resolved that implementation of the non-residential Stormwater Fee be delayed to 2016 until completion of the communication engagement process with the business community. This consultation is intended to seek input on methods of apportioning the non-residential share (40%) of the City-wide Markham Flood Control Program costs to non-residential properties.
A report on the award of the West Thornhill Phase 1A storm sewer and watermain replacement contract was made to General Committee. The report included review of flood control program costs considering higher project costs in the Phase 1A bid and the commitment to complete Phase 1 and Phase 2 area works within a 5-year period. To align fees with updated program funding requirements, annual fees for a 5-year period have been set at $47 per residential and multi-residential properties unit, and $29/$100,000 of current value assessment for non-residential properties.
A presentation on stormwater funding implementation and communication plans was made to General Committee. Implementation of the Stormwater Fees will include ongoing planning of the billing system, development of a fee bylaw, as well as system programming and testing. The communications plan will provide advanced notice of upcoming fees to support budgeting by businesses and residents, and will increase awareness of City-wide flood reduction strategy benefits and sustainable funding needs. Staff was directed to apply for grant funding through Infrastructure Ontario to off-set other funding sources.
A presentation on annual flood control strategy costs and the recommended Stormwater Fees was made to General Committee. The recommendations were endorsed by Council on November 26, 2013. Fees will be charged to all properties with a water account. Staff was authorized to develop the billing system with PowerStream, who would be responsible for account management, billing, revenue collection, and customer support. Annual fees for residential and multi-residential properties will be based on the number of units, while fees for con-residential properties will be based on the current value assessment. While stormwater fee billing implementation is planned for mid-2015, remediation project construction will continue through 2014 using existing funding sources.
A framework for allocation of Federal Gas Tax revenue for the period of 2014 to 2018 was presented to General Committee and was endorsed by Council on October 29, 2013. It was resolved that $2M annually be drawn from the Annual Gas Tax revenues beginning in 2014 and applied to the stormwater management funding. These Gas Tax contributions will help to reduce the annual funding requirement from the Stormwater Fee.
A report on the March-April 2013 Community Information Meeting feedback was presented to General Committee. The report indicated community support for a City-wide Stormwater Fee. Council authorized staff to develop an implementation plan to address the long-term flood control strategy and to report back on the fee structure and on a communications strategy. Funding options for the fee are to include and exclude Gas-Tax Funds.
Council made decisions related to the flood control strategy including:
A Special General Committee meeting was held to follow up on funding options introduced at the workshop and to recommend aspects of a City-wide flood control strategy. The strategy recommendations included an implementation timeframe with phasing of projects, level of service targets for drainage system capacity, and a range of funding sources.
Project needs, with a projected funding gap of over $150M, were presented at a Council workshop.