Improvement districts bylaws and resolutions
An improvement district board of trustees may exercise its powers by bylaw or by resolution. Decisions for some matters can only be exercised by bylaw, such as borrowing and establishing the basis of property assessment while others, such as adopting a strategic plan can be made by resolution.
The board of trustees must enact a bylaw to exercise the following powers provided under the Local Government Act, s. 698 - Powers that must be exercised by bylaw:
- Entering into a contract about land or works
- Borrowing money and executing legal instruments for that borrowing
- Establishing tolls and other charges, and incentives to encourage payment and the manner in which interest on amounts owed is calculated
- Assessing and determining the value of land for property taxation purposes
- Regulating the distribution and use of water, power or other services
- Imposing requirements for works in new subdivisions
- Establishing fire protection and inspection charges for manufactured home parks
- Establishing penalties for non-compliance with bylaws
- Establishing reserve funds for capital purposes
A bylaw is introduced during an improvement district board of trustees meeting and must be adopted through a majority vote of the trustees. If the bylaw is introduced at a meeting and further information is required before the board is willing to enact it, the adoption (enactment) may occur at a subsequent meeting.
Every bylaw adopted by the board of trustees must be:
- Signed by the chair presiding at the meeting
- Certified by the corporate officer as being correct
As of July 2021 bylaws are no longer required to be sealed.
Adopted bylaws must be accessible for viewing by improvement district landowners. Bylaws must also be provided when requested under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Learn more about:
Registering a bylaw
Most improvement district bylaws must be registered with the Inspector of Municipalities in order to be legally effective. The Inspector can refuse to register a bylaw, or can take any other action the Inspector considers is in the interest of the improvement district or the B.C. government. For example, prior to registering a bylaw that proposes a significant tax increase, the Inspector may require a board of trustees to consult with landowners.
Two signed copies of the following bylaws must be sent to the Inspector for registration once the bylaw has been adopted:
- Meeting procedures
- Capital expenditure charges
- Latecomer agreements
- Borrowing (three copies required)
- Regulatory services, such as when property owners can water their lawns
- Fire department operations and regulations
One copy of the registered bylaw is retained by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the other copy is returned to the improvement district.
The following bylaws do not require registration with the Inspector to take effect:
- Reserve fund establishment/disbursement
- Capital expenditure charge disbursement
- Connection charges
- Miscellaneous charge
- Officer position establishment
One signed copy of the bylaw must be sent to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs once the bylaw has been adopted, to be kept for reference.
Once a bylaw is adopted, the wording may only be changed by the adoption of another bylaw that amends or repeals the first bylaw. A bylaw cannot be used to amend a resolution and a resolution cannot be used to amend a bylaw.
The regular review of bylaws ensures they are still relevant and reflect the current policies of the board of trustees.
An effective bylaw contains incentives for people to comply with its provisions, or penalties if they do not.
A resolution is an expression of a decision, position or intent by the board of trustees. For example, the board could resolve to hire a person to manage the improvement district's day to day operations, adopt a strategic plan that outlines key goals and objectives of the improvement district, or establish an appropriate system of fiscal control.
The format for a resolution is less structured than for a bylaw. A typical resolution includes a "whereas..." preamble explaining the rationale for the resolution, and then a statement that the board resolve to take a certain action based on that preamble.
A resolution takes effect once it is passed by a majority of the trustees at a legally constituted meeting. A resolution does not need to be registered or filed with the Inspector of Municipalities. The corporate officer ensures resolutions are kept safe and made accessible for viewing by landowners.