A local improvement is an enhancement such as the construction of a gravel lane or paving of a lane.
The following steps are required to initiate a local improvement:
- Contact the appropriate Town department to get an estimate of the proposed local improvement and follow the detailed instruction outlined by Alberta Municipal Affairs.
- Submit a legal petition signed by two-thirds (2/3) of the property owners who would be responsible to pay the local improvement tax. The property owners who sign the petition must represent at least half (1/2) of the value of the assessed parcels of land on which the local improvement tax will be imposed.
- Council will consider the request and either direct Administration to prepare a local improvement plan or deny the request based on the information provided to them.
- If Council directs Administration to prepare a local improvement plan, the Town would then send mail notices to the landowners who would be liable to pay the local improvement tax.
- If a legal petition against the local improvement is filed with the Town within 30 days of the notices being mailed, the Town would declare the original petition to be insufficient and Council would not proceed with the local improvement.
- If a legal petition against the local improvement is not filed within 30 days of mailing the notices, Council may undertake the local improvement and impose a local improvement tax.
- Prior to Council proceeding with the improvement, a "Local Improvement Tax Bylaw" would be required authorizing the Town to charge a local improvement tax on all land that will benefit from the improvement.
A commitment to pay for the improvement through a local improvement tax must be made by a group of property owners who would benefit from the proposed local improvement.
The cost of the local improvement is added to the property owner's tax bill the year after the improvement has been constructed. A property owner has the option of paying the full amount (lump sum) of the local improvement tax or amortizing the payment for a specified period - usually calculated over the life of the improvement. The lump sum payment works out to be less expensive than the amortized payment, as interest is attached to the annual payment amount.
The cost depends on how much of your property is adjacent to or abuts the improvement.
The Town provides a "Local Improvement Request for Information" sheet to the petition initiator(s), which outlines project specifics and cost estimations. Based on the requirements of the MGA, the following methods have been established to distribute the local improvement cost among the benefiting property owners:
- each parcel of land
- each unit of frontage
- each unit of area.