Local Improvements

Local Improvements are new or replacement construction projects intended to upgrade or improve certain conditions within residential, commercial and industrial areas of the municipality. Some examples are: street paving, driveway crossings, sidewalk replacement, lane paving, curb and gutter replacement, boulevards and street lighting, and extending sanitary, storm or water systems.

Local improvements are initiated by the Town (often as part of a Neighbourhood Renewal Program) or as a result of a landowner request. In either case, the Town will send a notice to each affected property owner.

These projects are usually considered a greater benefit to a specific neighbourhood rather than the whole community.  As such, they are paid for by a tax imposed on the properties affected by the project.

Notice of Local Improvement

The Engineering and Infrastructure Department will prepare a local improvement plan and mail a Notice to construct a Local Improvement to all registered property owners affected by the improvement.

The Notice will include:

  • a description of the proposed improvement;
  • a description and map of intended improvement area;
  • financial details;
  • overall estimated cost of the project; and
  • annual and overall cost to each registered owner.

Affected registered property owners will have 30 (thirty) days from the date on the Notice to appeal against the project through the petition process.

If a petition is received, Corporate Services will review the petition to determine if it is sufficient or insufficient and notify you of the determination.

Budget and Bylaw

Prior to commencement of the local improvement, a budget and “Local Improvement Tax Bylaw” must be adopted by Council.  These authorize the Town to charge a local improvement tax on all affected properties.  If the budget and the Local Improvement Tax Bylaw are adopted, the project will proceed.

After Construction

Once construction has been completed, registered property owners affected by the improvement will be notified of the final costs, and the individual assessments for both annual and one-time payment options.

The year following construction completion, the amount provided in the notice will be added to the registered property owner’s property taxes.  The registered owner has the option to make a one-time lump sum payment or annual payments over the amortization period.

Preparing a Petition

You will be required to prepare a petition and circulate it to the registered property owners of the affected area if you choose to: initiate, or petition against a local improvement.  The petition should include the “Local Improvement Request for Information” form so owners are aware of the potential property tax increase.  Information about how to petition can be found on the Government of Alberta website: https://www.alberta.ca/petition-information-for-electors.aspx, or contact the Town’s Corporate Services.

Submit the petition, signed by a minimum 2/3 (two-thirds) of the registered property owners who would be responsible to pay the local improvement tax, to Corporate Services. The registered property owners who sign the petition must represent at least ½ (one-half) of the value of the assessed parcels of land on which the local improvement tax will be imposed.

Corporate Services will review the petition to determine if it is sufficient or insufficient and notify you of the determination.

Local Improvement Request for Information (PDF – 167KB)

Information to enable the petition process

The Engineering and Infrastructure Department will provide you with specific local improvement information using the “Local Improvement Request for Information” form, which will include:

  • a description of the proposed improvement;
  • a description and map of intended improvement area;
  • a list of the properties that will be affected by the improvement; and
  • the overall estimated cost of the project.


What are my options for paying the local improvement levy?

Each property owner will have the following options for payment once construction is complete:

  • Payment of the full amount (no interest is included) upfront.
  • Annual payments that are included in the property tax bill for the term of the bylaw (typically a term of 10, 15, or 20 years). Interest is included and is fixed for the term of the bylaw.
  • Partial or entire payments can be applied to the account at any time. If you do not specify which payment option you would prefer after receiving your local improvement assessment notice, please note that the charges will automatically be applied to your annual property tax bill.

What if I cannot afford to pay for the local improvement levy?

Senior citizens who are local homeowners can apply to the government for tax relief as long as they have a minimum of 25% equity in their home (visit www.seniors-housing.alberta.ca for more information).

For the rest of us, it will ultimately mean additional budgeting. Homeownership is usually accompanied by unexpected costs, no matter how much we try to anticipate them. The Government of Canada has an informative web page about maintaining a home and ongoing homeownership costs that you might find helpful.

Will the completed work affect my future property assessments?

The assessed value of your property will not increase as a result of the local improvement.

Do all Town residents have to pay for the local improvements?

The local improvement charge is charged to properties that are deemed to benefit from the proposed increased infrastructure standard. Notices will be sent out to residents when a local improvement is being considered. There is a very specific order of events dictated by the Municipal Government Act when either the Town or Residents initiates a local improvement process.

Do I still have to pay the local improvement tax if I move?

No. The local improvement tax stays with the property and the remaining payments become the responsibility of the new owner.

Do other communities have local improvement taxes?

Yes, communities such as Edson, Grande Prairie, Valleyview, Beaverlodge, Ponoka, Medicine Hat, Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer and Camrose, to name a few, use local improvement taxes.

If I petition, how do I know the names of property owners?

The names of property owners cannot be provided for privacy reasons. As you are circulating the petition, you need to ensure that the person signing is the registered property owner. The Town will provide information to the petitioner about which properties are affected.

If the local improvement is not successful, how long will it be before this project is reconsidered?

When a local improvement is defeated by way of a formal petition, the local improvement will not proceed. There is no fixed timeline for when the proposed project will be reconsidered.

Is there a cost to petition the project?

No, there is no cost to petition the project.