Community Revitalization Levies
Edmonton’s downtown revitalization is financed in part by a program called a Community Revitalization Levy, or CRL. Specifically, Edmonton’s downtown is supported by two CRLs – The Capital Plan Downtown CRL and The Quarters 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.
How CRLs 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 Capital City Downtown CRL Plan. This dedication of property taxes will only occur within the CRL boundary.
The CRL is not intended to 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.
Learn more about Assessment and Taxation in Community Revitalization areas.
The province’s role
The Province of Alberta legislates and regulates the use of Community Revitalization Levies. The City of Edmonton must apply to the province for approval of the CRL Bylaw.
The province also contributes, however, by dedicating the portion of education taxes collected for the province to pay for the approved projects within the CRL Plan.
But as with civic taxes, only the increase in school taxes from the assessment increases from the baseline in the CRL boundary is affected.
The CRL is limited to 20 years in length. Once complete, the increased municipal property taxes and school taxes dedicated to the CRL will return to civic and provincial general revenues, leaving both the City and the Province in a better position.