Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Langley City Council sends strongly worded letter about doubling of School Site Acquisition Charge

Last week I posted that School District No. 35, which covers both the City and Township of Langley, will be increasing their School Site Acquisition Charge from between $212.00 and $354.00 per new housing unit, to between $443.00 and $737.00 per new housing unit. This fee is used to pay for the new school sites.

The City of Langley sent a letter to the Minister of Education, former City Mayor Peter Fassbender, asking that this fee be reduced in the City of Langley as there will be no new school sites in its jurisdiction. Minster Fassbender didn’t agree with the City, and allowed the application of the new School Site Acquisition Charge in both the City and the Township.

You can read an earlier post about why I think this isn’t fair. City Council had the chance to dispute the decision of the Minster using tools available under the Community Charter, but instead decided to only write a strong worded letter to the Minister. This is disappointing as the School Site Acquisition Charge only further drives up the cost of sustainable redevelop in the City of Langley.

I have obtained a copy of the letter that Council sent to the Minister of Education which can be downloaded from the document archive. Some highlights from the letter include how “City Council expressed their extreme disappointment over the imposition of the new SSAC in spite of significant inequities in cost and benefits to the two municipalities.”

If the City of Langley started the depute resolution process available under the Community Charter, it would have to pay some fees like for a facilitator as an example. It appears that this might have been why some on City Council didn’t want to start the process. Could this be called penny wise, pound foolish?

At the end of the letter, City Council asked the Minister of Education to reconsider his decision, and pay for a facilitator to work with the City and School District to see if the School Site Acquisition Charge could be reduced. The first letter didn't work, will a second? I certainly won’t be holding my breath.

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