Cost of Community Services

 

Cost of Community Services

How many dollars of revenue does a municipality get for every dollar of service expenditure for different types of land use? The Cost of Community Services (COCS) methodology assesses this.

The Issue / Idea

Because different land use types generate vastly different revenues, it can be difficult to know which if any one of them ‘pays for itself’ relative to the costs it incurs for the municipality.

The Project

The Miistakis Institute explored this question by undertaking a “Cost of Community Services Study” for Red Deer County. After a detailed review of background documents and financial records, and extensive interviewing of all Red Deer County Managers and Directors, Red Deer County’s audited financials for a single year were re-allocated based on land use. Expenditures and revenues were divided between four land use categories (Residential, Commercial, Industrial, and Agricultural) and the results were used to create revenue/cost ratios.

The intent of this study is to support the development of land use planning approaches which best serve the community. Red Deer County can use this study with other information to maintain a healthy balance of land uses for the County. At the policy level, the study can assist in the development of a vision for the community; at the operational level, it can help assess whether resource allocations match policy priorities.


The Fiscal Implications of Land Use: A “Cost of Community Services” Study for Red Deer County: Main Report

The Fiscal Implications of Land Use: A “Cost of Community Services” Study for Red Deer County: Report 3: Methodology

The Fiscal Implications of Land Use: A “Cost of Community Services” Study for Red Deer County: Report 4: A Comparative Analysis of the Red Deer County COCS Study and Previous COCS Studies

The Fiscal Implications of Land Use: A “Cost of Community Services” Study for Red Deer County: Report 5: Detailed Data

The Fiscal Implications of Land Use: A “Cost of Community Services” Study for Red Deer County: Appendices

Report on the “Cost of Community Services” Multi-Municipality Workshop

Presentation Slide Deck: “Cost of Community Services” studies: What are they?

The Fiscal Implications of Land Use in a Rural Municipality

Organization

This project was undertaken by

Miistakis Institute

Status

Completed in

2007

Supporters

Alberta Real Estate Foundation

Red Deer County

Renewable Energy for Rural Municipalities

 

Renewable Energy for Rural Municipalities

A project to help municipalities municipalities understand their environmental, social, economic concerns and opportunities, and what support tools they may need to process applications for large scale (over 1MW) solar and wind development in their municipality

The Issue / Idea

What tools do municipalities need to balance development considerations with high value agricultural, ecological, and cultural lands?

The Project

“By 2030, renewable sources like wind and solar will account for up to 30 per cent of electricity generation,” says Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan.

To achieve this goal, large scale wind and solar developments are being proposed and are likely to have direct impacts in rural jurisdictions that have the land base to support them. In discussions with several municipal staff, it has become apparent they are uncertain how renewable electricity regulations and development will affect them. What is their role in the regulatory and approvals process? How do they balance competing interests between agriculture, ecology and renewable development? What do they need to know to make informed decisions?

Miistakis is working with municipalities to understand their environmental, social, economic concerns and opportunities, and what support tools they may need to process applications for large scale (over 1MW) solar and wind development in their municipality. Miistakis will then collaborate with stakeholders to develop the support tools required to inform decision making at the local level.


Renewable Energy Development: Ecological Fact Sheet for Municipalities

Renewable Energy Development: Regulatory Resources for Municipalities

Rural Municipal Wind and Solar Decision Support Tools: Regulatory Context Background Paper

Survey Report: Large Scale Wind & Solar Decision Support Tools for Rural Municipalities Project

Rural Municipalities and Renewable Energy Development: Education Session (January 23, 2018, Brooks, AB)


Rural Decision Support Tools for Renewable Energy Development: Progress Update (Miistakis Institute)

Organization

This project was undertaken by

Miistakis Institute

Status

Completed in

2018

Supporters

Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties

Wheatland County

Urban Ecoroofs

 

Urban Ecoroofs

Exploring the impacts ecoroofs may have on climate change resilience in Alberta municipalities

The Issue / Idea

What impacts can ecoroofs have on climate change resilience in Alberta municipalities?

The Project

As cities develop, vegetation is typically replaced with non-permeable, non-vegetated surfaces. Ecoroofs are one way to provide some of the lost ecosystem services in urban centres including improved stormwater management (both quantity and quality), better regulation of building temperatures, reduced urban heat island effects, improved air quality, and increased urban wildlife habitat and biodiversity (Oberndorfer et al., 2007). Some jurisdictions refer to ecoroofs as a ‘no-regrets’ climate adaptation measure (Mees, Driessen, Runhaar, & Stamatelos, 2013) because they serve multiple societal goals.

