content courtesy of Rob Fitzgerald, Norm Stickelmann & Tex Enemark
Municipal sustainability centers around service delivery systems, organizational practices, as well a a culture dedicated to the long-term prosperity and health of the community. Achieving sustainability relies on an overall and well-defined strategy aimed at specific targets and performance goals that assess the effectiveness of various programs and provide full accountability to its constituents.
Role of Consumption
A key element of sustainability is ‘Tax Topography Analysis’. It is a ‘before and after’ comprehensive economic analysis of a proposed project and takes into account not only all the initial capital costs typically accounted for through DCC’s (Development Cost Charges), CAC’s (Community Amenity Charges) and the like, but also includes the ongoing annual changes in municipal operating revenues and expenditures. ”Tax Topography’ highlights changes to existing consumption patterns and the impacts of a project on the municipal property tax base of local government. These tools are NOT intended to constrain or reduce Council decision-making to simply economic factors, but ensure that all social, environmental and economic information is made available and therefore considered, prior to decision making. Ultimately resulting in more informed and sustainable council decisions.
Municipal Sustainability Model
With continual increases in property taxes – resulting from population growth and economic activity – development of a related tax distribution policy that is rational, fair and transparent is critical.
To achieve municipal sustainability, the payment of property taxes must relate to actual consumption by property class (CbC), rather than perception of budget by class (PbC), thus ensuring that the users of the finite City services are aware of their costs; ultimately promoting responsible use of these services.