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City launches consultation on offsite levy rates

Lacombe City council approved a public consultation plan for proposed changes to the City’s offsite levy rates.

The consultation plan aims to inform the public and consult with landowners and developers before the council’s first reading of the updated Offsite Levy Bylaw.

“Lacombe City council continues to ensure our residents, businesses and developers are receiving equitable treatment in terms of taxation,” Mayor Grant Creasey said. “This consultation process is a transparent means to ensure that Lacombe is fairly allocating the cost of core infrastructure our citizens expect and deserve.”

Offsite levies are a legal mechanism for a municipality to recover some of the cost of eligible public facilities, water, sanitary, storm, and arterial roadway infrastructure from developers who benefit from that infrastructure.

Since the current Offsite Levy Bylaw 387 was adopted in 2013, there have been material changes to the City’s built environment, and construction costs. Infrastructure projects have been completed, developments that were planned now house Lacombe citizens, and levy funds have been collected.

This combined with the updated Master Plans, and council’s adopted 10-Year Capital Plan has resulted in the need to revisit Lacombe’s offsite levy rates. In addition, Administration proposes to modify how benefits (and funding requirements) are allocated for each infrastructure project.

The proposed 2023 Offsite Levy Update represents increases between 10 percent and nearly 350 percent of the 2013 costs, with the average rate rising by 46 percent.

These rate increases are attributed to construction cost increases over the last 10 years, the addition of a new class of infrastructure (facilities), new projects, and rate increases in benefitting areas that had not previously contributed to major infrastructure projects.

Lacombe’s proposed average offsite levy increase is 14 percent lower than the average offsite levy of Central Albertan comparator municipalities.

Lacombe’s citizens and other stakeholders will be consulted through:

• Social media posts

• Linking to a map on lacombe.ca

• Notices published in City pages and on the back of the City’s utility bill

• Direct letters/invitations for landowners and developers to meet with City officials

Results are scheduled to be brought back to council in early 2023.

This consultation process aligns with the Municipal Government Act which requires stakeholder consultation on offsite levies.

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