Local Improvement Charges
Municipalities, through local improvement charges, have the ability to recover the costs of capital improvements made on public or privately owned land from property owners who will benefit from the improvement.
Here is some general information about the process. If you have a project in mind or would like further information please contact your local municipality.
What is a local improvement?
A local improvement is a project undertaken by a municipality that provides a benefit to properties in the vicinity, such as sidewalks and sewers.
Municipalities can use the local improvement process to undertake a capital project and recover all or part of the cost of the project by imposing local improvement charges on properties that benefit from the work.
Municipalities are not specifically limited in the types of capital projects they can undertake. Projects have included:
- Installation of water and wastewater infrastructure
- Roadway reconstruction such as repaving
- Construction of a sidewalk, curb, and installation of street lighting
- Construction of traffic calming features, such as speed bumps
Can municipalities use the local improvement process to undertake work on privately-owned property?
Yes. Municipalities can work with willing property owners to undertake local improvements on private property.
What are some of the benefits of using local improvement charges?
The municipality can generally spread the cost of a local improvement over several years to minimize the annual payment property owners have to make. Also, if a property owner sells their property before the local improvement charges are fully paid off, the new property-owner assumes responsibility for making the remaining payments.
How could local improvements work on privately-owned properties?
As an example, a municipality may want to encourage property owners to install solar panels.
The municipality could establish a program that will offer willing property owners the opportunity to enter into an agreement with the municipality to have the panels installed.
The property owner would then pay for the cost of the panels over an agreed upon period of time using Local Improvement Charges, which would appear on their property tax bill.
In this case, the municipality could benefit from less draw on their utilities and increased green energy in the community.
The property owner saves money on their utility bills, and, if they opt to sell their property prior to the Local Improvement Charges being paid off, the remainder of the financing remains with the property, and the seller has the benefit of the solar panels as a selling feature.
If I want my municipality to undertake an improvement on my street as a local improvement, how do I initiate that?
Contact your municipality for information about requesting a local improvement.
How do I find out about a local improvement project in my neighbourhood?
Municipalities provide notice to the public and to affected property owners. You can contact your municipality for more information on current and local improvement projects in your community.
What if I have concerns about a particular local improvement project?
Check the notice provided by your municipality about the project. The notice may, for example, contain information about how to petition against undertaking a project as a local improvement.
If you have concerns about a particular project, you should contact your municipality.