Alternative Approval Process Print Article Font Size

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The Town of Golden is committed to the ongoing inventory, analysis, and prioritization of core infrastructure renewals.  This includes upgrades and improvements for roads and deep utilities; buildings and the systems associated with them. 

Council contributes to reserves to pay for the various condition assessments, design engineering costs and small scale construction components of these projects, making sure the highest priorities are in a ready-state for development. 

It’s very common for municipalities to then borrow funds to pay for the actual construction costs of these larger projects, repaying the debt over at least two decades.  Amortizing the debt not only makes payments manageable for the taxpayer, but it represents the ideal of ‘temporal-fiscal equivalence.’ This means that those who enjoy the new asset, are also those paying for it over its lifetime. 

This is in contrast to the ‘pay as you go’ approach in saving funds until a large project can be undertaken.  This approach can be problematic; it can take far too long to save for an important project and as result, many citizens are taxed for years to pay for an asset they may never see built or renewed.  A mix of the two approaches is the route usually taken by municipalities, and in an era of low interest rates, and many other competing priorities for municipalities, borrowing for large and important infrastructure renewals simply makes sense. 

Right now we have reached a point where two of the highest priority renewals cannot wait any longer: the street block between IGA and Ford (9th Ave. North) and between Ford and the Downtown Car Wash (8th Str. North). 
 
As anyone in Golden can likely agree, these two streets are in bad shape, and it’s not just the pavement.  We need to replace the deep utilities and roadbeds; redevelop curbs, gutters, and sidewalks; and then repave, and landscape these areas to a new standard.  The result will be an entirely new look to this part of the downtown and infrastructure renewed for many decades.
 
At its February 9th, 2021 regular meeting, Council gave the first three readings to Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 1444, 2021.  If adopted, it will allow the Town to borrow up to $5 million to fund the projects above as well as future projects that meet infrastructure priorities, while repaying the debt over 25 years.  The $5 million amount is seen as modest and practical for our municipality, making sure important work gets done but not stretching our ability to pay it off.

The entire $5 million would not be borrowed all at once, but drawn upon as needed with payments on the loan beginning after the first draw, similar to a line of credit.  These projects are not anticipated to begin until a year from now; meaning that the Town may see itself being able to pay more for the projects up front, and use less from the loan amount if possible. This would also allow the Town to maximize the use of the loan across as many projects as possible.

The annual debt payment for the 25 years is estimated at $277,148 based on a loan from the Municipal Finance Authority at a rate of 2.32%.

Assuming the entire $5 million is drawn upon, the taxation impacts to property owners are estimated as follows, understanding that:
  • Land and building assessments are based on 2020 roll values;
  • Tax rates are assumed to stay the same between tax classes;
  • Interest rates can change over time;
  • The estimated dollar change would stay static for the period of the loan payback; it is separate from other municipal budget items and future increases;
  • With the full debt not drawn at once, impacts will be considerably less to start, increasing until the full $5 million is reached, resulting in the estimates below;
  • Taxes shown are municipal only; they do not include the taxes we collect for other authorities (police, school, hospital district, regional district etc.) on their behalf.
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The Alternative Approval Process (AAP)

We need your permission to borrow this money.  Under the Community Charter, local governments must engage local electors to get permission for long term borrowing, being anything longer than 5 years.  The AAP is typically used if the borrow is relatively small, and the application of the funds is clearly a core service necessity.  It is more streamlined, faster, and far less expensive than a community-wide referendum which also has its place, but typically in much larger impacting community initiatives. 
 
Should we get your permission to borrow, we will start the 9th Avenue project in the spring of 2022.
 
The proposed bylaw and associated records are available below and at the front counter at Town Hall:  

How it Works

  • Citizens who are eligible electors (see below for eligibility requirements) within the Town of Golden who are opposed to the borrowing must register their opposition by submitting ‘Elector Response Forms’ in person to Town Hall.
  • The hand signed Elector Response Forms will only be accepted in person at Town Hall at 810 9th Avenue South, Golden.  Town Hall is open Monday to Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm, excluding statutory holidays.
  • Elector Response Forms are available in paper copy at Town Hall or you can download and print one for submission by clicking here.  Only these forms may be used and only one form may be signed by an individual.  Signed forms received after the deadline has passed cannot be counted.
  • By law, if at least 277 eligible electors (which is 10% of the total number in the community) sign and submit response forms, Council will not be permitted to borrow the funds and would have to hold a referendum to gain assent for it.
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The deadline for submission of Elector Response Forms is 4:00pm, Monday, April 26, 2021. 
 

What Makes You Eligible

The eligibility to submit an Elector Response Form is the same as that for a general local election.  When submitting a response form, citizens must provide suitable identification to prove their eligibility, being who you are and where you live.  Additionally, Non-Resident Electors must show proof (a land title certificate) of their personally named (not corporate) ownership in land within the town boundary.
 
Resident Electors
To sign an Elector Response Form as a resident elector, a person must meet all of the following criteria:
  • Be a Canadian citizen.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Lived in British Columbia for at least six (6) months.
  • Lived within the Town of Golden for at least 30 days.
  • Not be otherwise disqualified from voting by the Local Government Act or by other law.

Non Resident Electors
To sign an Elector Response Form as a non-resident elector, a person must meet all of the following criteria:
  • Be a Canadian citizen.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Lived in British Columbia for at least six (6) months.
  • Owned property within the Town of Golden for at least 30 days.  (When a property is owned by more than one registered owner, only one owner can sign the elector response form and that owner must have the written consent of the majority of the other registered property owners(s)).
  • Not be otherwise disqualified from voting by the Local Government Act or by other law.
 
Note: If a property is owned by more than one individual, only one of them may sign an Elector Response Form. If a property is owned by more than one individual, then the person signing an Elector Response Form must declare that they have received the written consent of the majority of the property owners to sign and submit an Elector Response Form.
 

Questions?

Jon Wilsgard, Corporate Officer
clerk@golden.ca
250.344.2271/237