Local improvements are governed by the Municipal Government Act (MGA) and must follow a very specific process.
Per Section 393 of the MGA, a local improvement may be proposed either by a municipal council or by a group of property owners within the municipality. Once a local improvement has been proposed, a plan must be prepared by the municipality and distributed to all municipal residents who would be liable to pay the local improvement tax. This plan must include:
- A description of the local improvement and its location;
- A list of properties on which the tax will be imposed;
- Details on how the tax rate will be determined (either based on assessment, a per parcel basis, a per frontage basis, or an area basis);
- An estimated cost for the improvement, and the period of time over which this cost will be paid;
- A breakdown of funding sources for the improvement; and
- Any other information considered necessary by the proponents.
Once a local improvement has been proposed and the plan has been prepared and distributed, a petition either for or against the local improvement may be filed with the CAO within thirty (30) days. This petition must:
- Be signed by at least 2/3 of the property owners who would be liable to pay the local improvement tax;
- Must represent at least 50% of the assessed value of the local improvement area; and
- Must be declared valid by the CAO in accordance with the MGA.
If a valid petition is received in support of the project, Council may then proceed with authorizing the plan, tendering the construction process, and, ultimately, passing a local improvement tax bylaw for the approved project.