Fiscal Tools And Funding

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Q. What types of fiscal tools could the City use to develop or redevelop sites in the UpTown node? Describes these tools and their relative strengths and weaknesses. Provide examples of sites where these tools could be used.Identify fiscal tools that are typically used in Ontario that could be used by the City to meet its population and employment targets for this growth node. Describe these tools and explain their relative strengths and weaknesses in application.

The decision to make a community plan is a policy choice to improve the built environment in the Waterloo Region, by using a planning approach rather than leaving future planning up to chance (Hodge, 2003). Our strategic plans to further improve the area will be carried out by pursuing particular objectives, facilities, and programs, all in favour of redevelopment for the parking lot. Through the use of fiscal tools, we will pursue funding in order to increase the value and atmosphere of Waterloo's Uptown.

Within the economy, fiscal policy involves the utilization of government funding and tax collection, to overall positively impact the economy (Shah, 2005). Since the main fiscal tools are taxation and government funding, we are mainly going to pursue these options. Public spending involves delegation and, hence, principal-agent relationships (Hodge, 2003). As in such relationships, where the elected politician can use some of the funds provided by the taxpayers, to pursue our interests, including major funding for re-development of the parking lot in the Uptown node.

We will begin with the use of financial development incentives and government funding. The Waterloo community has financial resources available to influence decisions by builders. In the case of the parking lot, we want to encourage funding for our redevelopment, in order to receive federal funds in an area that is in need of upgrading in housing, business and community facilities. Furthermore, we are pursuing the use of community grants to assist in acquiring parkland, in improving streets and sewer lines, and in carrying out activities that would promote residential renewal (Hodge, 2003). Additionally, we are incorporating programs to promote the development of low-income housing, and to renovate disused grey-land for commercial and residential use.

The program will utilize a tax-increment financing approach in which the property owner and the city share, over a 10-year period, the increase in property taxes brought about by the new investment (Hodge, 2003).  For example, Toronto has a similar development program of financial incentives for office and residential uses that are willing to invest in designated brownfield sites. Conversely, there are weaknesses, where programs vary in the way resources are available. Overall, incentive programs may also be linked with capital investments by the Waterloo community itself, for a more intensive effort at rejuvenating the physical environment.

A relatively recent approach to funding urban development projects is for a community to enter into partnerships with developers. They are called public-private-partnerships, which have emerged to blend private resources and expertise with government policies and need for facilities and services (Hodge, 2003). However, one weakness of this partnership is that conflicts can develop between the two sides, about the overall standards for the construction of the buildings and their social costs. Overall, we will expand our funding through the diversification of fund sources, such as new funding from previously untapped sources, multi-year funding agreements, and fee-for-service activities.

 

References

Hodge, Gerald, David L.A. Gordon. (2003). Planning Canadian Communities. Toronto, Ontario: Nelson; Thomson Canada Limited. 5:365-369

Shah, Anwar. (2005). Fiscal Management: Public Sector, Governance, and Accountability Series. Washington DC: The International Bank of Reconstruction and Development. 71-72

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