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A local improvement is a project that benefits your neighbourhood more than the municipality as a whole. It is typically undertaken near or adjacent to your property and is paid, in whole or in part, by benefitting property owners through a local improvement tax.

Types of Local Improvements:

  • Alley renewal (reconstruction and resurfacing)
  • Sidewalk reconstruction
  • Decorative streetlighting
  • Curb and gutter, and crossing
  • Street and alley lighting
  • Streetscape improvements
  • Paving gravel alleys and streets
Process

A local improvement can be initiated by the City of Edmonton based on an infrastructure assessment and the need for repairs or replacement. Alternatively, it can be initiated by property owners who wish to have improvements carried out near or adjacent to their property. This is done formally via an Expression of Interest (EOI), where it must be proven that majority support of property owners (from a simple majority to 2/3 support, depending on the type of local improvement) in order for the local improvement to move forward.

Specific procedures and timelines vary depending upon the type of local improvement. The City mails such details to property owners in a Local Improvement Notice. Once the notice is issued, residents have 30 days to petition against the local improvement. A majority of the affected residents need to sign the petition in order to defeat the local improvement. A valid petition must include the signature of all titled owners. The titled owner signature must be witnessed and the witness must swear an affidavit before a Commissioner of Oaths.

Outcomes
  • If the petition protest is unsuccessful, City Council approves a Local Improvement Bylaw, after which construction must proceed within three years
  • If the petition protest is successful, the proposed improvement does not proceed
Costs and Cost Sharing

The cost of a local improvement project (in whole or in part) is distributed among the benefiting properties. The City borrows money to fund local improvement projects. The costs of construction and borrowing are then passed on to the property owners.

There are typically three roadway-related local improvements that could be part of the Neighbourhood Renewal reconstruction/rehabilitation projects:

Property owners have the following payment options:

  1. Local improvement charges — full payout option
    For local improvement chargest that have an expiry year, you may pay them out to avoid future interest charges.

    Every year after the local improvement charge is applied to your account, the City will offer a payout option. If you would like to pay out your local improvement charges, submit a payment to the City of Edmonton for the full payout balance stated on your most recent local improvement charge notice, referencing your local improvement account number. The City can process payments of the full payout amount only.

    Local Improvement charges with no expiry year can not be paid out.
     
  2. Local improvement charges — annual payments
    The full cost is amortized over a local serviceable lifetime, which varies based on the type of local improvement (usually between five and 20 years), with the payment and its interest added to your property taxes.

    If your property has local impovement charges attached to it, you will recieve a local improvement notice together with your property tax notice.

    The local improvement charges stay with the property. Should you move, the payments become the responsibility of the new owner.
A formal program is not yet in place, however there are 2 methods by which this work can be completed.
The City of Edmonton offers decorative street light options for neighbourhoods that are to be reconstructed.
Residents can request to have a curb crossing installed or repaired.
Sidewalk reconstruction is carried out at the same time as the Neighbourhood Renewal projects.
Can my local improvement assessment increase in cost?

Your local improvement assessment will never increase.  The total can decrease depending on how much sidewalk is actually replaced adjacent to your property.

Why does it cost more to pay over time versus a lump sum?

The higher cost for annual payments is due to interest charges. In order to fund projects, the City borrows money from the provincial government and the cost of borrowing is passed on to the owners who choose to amortize their payments.

Do I still have to pay local improvement charges if I move?

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

Do I have to pay if I don't support the local improvement project?

If the majority of property owners in the residential area support the local improvement and City Council passes the bylaw, all owners affected must pay. When homeowners receive notice about proposed local improvements in their neighbourhood, they have a 30-day period to petition the project.

Why don’t my annual property taxes pay for my sidewalk reconstruction?

City revenue covers 50% of the cost of local improvement projects. Property owners who benefit from the sidewalk reconstruction are responsible for funding the remainder.

For More Information

Building Great Neighbourhoods

All additional inquiries or escalations can be directed to the Building Great Neighbourhoods team, or by calling 311.

Email buildinggreatneighbourhoods@edmonton.ca

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