This was the last planned council meeting before the summer break. Barring any major developments - like York Region being broken up by the province, for example - Council will not meet again until September 11th. We had a special council meeting on June 5th which was combined with our regular Planning meeting where we approved a new Stormwater Management Rate which I'll discuss below. The highlights of this week include the new Roads Needs Study, the new Community Planning Permit System for Doctors Lane and Old King Road Block Plan Studies, and the 2024 Budget Planning.
You can watch the video here which will be live for two weeks.
• King City Craft Beer & Food Truck Festival - This is the largest event that King hosts all year attracting over 5,000 people. Thanks staff, volunteers, the Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club for their great effort in putting on such an amazing event and bringing so many people to see beautiful King.
• King Fire Ban Lifted - King's fire ban has been lifted but please continue to be careful. Pay attention to the conditions when doing outside burning and get a permit where necessary.
• Summer Library Program - There are over 170 programs available at the Library for all ages. Activities include Red Cross Babysitting, Stay Safe, Coding, Robots, Carboard Forts, Science Experiments, and much more. Plus, kids can earn prizes during July and August by getting a ballot for every book they read and entering draws. Visit www.KingLibrary.ca for more information.
• King Summer Camps - Registration is open for King's amazing summer camps. There are many new and exciting camps available for 2023. Register now so you don't miss out at king.ca/camps
• Schomberg Sidewalkable Saturdays - June 24th and July 22nd from 11am - 3pm - Schomberg Main Street businesses are bringing their stores to the sidewalk. Come ready to shop, eat, drink, and enjoy some fun activities. Sidewalk sales, food specials, music, local vendors, & more! Explore all that Schomberg Main Street has to offer & treat yourself. See you here!
• Canada Day in Kettleby - King celebrates Canada Day in Kettleby Park on July 1, 2023. Come enjoy food, music and a fireworks show. It is guaranteed fun for all ages. Bring your own food or purchase some at the event. There will be children's games, free cake, stage and grounds entertainment, historical tours of Kettleby and the event will end with a spectacular fireworks show.
• Government Finance Officers Association gave King Township the 2021 Canadian Award for Financial Reporting.
1) Stormwater Management Rate (from June 5th meeting)
Council approved a new Stormwater Management Rate charge which will be levied by the Township on property owners to help maintain aging infrastructure including:
28 Stormwater management facilities (ponds)
33 oil and gas separators
2,200 catch basins
100km of storm sewers
350km of roadside drainage ditches
In the past, King has not had a comprehensive plan for maintaining infrastructure, instead addressing issues as they arise. This is not a responsible strategy and will lead to infrastructure deterioration and property damage. Moreover, if King did not secure this new funding to be able to meet provincial requirements (Asset Management Requirements (O.Reg. 588/17) & Consolidated Linear Infrastructure - Environmental Compliance Approval (CLI-ECA)) the town would lose Gas Tax Funding and Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund.
The charge will be integrated into the tax billing program and will appear as a separate fee on your tax bill. The cost will be $97.21 for a residential property per $1M in assessed value. Farmland and Managed Forest property classes are exempt fro the stormwater management rate.
2) 2023 Roads Needs Study (from June 12th meeting)
This report includes the 10 year paving strategy and Pavement Management Plan Update, and the new Gravel Conversions Program and is conducted every two years. The town uses the report to determine which roads will get paved, restructured, re-paved and when.
I've heard from many of you that you are disappointed with the new 10 Year Paving Strategy and I share your frustration. I met with staff to review the findings and have been advised that a third-party engineer firm collected the data that informed the report and that it is a true reflection of the condition of the roads rather than personal opinion. Further, King's Head of Transportation spot checked the engineer reports to confirm their findings. As a result, Council did not challenge the report, but I did question King's Roads budget. For comparison purposes, consider that Caledon maintains 1,544km of roads and spent $12.6M in 2021 on operational expenses related to their roads, whereas King has 882km of roads and spent $2.4M in 2021. In other words, Caledon has 75% more roads but a 400% higher budget. If King is going to do a better job of addressing its roads, there needs to be more funding. This can be accomplished through raising taxes or using debt, but I prefer the idea of getting government grants which staff and I will be exploring.
