Thursday, March 9, 2023

March 6 Council Notes: $15 Million Loan Authorization Bylaw. Development Matters.

As I posted earlier this week, Langley City Council approved its 2023 budget. One component of the budget is taking out a $15 million loan which the City will use to purchase property and fund SkyTrain-related improvements, such as road realignment, to ensure we maximize this $4 billion once-in-a-generation opportunity for residents and businesses in Langley City.

In BC, local governments must get approval from the provincial government for any loan they want to take out. Unless a local government reaches its borrowing limit, the provincial government approves these loan requests. Langley City Council approved sending our $15 million loan request to the province.

As a note, local governments can only use loans for one-time capital projects. They cannot use loans to offset ongoing operating costs.

Local government must also hold either a referendum or go through an alternate approval process to ensure that voters in a community can have their say. As the City has done for our previous loan, Council approved using the alternative approval process.

During this process, eligible voters do not need to take action if they support the loan. If they are opposed to the loan, they must complete an Elector Response Form. If 10% of eligible voters oppose the loan, it will have to go to a binding city-wide referendum.

The alternative alternate approval process is well-defined, and the City must treat the process with the same sensitivity as an election. The process will start once we get approval from the provincial government.

Langley City Council also approved updates to our Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw and Media Relations Policy as two housekeeping matters.

The Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw’s most significant changes were to align it with our new Official Community Plan and enable Latecomer Agreements. For some projects, a developer may have to build infrastructure, such as a road, sidewalks, or pipes, that will benefit more than just their project. The developer can sign a Latecomer Agreement with the City, enabling them to recover the cost from the developers of future projects who use that infrastructure. The City is currently working on a Latecomer Policy.

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