Future developers in Gasoline Alley will pay significantly more in offsite levies after Red Deer County council passed a new bylaw on Tuesday.
The levies are used to cover the cost of building roads and installing services such as water and sewer to new developments.
Consultants Tagish Engineering were commissioned to review future costs and work out a levy schedule to pay for them.
To cover the cost of supplying just under $48 million worth of anticipated roadwork, property developers will pay $17,709 per acre. Supplying water service to the same 2,700 acres of land will cost an estimated $21.2 million and developers will face a $7,852 per acre levy.
About a dozen other levies have also been worked out for specific servicing projects.
One major local developer, though, was not happy with the process.
Guy Pelletier, Melcor’s vice-president for the Red Deer region, says in a letter to council that levies for its McKenzie Industrial Park will more than triple to $29,411 per acre from $9,200 per acre under the new schedule.
While Melcor doesn’t argue with the numbers, more consultation should have been done with those affected, he says, requesting council table the changes to allow for more input. Melcor and other landowners were only informed of the levy bylaw after it was already given first reading.
Developers should also be given more time to absorb the increases by staging them over time, he suggests.
Pelletier was not available for further comment on Tuesday.
Mayor Jim Wood questioned whether the county could spread levy payments over a longer time period.
Nancy Lougheed, the county’s legislative services manager, said council can make those types of arrangements at its own discretion.
Coun. George Gehrke noted that levy costs are typically factored in to the cost of land and are recovered when the developer sells.
Coun. Dave Hoar said part of the problem was that there was a large spike in levies because they had not been updated in four years. To avoid that “big sticker shock,” he recommended the county review its levies every one or two years.
Council unanimously passed the bylaw.