The report did note that the next review should include an updated traffic study since the ones used to inform this report were conducted on various roads between 2019 and 2021. The report also notes that the next study should include truck traffic counts which the current report does not contemplate.
3) Doctors Lane and Old King Road Block Plan Studies
Council approved a new Community Planning Permit System (CPPS) to plan these two areas. This tool relies on upfront public consultation to help define a shared vision and inform decision making. CPPS moves a portion of Council's decision making authority upfront and streamlines the development review process without diminishing council's overall decision making authority. The Study Area visions will be implemented through Official Plan policies and CPPS by-laws that will guide future development and re-development.
CPPS is a land use planning tool that combines and replaces the traditional zoning and site plan development application processes into a single streamlined permit and application process. The CPPS is developed through community engagement to make sure it supports local priorities and reflects the community's vision for the area. It is similar to Zoning by-laws in that it sets out permitted land uses and zone standards including:
Minimum and maximum zone standards
Location and size requirements
Additional components such as affordable housing, landscaping and public art.
The next steps include:
Retain Consulting Services
Background Review and Directions Report
Block Plan Vision Report
Statutory Public Meetings
Official Plan Amendments
Community Planning Permit By-laws
Staff will report to Council in Q4 2023 to provide a status update on the Block Plan Studies and the CPPS.
4) 2024 Budget Planning
Staff are starting to compile the next budget and estimated a preliminary 2024 tax levy increase between 4-5% pending review and presentation of the budget. The 2024 budget will be presented to Council on November 27, 2023 and final approval on December 11, 2023. A Public Open House for the 2024 Budget is tentatively scheduled for November 15, 2023.
It is important to note the Township has strived to maintain budgets with tax levy increases far below inflation for several years. This has been accomplished largely through innovation and modernization that have driven efficiencies. While Township staff have already harvested the low hanging fruit, new regulatory and growth pressures make this approach no longer sustainable.
Staff identified a numbers of issues that relate to the need for a tax increase, including:
• Inflation currently estimated at 4.4%
• Fuel price and Utility increases continue from 2023
• Growth pressures with increase in development in King City and Nobleton areas
• Increase in insurance rates between 15-20% based on previous 3 years actual expenses
• Increase in base level funding for the Town Wide Recreation Centre (TWRC) operating budget for 2024 for $253,530 to establish the full annualized funding target of $934,060
• Estimates for Labour & Benefits
• Operating impact from previous approved capital projects for increased infrastructure added (i.e. Parks)
• Increase in funding allocation for the Growth and Infrastructure (Capital Tax Levy) Reserve Fund and the Infrastructure Reserve Fund of $250,000 per year.
• Potential Increase to staff complement in 2024
• Impacts to the paving strategy results
• Additional Climate Change initiatives
• Impacts of the Corporate Strategic Plan
• Asset Management and its funding requirements to meet legislative requirements
Council noted that the recent Citizen Survey revealed that residents would prefer to see service levels cut rather than increased taxes and directed staff to identify where those cuts could be made.
Ward 1/Councillor Cescolini - Asked Council to delegate authority to the Director of Public Works to complete the Community Safety Report that covers the entire township and implement the recommendations for Community Safety Zones. Community Safety Zones may include roadways near schools, day care centres, playgrounds, parks, senior citizen residences, and may also be used for collision prone areas within a community.
Ward 2/Councillor Boyd - Lion's Golf Tournament was a great fundraiser with tons of sponsorship for a great day of a lot of fun.
YorkNet Expansion Project
I attended the YorkNet Expansion Project Community Information Session on Tuesday night to learn more about when we can expect more internet in King.
YorkNet has a comprehensive plan to expand its dark fibre network throughout the Region over the next several years. It will take time to complete construction and connect underserved areas. They anticipate the first services being available in Q2 2024 and target the end of 2025 for construction and services completed. YorkNet will be working with Galaxy Fibre, the Internet Service Provider of the project to facilitate fibre to the home services. For more information about YorkNet’s expansion plans, visit York.ca/yorknet
The image below shows the roads in green that YorkNet has already done and the roads in blue that they plan to build. They have been told that the roads in grey already have high speed service but if you see a road that does not they encourage you to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.