Improvement District Restructure
Restructure is a term that has two different meanings for
improvement districts. The first meaning is a large boundary
extension that substantially increases the number of parcels of land
within the improvement district. As part of the boundary extension,
the improvement district may also be assuming responsibility for a
private water utility and its customers.
The second meaning for restructure can be restated as dis-incorporation, or dissolving
the improvement district and transferring responsibility for its services to a local
government. This process is also known as a “conversion”.
Boundary ExtensionA boundary extension that substantially increases the number of parcels within an improvement district has several elements that separate it from the usual boundary extension process that is outlined in Section B of the Improvement District Manual. For example, it is usually impractical to obtain a signed petition from each of the property owners within the area that is being proposed for inclusion that evidences the owners support for having their property included in the boundary.
An alternative to obtaining petitions is to either advertise the
proposed boundary extension in a newspaper, or to deliver a notice
to each of the property owners in the area proposed for extension,
explaining the proposal. A reasonable time is then allowed for the
property owners to indicate whether they oppose the inclusion of
their property within the improvement district. If more than 50% of
the property owners representing 50% of the properties are opposed,
then the improvement district must hold a referendum (link to page
37 of Section B of the Improvement District Manual).
Instead of holding the alternative approval process, improvement
districts can proceed directly to a referendum to determine whether
a majority of the property owners in the area of extension are in
favour of it.
If an improvement district is taking over responsibility for a
private water utility as part of a restructure process, additional
steps in the process will be required. For example, the trustees
will need to negotiate the terms and conditions for transferring the
water system from the private owner to the improvement district. In
addition, the office of the
Comptroller of Water Rights will need to be
contacted to determine whether the Comptroller will agree to
transfer the water utility to the improvement district.
There is no requirement for a boundary extension to be approved by
the property owners in the improvement district that are not located
in the area proposed for extension. However, it is good practice to
keep all property owners within the improvement district informed of
ConversionThe dis-incorporation of an improvement district is also generally known as a restructure even though the boundary of the improvement district is not affected. Instead, the governance of the improvement district’s services is “restructured” or replaced with a new one.
Another way to explain this is that the Letters Patent that
incorporated the improvement district are revoked by Cabinet order.
Provision is made in the order for all of the assets, liabilities
and bylaws of the improvement district to be transferred to a
municipality or a regional district. The mayor and council, or the
regional board, then become responsible for making decisions about
the services although they can delegate some aspects of the
operations of the services to a local committee or commission.
The Local Government Department has developed the
Improvement District Conversion Guide
(235 KB) to provide
comprehensive information about the process and its implications.