Community Revitalization Levy
What is a CRL?
The downtown arena project will be funded in part by a funding program called a Community Revitalization Levy, or CRL.
The Government of Alberta introduced Community Revitalization Levies to help cities and towns stimulate activity and economic growth in under-developed areas in their communities.
The philosophy behind the CRL program is this:
- Major revitalization projects attract and increase local activity, investment and development;
- Economic growth creates additional tax revenue for all orders of government;
- Additional municipal and provincial property taxes from the economic growth will help fund the original project.
Edmonton’s Downtown CRL
Downtown revitalization is a top civic priority. The Capital City Downtown Plan, identifies projects that would promote development and transform the heart of Edmonton into a vibrant, accessible and sustainable community. The downtown CRL is how the City is proposing to fund these projects.
Once the Province approves the CRL regulation and bylaw, revenues from the CRL would be used to pay for the catalyst projects approved by Council. Projects include the downtown arena and related infrastructure, increasing the capacity of the sewer system, Jasper Avenue revitalization, park development and increased walkability.
Council has approved a boundary for the Capital City Downtown CRL. The City estimates the Capital City Downtown CRL can generate between $612-million and $1.1-billion over its 20 year life. Development forecasts were prepared by an experienced external consultant, and evaluated against development plans known to the City.
How the downtown CRL will work
The City will borrow money to pay for the construction of the CRL projects.
Once constructed, projects funded by the CRL will spark economic growth downtown.
The increase in municipal and provincial property tax revenue from the new development and rising property values will be dedicated to paying for the projects listed in the CRL.
This dedication of property taxes will only occur within the CRL Boundary. The CRL will not change the total amount of taxes collected in the area – the tax rates will be the same as for the rest of the City. The taxes will, as always, be based on the assessed market value of the property.
Again, the premise of a CRL is that a revitalization project will serve as an impetus for development to occur that would not otherwise happen, or would happen over a much longer period of time.
At the start of the CRL, the tax base inside the CRL boundary will be determined and fixed. That base amount will continue to support City facilities, programs and services.
To reiterate, only the taxes stemming from revitalization — from new construction and rising property values in the CRL zone — will be used to help pay for the CRL catalyst projects.
The province’s role
The Province of Alberta legislates and regulates the use of Community Revitalization Levies. Municipalities must apply to the province for approval. The province also contributes, however, by dedicating the portion of property taxes collected for the province to contribute to education funding to paying for the approved projects within the CRL boundary.
But as with civic taxes, only the increase in taxes in the CRL zone is affected.
The CRL is limited to 20 years in length. Once complete, the increased municipal and provincial property taxes dedicated to the CRL will return to civic and provincial general revenues, leaving both the City and the Province in a better position.
For more information:
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