Leduc County

Off-site levies update

Leduc County council is considering a new Greater Nisku and Area Off-Site Levy bylaw, which will impose an off-site levy to pay for new or expanded infrastructure for roads, water, sanitary and stormwater management, and the land required for those facilities. In addition to the bylaw, several changes are being considered to the Greater Nisku and Area Off-site Levy Policies and Procedures.

View the proposed Greater Nisku and Area Off-Site Levy bylaw

View the draft Greater Nisku and Area Off-Site Levy Policies and Procedures

Contact

Charlene Haverland, Supervisor of Client Relations
Phone: 780-979-2114
Fax: 780-955-8866
Email: charleneh@leduc-county.com

Off-site levies FAQ

What is an off-site levy?

An off-site levy is one of several financing sources that municipalities use to pay for infrastructure costs associated with growth. Off-site levy charges are used to transparently and equitably allocate offsite infrastructure capital costs to those that benefit, ensuring that growth pays for growth.

As outlined in Alberta legislation, eligible off-site infrastructure includes new or expanded roads, water, sanitary and stormwater infrastructure, and associated lands for each. Many municipalities in Alberta impose off-site levies.

Off-site levies provide a mechanism for municipalities to recover capital costs incurred for infrastructure improvements required for new development and may only be collected once, for each type of infrastructure, in respect of lands subject to development or subdivision for those items outlined (transportation, drainage, water, sewer, and/or land required for transportation, drainage, water, sewer).

The off-site levy rates are calculated by area to ensure each development bares an equal share of costs associated with the needs of a specified area. The Municipal Government Act clearly outlines the requirements for off-site levy financial reporting, tracking use of funds (for example: costs associated with an offsite levy cannot be used towards ongoing maintenance of infrastructure).

What is the purpose of an off-site levy?

An off-site levy helps pay for road and municipal utility systems required outside or "off" the site of a development or subdivision to serve that development. Off-site levies are collected from a developer at time of subdivision or development, and held in trust to construct specific off-site infrastructure(s). Municipalities prefer offsite levies to other forms of infrastructure cost allocation (e.g., development agreements) because they are easier to administer, they create a level playing field amongst developers (i.e., consistent, transparent, equitable outcome), and they provide elected officials and administrators with a detailed understanding of the cost of growth.

What are the infrastructure items the offsite levy is being collected for and when will they be built?

The off-site levy is to pay for new or expanded infrastructure for roads, water, sanitary and stormwater management and the land required for those facilities. The capital projects are set out in specific benefit basins as shown in the bylaw and pursuant to the calculation details contained in the reports and the detail design at the time of development. The timing of the projects will be determined by the available funding, and the need required by new subdivision and development.

Why weren't the off-site levies paid when the lot was created or building constructed?

In the case of development and subdivision many years ago, the reasons a levy was not imposed may not be clear. Most developments/subdivisions were required to enter into a development agreement for off-site costs; however, those costs typically were not reflective of the true costs and a bylaw may not have been in effect at the time. Extensive research has been done to ensure each benefitting area would pay their true fair share of offsite costs – essentially making “growth pay for growth” rather than increasing everyone’s taxes to pay for the necessary upgrades, due to the new development.

How are the rates calculated?

Leduc County completed engineering studies of the infrastructure required to support and maintain cost effective and orderly growth. The county has allocated those costs to the lands that will benefit from the new or expanded infrastructure so that developers and people subdividing will pay an amount proportionate to the area being developed or subdivided. The county will ensure that the offsite levy rates are current by reviewing the costs of construction each year.

What is the benefit of an off-site levy to developers in this area?

An off-site levy effectively levels the playing field for development in an area that requires infrastructure upgrades due to increased development. Without a system in place to determine benefit and cost for those using new infrastructure, the county is required to enter into single development agreements with those looking to develop here. As such, individual developers can often be responsible for the full costs associated with necessary upgrades that others within the area will benefit from. This can drastically impact a project’s feasibility. Additionally, by having the municipality manage things like intersection upgrades and drainage ditch construction, the developer significantly reduces the amount of work they are required to do upfront for a development application.