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Improvement District Restructure

 

The boundary of every improvement district is described in the document that the province approved when the improvement district was incorporated. The Letters Patent describe the boundary, establish the name of the improvement district, the size of its board and the services for which it is responsible for providing.
 

"Restructure" is a term that has two different meanings for improvement districts. The first meaning is a large boundary extension that has a substantial impact on the improvement district. The second meaning of restructure is "dis-incorporation" which means that an improvement districts Letters Patent are revoked and responsibility for its services is transferred to a municipality or a regional district. This process is also termed as a “conversion”.
 

Boundary Extension

An example of an improvement district restructure is where the owner of an adjoining private water utility wants to transfer ownership to an improvement district. This would have implications for such things as the improvement district’s billing system, budget, maintenance program, bylaws, work loads and insurance.
 

Prior to taking over responsibility for a private water utility, the trustees would need to negotiate the terms and conditions for the transfer. In addition, approval would need to be obtained from the office of the Comptroller of Water Rights and the property owners receiving water from the water utility. There is no requirement for a boundary extension proposal to be approved by the property owners in the improvement district that are not located in the area to be included within the boundary.
 

Conversion

When the conversion of an improvement district occurs, the Letters Patent are revoked by Cabinet order and 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 regional district. Provision is also made to ensure that the funds of the former improvement district are used for the same purpose for which they were originally intended. The mayor and council of a municipality, or the regional board of a regional district, then become responsible for making decisions about the services that the former improvement district operated and administered. However, they can delegate (115 KB) some of these responsibilities to a management committee or commission.
 

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There are a wide variety of reasons for a conversion to occur. Municipalities and regional districts have a number of advantages over improvement districts in areas such as insurance rates, resources, expertise, cost recovery methods, borrowing rates and access to grants from senior governments. Conversion often occurs where these advantages are evident. Conversion must occur when a community with an improvement district incorporates as a municipality. In addition, conversion may occur when a municipality extends its boundary to include an improvement district.
 

A vote of the residents within the improvement district is not required for an improvement district conversion except in the case of incorporation as a municipality. The province generally supports improvement district conversions where there is evidence of local support for it from the board of trustees, the municipality or regional district, and the residents.
 

The Local Government Department reviews all applications for boundary changes and conversions before they are submitted to Cabinet for consideration. In order to assist improvement district, local governments and others with these issues, the Improvement District Conversion Guide (245 KB) was developed to provide comprehensive information about the process and its implications. Further information about Letters Patent and boundary changes can be found in the Improvement District Manual (235 KB).
 

 

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