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Regional District Services

 

Regional districts provide services on many scales – they provide local services to unincorporated rural communities, to entire electoral areas, to several electoral areas and municipalities, and sometimes to the entire region. With so many options in terms of scale of service, regional districts are able to take advantage of economies of scale and still ensure that local needs are met.
 

Some of the more common services provided by regional districts include:

  • water supply;
  • sewers;
  • fire protection;
  • parks and recreation;
  • solid waste management;
  • economic development;
  • animal control;
  • public housing;
  • libraries;
  • E-911;
  • airports; and
  • television re-broadcasting.

A regional district may operate a service directly, or enter into contracts with other public authorities or private organizations. While most services are delivered within the boundary of the regional district, the regional district board may also deliver services outside its boundary under certain circumstances.
 

Each service provided by a regional district has its own operating and capital budgets, the costs of which are recovered only from the area that benefits from the service. Although regional district services are mostly funded by property taxes, user fees and grants from other governments are other common sources of service funding particularly for capital-intensive projects such as sewer infrastructure.
 

Property owners who benefit from several property tax-funded services will see separate tax rates for each service on their tax bill.
 

Like municipalities, regional districts have broad authority operate any service that the board considers necessary or desirable for all or part of the regional district. The range of services provided by regional districts can be quite large.
 

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Among the wide variety of optional services, there are few that regional districts are required to provide. These include general administration, land-use planning in electoral areas, and solid waste management planning.
 

In order to provide a new service, the regional district must adopt a "service area establishment bylaw". This bylaw outlines what the service is, how it will be delivered, who will benefit from the service, the maximum amount it will cost, and how the costs will be recovered.
 

Where services are provided to several areas within the regional district, some negotiation may be involved to reach agreement among representatives of the benefiting areas on the specific service arrangements.
 

The decision to establish a new service is made by the entire regional board, although the electors or representatives of the benefiting areas must provide consent as they will bear the cost of the service. In addition, service area establishment bylaws must be approved by the Inspector of Municipalities
 

Once a service has been established, the full board continues to be involved in certain instances, but decisions related to a specific service are the responsibility of those members of the board who represent the areas that receive the service. It is therefore the representatives of those who receive the service that decide how it will be run.
 

 

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