Project Costs and Payment Options

Project Costs & Payment Options
An important part of the Community Facilities Conversation is ensuring that citizens understand the costs associated with the projects. The first step in the consultation is to get feedback from the community relating to the priorities for the development of new parks, recreation and culture facilities. Part of the discussion is the cost of construction and operation of the projects. 

The City will need to develop a comprehensive financial plan to deal with the construction costs and the long term operation and maintenance costs associated with any new facility. The goal is to look for federal and provincial investment, private partnerships, sponsorships and other sources of revenue, including development revenue (such as the new ‘Amenity Charges’ that have been added for each new home built in Maple Ridge). There are projects on the list, however, that require a longer term approach to financing.

The City has the capacity to borrow money at very low interest rates, though the repayment of those loans requires the development of a plan that could include specific tax increases designated to fund the overall facilities plan. This approach has been taken to allow for significant investments to improve service delivery or develop facilities needed to deal with the growth of our community.

Some past examples of projects that used a long term financial plan supported by targeted tax increases include:

  1. The transition of the Maple Ridge Fire Department from a volunteer fire service to the career and ‘paid on call’ composite model that we have today. This project was paid for, in part, through an annual increase in taxes of just over one percent, per year, for a period of nine years.
  2. The development of the Maple Ridge Town Centre Project (including The ACT Arts Centre, Leisure Centre upgrades, Greg Moore Youth Centre, Maple Ridge Library, Office Tower, underground parking and landscaping of Memorial Peace Park). In order to fund this project taxes were increased by one percent, per year, for ten years.

The debt for the Town Centre Project will be retiring in the next decade meaning that depending on the list of projects and the timeline that Council develops, the City will have the capacity to borrow money and fund a repayment program with a modest tax increase.

If the community decides that all of these projects should be phased in over the next five to ten years the Finance department estimates that, taking into account future retired debt and other funding sources, annual payments of $14 million funded through property taxes, would be required to cover the capital and operating costs of all of the proposed projects.
 
It is important to note that any borrowing will require public assent. At this stage, the goal is for citizens to provide Council with their views on which of these proposals is most important so that Council can develop a timeline to allow further work on the detailed financial implication of future facility development.
 
In order to help frame the discussion around the construction and operating costs for proposed facilities, the following estimates have been developed to inform this stage of the work.