Between 2017 and 2019, the Miistakis Institute partnered with the City of Edmonton, Environmental Strategies team to explore the impacts ecoroofs may have on climate change resilience in the city.


Ecoroof Guide for Municipalities

Ecoroof Fact Sheet

Edmonton Ecoroof Initiative for Climate Change Resiliency: Ecoroof Function Research

Jurisdictional Review

Edmonton Ecoroof Case Studies

Edmonton Ecoroof Website

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

City of Edmonton, Environmental Strategies

Status

This project was

 completed in 2019

Supporters

City of Edmonton

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

Edmonton Community Foundation

Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Rural Residential Expansion Research

 

Rural Residential Expansion Research

Understanding and mapping rural residential expansion in southwestern Alberta

The Issue / Idea

What is the extent of rural residential expansion in southwestern Alberta?

The Project

In 2003, Miistakis published Spatial Analysis of Rural Residential Expansion in Southwestern Alberta. The report summarizes what we learned from analyzing half a century’s worth of municipal tax assessment data, and describes the patterns and possible drivers of exurban expansion in southwestern Alberta. The data and maps this project produced are some of our most frequently requested resources. In 2006, we revisited the original data in attempt to better understand the spatial distribution of this type of development. Our analysis suggests that rural residences are more likely to occur on sites with scenic views, and with close proximity to golf courses and urban centres. In 2011, Miistakis collaborated with Dr. Michael Quinn at the University of Calgary in an effort to update and expand the Rural Residential Data Set. Work was completed in early 2012, and we now have a complete historical record of more than a century of rural residential expansion for 12 Municipal Districts and Counties in southern and central Alberta.


Spatial Analysis of Rural Residential Expansion in Southwestern Alberta

Rural Residential Expansion in Southern Alberta

Mapping the Exurban Explosion: Rural Residential Expansion in Southwestern Alberta

Rural Residences Map Animation

Organization

This project was undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Status

Development of this report and dataset began in 2003 and was

updated and completed in 2012

Supporters

Alberta Ecotrust

Alberta Environment

Henry P. Kendall Foundation

University of Calgary

Alberta Summer Temporary Employment Program

Putting Beavers to Work for Watershed Resiliency and Restoration

 

Putting Beavers to Work for Watershed Resiliency and Restoration

A collaborative multi-year project that is focused on facilitating coexistence with beavers so their benefits as a watershed resiliency and restoration tool are realized.

The Issue / Idea

How can municipalities coexist with beavers for their watershed benefits?

The Project

Beavers, Canada’s national animal, provide many valuable ecosystem services including storage of water during droughts and flooding, creation of habitat for a variety of species, and improvement of water quality. These benefits allow for the increased watershed resiliency and restoration across the landscape. Land owners, including municipalities, can come into conflict with beavers as they can cause damage by flooding roads, plugging culverts or taking down prized trees, which can result in the removal of beavers from the landscape.

This project is a partnership between the Miistakis Institute and Cows and Fish Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society and aims to increase the coexistence of humans and beavers. By engaging with land owners and land managers this project strives to decrease conflict with beavers, foster social tolerance, and heighten understanding of the benefits that beavers provide us and the ecosystem as a whole. The project aims to achieve these goals by researching new coexistence tools, hosting hands-on coexistence workshops, and creating information materials and videos to increase awareness.

Below is a selection of resources specific to municipalities.


Webinar: Understanding Beavers as a Natural Infrastructure Solution

Slide Deck: Understanding Beavers as a Natural Infrastructure Solution

Beaver Coexistence Tools

Cost Benefit Analysis of Beaver Coexistence Tools

Putting Beavers to Work Website

Coexisting with Beavers Part 1: Municipal District of Foothills

Beaver Symposium


Presentation: The King County Beaver Working Group: Utopia, Reality, and Liberating Structures

 


Tour: Foothills County Beaver Mitigation Projects

 


Presentation: Managing to Live with Beavers

Organization

These assessments were undertaken by

The Miistakis Institute

Cows and Fish – Alberta Riparian Habitat Management Society

Status

Began in 2012

2012 – on-going

Supporters

Alberta Environment and Parks’ Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program (WRRP)

The Calgary Foundation

Alberta Ecotrust Foundation

Past funders