Local Improvement Projects
Are the new cost estimates for sewer service close to 2017 estimate? ($100/metre)
Previous estimate was based on the City having an open trench for the water service installation and the sanitary service cost was materials only ($100/m) for property owner to replace the sewer at the same time. Under the proposed new policy, the costs would be different because the cost would include materials plus trenching, backfill, and restoration. Restoration costs will vary greatly between properties depending on the complexity of the landscaping and structures on the property.
Can you break down the private costs for Hillcrest in more detail? (What about Steelox houses that can’t connect well?)
Properties need to be looked at individually in detail. The Engineering department has estimated costs for each property in Hillcrest and can discuss your situation with you in detail if you wish.
For Hillcrest, what would be the estimated 2021 (rather than 2017) LIC costs (average, low and high) given the existing LIC policy?
To estimate the 2021 LIC costs, the City has taken the 2017 rates and added inflation applied over 4 years. The results for the estimated 2021 LIC rates are shown in the table below and are bolded in brackets:
Average Low High Roundel Road $12,349 ($13,012) $10,279 ($10,831) $15,928 ($16,783) Kluane Cres. $12,060 ($12,707) $10,615 ($11,185) $16,308 ($17,183) Park Lane $11,879 ($12,517) $7,961 ($8,388) $20,653 ($21,762)
How and when might reconstruction of the Hillcrest neighbourhood happen?
The good news for Hillcrest property owners is that much of the preliminary design has already happened with extensive public consultation, and the remainder of the preliminary design can be completed in 2021 with the budget that is already approved in the capital plan. The project proceeding to construction will depend on approval of funding from the Federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP), but if that is approved, phase 1 of 4 could begin in 2023, at the earliest. The ICIP fund is administered by the Yukon Government with 25% contribution from them, and the City will also be contributing from its reserves to the cost of the project.
How do I formally express my support, concerns, or objections to a reconstruction project under the new Local Improvement Policy?
Infrastructure Reconstruction projects will have public consultation and input from property owners taken into consideration during the design process. However, because property owners are not sharing the cost of reconstruction of the roadway and other public property, there will not be the objection process to determine whether the project proceeds or not. That would be decided through the City’s capital budget process, and property owners will be able to Opt-In or Opt-Out for the replacement of private services to the property. In the case of Discretionary Local Improvements that are property owner-initiated, there would be a formal process in accordance with the Yukon’s Municipal Act with not more than 50% objection by benefitting property owners.
I like the “opt in/opt out” option for the private portion. It makes sense to get things done by the City’s contractors while they are there. However, as retired seniors on fixed incomes, our decision will be based on the costs. We may look after our own landscaping in a phased in process.
Thank you for the positive feedback on the “opt-in/opt-out” process. We envision using an expression of interest process to manage the opt-in infrastructure loan program. This expression of interest process would occur near the early stages of detailed design. The exact details of the infrastructure loan program are not established at this time and we plan to work out more details if the policy is adopted by Council.
If I “Opt In” to get my water and sewer services replaced on my property and into my house, how does the LIC program work?
The voluntary infrastructure loan program is similar to other programs the City offers (such as the Urban Electrification program): The amount will be added to your property taxes and amortized over 15 years at the best interest rate the City can secure at the time. The interest rate will be fixed at the time of borrowing, and it will not change. The City will provide a very conservative estimated interest rate to show what the annual amounts might be, but when the best rate is secured, that will be the rate you pay, not the estimated rate. Historically, the actual fixed interest rate has been much lower than the estimated rate. You can also choose to pay the entire amount immediately (no interest) or pay it down in lump sums annually. The amortized amounts will be applied to your annual property taxes and paid however you pay your taxes.
Is it better for me to “Opt In” to the program to install services to my property now? What if I “Opt Out” and choose to postpone replacing my water and sewer lines until I’m ready to do it?
It is a significant cost for some property owners to replace their services, and there is not always all the available information to make a fully informed decision. Generally, the decision is based on age and type of material of the services along with any historical issues the home owner may have had such as water service failures or tree roots in the sanitary service. Opting-In to the voluntary loan program to have the services replaced as part of the overall reconstruction project has some advantages such as:
- The contractors will already be working in the neighbourhood and all the disruption can happen at once.
- There will be cost savings for mobilizing on site and economy of scale for supply of materials, as opposed to a single property owner having to arrange to have a contractor come to the area just to do one service.
- There would not be any costs to dig up the new surface (landscaping, concrete, fences, etc.) to get at the services later.
- The City’s voluntary infrastructure loan program gives property owners the ability to pay the amount over 15 years (at a fixed interest rate) or pay it down with lump sums annually. Replacing water and sewer services on your own, when a reconstruction project is not in progress, does come with a payment plan option from the City. Taking the chance that your services are in condition to last a while longer can be risky – if they fail, the damage and repair costs could be much higher than Opting-In, especially if they fail in the winter months when repairs and digging are more difficult.
Is there information available on the voluntary loan program? (e.g., years, interest rate, payment schedule)
The City does not have many details about the voluntary loan program at this time. We plan to start developing the details of that program if the policy is adopted by Council. We can speak conceptually at this time though. A typical term of loan for the City is between 15-20 years and we usually are able to get a fairly good interest rate. Payment would be once per year at the same time as your property taxes, and you would have the option to pay off the remaining balance at any time.
So much effort and consultation went into the 2017 Hillcrest Reconstruction Design. Does this mean the City will be starting over from scratch?
The 2017 Hillcrest design will be the basis point for the upcoming proposed Hillcrest Reconstruction Project with additional consultation planned as the design progresses. The City has heard from Hillcrest residents that they were largely happy with the preliminary design so far, and objections in 2017 were for other reasons in the process and not with the design, so there is no need to start from scratch. All the public input, past and present, will inform the final design for the proposed Hillcrest Reconstruction beyond 2021.
Why propose a discretionary LIC option in the new policy if people already look after the public land (like boulevards and greenbelts) around their properties?
It is expected that discretionary LICs would more commonly be property owner-driven where a group of benefiting properties would express interest in a potential project for consideration by the City. It’s not expected that these will be common, but other municipalities have these options and there may be specific locations where there is enough interest from property owners to see improvements there, and this option allows them to make arrangements with the City for a cost share. Some examples might be adding decorative street lights or paving bricks, trees, and landscaping to a street, or paving a downtown laneway (back alley) if the adjacent properties desire asphalt instead of gravel.
Will accurate cost estimates for the private portion, if done by the City, be flushed out in the detailed portion of the design? When can homeowners indicate their “opt in/opt out” choice? How would that be done? Would these details be worked out once the policy is passed and put into place?
The more accurate cost estimates for the private portion of the work will be completed at the detailed design phase of the project. These will be completed by the City’s engineering consultant with input from the City.
Will recirculating pumps be installed in my property, instead of a bleeder?
To achieve water conservation goals, the City removes water bleeders that are used for frost protection wherever possible. Recirculating water services do not waste water when preventing water services from freezing, but they do require a recirc pump and some internal plumbing changes. These costs would be the responsibility of the property owner. If you choose to opt out of replacing your water services, the City will replace the lines on the road side only up to the property line and will take future connection for your property into consideration.
Will the City install my water services free of charge?
The City will install new water and sanitary services at the City’s cost only up to the property. The cost for the portion of the water and sanitary services on the private side between the property line and the building will be the responsibility of the home owner. The home owner can opt-in for the City to complete the private side work at the time of the reconstruction and the cost will be recovered through a loan program.