Regional District Service Arrangements
Regional district service arrangements are established to provide a structured framework for maintaining a service. Service arrangements are the outcome of the process of negotiating the essential elements of a service—how it will be provided, which areas will participate in and pay for the service and how the costs will be recovered.
These arrangements are expressed in the service establishing bylaw and associated agreements governing the service.
A regional district may operate any service that the board considers necessary or desirable for all or part of the regional district. The range of services and possible configurations are staggering, and the most successful services are carefully defined.
Definition of a regional district service may include information on the scope, service standards, geographic area and lifespan of the service. A well-defined service arrangement ensures that all partners and benefiting areas in the service arrangement share the same vision for the service and agree on the contents and limits of that service.
Regional districts have the authority to operate a service in an area outside the regional district as well as anywhere in the regional district itself. In the case of a service operating outside of the regional district boundary, the regional district board must obtain the consent of the other affected local government, and after receiving that consent, obtain the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
Many regional service arrangements cover a single, well-defined service and are funded and governed by standard mechanisms, such as through property value taxes allocated among participating members on the basis of assessed property values. Services may be delivered by:
- The regional district directly
- A member municipality
- An existing third party (such as a private sector company)
- A new third party created to deliver the service
- A separate corporation owned by a local government
Regional districts have flexibility in the services they provide and how they provide them, including their ability to enter into partnerships.
Choosing the best service delivery method depends on several factors unique to each regional district and service type, including considerations of:
- Efficiency and effectiveness
- Labour relations
Service arrangements must be clearly defined and propose clear methods of recovering, allocating and managing costs. Each service provided by a regional district has its own operating and capital budgets.
The costs of each service are generally recovered only from the area that benefits from it (the participating area for the service). Although regional district services are mostly funded by property taxes, user fees and grants from other governments are also common sources of service funding, particularly for capital-intensive projects such as sewer infrastructure.
In addition to the core elements of service arrangements, there are a wide variety of additional matters that regional district participants can include in their service arrangements. Some regional districts have developed customized service arrangements to address concerns that arise either prior to initiating a service, or during its life. Learn more about customized service arrangement.
Regional District Service Review
When regional district services are established, negotiation may take place to reach agreement among representatives of the participating areas on the specific service arrangements. A regional district service review is a formal process to help regional districts and their service partners review the terms and conditions of existing service arrangements. There is also a process for service participants who wish to withdraw from service arrangements.
Where regional districts would like the flexibility to develop their own review processes, these may be included in a service establishment bylaw. The legislation also presents a default process in case customized alternatives are not specified in service arrangements.