(from the Herald online)
Builders will oppose new home fees in HRM
By BILL POWER and MICHAEL LIGHTSTONE Staff Reporters
Wed, Sep 14 - 4:54 AM
Proposed new fees for builders of homes and apartment buildings in Halifax were described Tuesday as an unacceptable cash grab on the part of the municipality.
"If the municipality is having financial problems, it should get its own house in order before adding hundreds of dollars to the cost of buying a home," Paul Pettipas, executive director of the Nova Scotia Homebuilders’ Association, said in an interview.
Consultants working for the municipality have recommended new fees — $2,000 for each home and $1,600 for each apartment — to cover the expansion of fire protection, library and recreation costs in newly developed areas.
There is also a 90-cent-per-square-metre fee for non-residential uses.
The new fees would generate about $3.5 million for the municipality.
Pettipas made his comments just hours before Halifax regional council agreed by a 17-1 vote to ask the province to amend its municipal charter so city hall can move ahead with the new fees.
If the province agrees, it could still be years before the legislation is changed, Richard Butts, the city’s chief administrative officer, told council.
A consultant’s study says growth in Halifax Regional Municipality "should pay for itself" and not burden existing taxpayers.
Capital cost contributions are paid by developers "and are intended to recover the growth-related portion of infrastructure that is needed" in a particular area, says the report.
Coun. Sue Uteck (Northwest Arm-South End) opposed sending the request to the Dexter government because she feels the municipality needs more input from the local development sector.
Pettipas said builders of homes and apartments in the municipality will oppose the new fees every step of the way.
The rest of the story is here