Friday, May 26, 2017

Six things you should know about 2017 property taxes

Property tax bills for 2017 are now in the mail and while no one likes paying taxes, we all benefit from the public services they provide. Your property taxes support services like police, fire protection, transit, parks, recreation, social services and more. You can see where your tax dollars go using the online tax breakdown tool. About 60 per cent of residential property taxes go to The City while the remaining 40 per cent goes to the Government of Alberta.

1. Property taxes are due June 30
Property taxes are due by June 30 to avoid penalties. Bills are mailed in May and cover the calendar year January 1 to December 31, 2017. If you don’t receive a bill by the first week of June you can request a copy of the bill. The City of Calgary offers a variety of property tax payment options to pay The City directly or through your bank. Credit cards cannot be used to pay property tax.

The Tax Instalment Payment Plan (TIPP) allows you to pay your property tax on a monthly basis instead of making one payment in June. Your payment automatically comes out of your chequing account the first day of every month, making paying your property taxes easier.



2. Council provides rebates to taxpayers

Council reduced the 2017 property tax increase to 1.5 per cent (from 4.7 per cent) and will cover that increase with a one-time rebate​. Additionally, the Province’s share of property tax was lower than The City expected. This created what is commonly called tax room in the amount $23.7 million. Council agreed to keep the tax room and to rebate the 2017 tax room as a one-time return to taxpayers. As a result, the owner of a residential property valued at $460,000 can expect to see rebates totaling $51 on the 2017 property tax bill.

The rebates will appear as a single credit on your 2017 property tax bill.

3. Changes in your property assessment could affect your tax bill
Your property taxes could still go up or down if there was a change in your assessment relative to the city-wide typical per cent change. What's important is how your property value changes compared to the typical property.

If your property's year-to-year change in assessment is:
  • Less than the typical change, your property's taxes will decrease. 
  • The same as the typical change, your property's taxes will stay about the same. 
  • More than the typical change, your property's taxes will increase.
Read more about how property assessment affects your property taxes.

4. Tax increase capped for eligible non-residential properties
The 2017 Municipal Non-Residential Phased Tax Program (PTP) is a one-year program that Council put in place to assist non-residential properties impacted by the redistributive effect of the 2017 assessment process. Under the PTP, eligible non-residential municipal tax increases will be limited to five per cent (not including the effects of business tax consolidation).

5. Business tax consolidation continues
The City is phasing out the business tax through a gradual transfer of the business tax revenues to the non-residential property tax. Each year, business tax bills will go down and non-residential property taxes will increase. The business tax will be eliminated in 2019.

This year non-residential property owners will see an estimated additional 4.6 per cent increase in their 2017 non-residential property tax rate. When the 2017 business tax bills were mailed in February business owners saw a more than 20 per cent reduction in the business tax rate. Visit calgary.ca/BTC for more information.

6. Programs for those experiencing financial hardship
Under The City’s Property Tax Assistance Program, residential property owners of any age may be eligible for a credit/grant of the increase on their property tax account. Visit calgary.ca/FairEntry for more information or call 311.

Seniors may be eligible for provincial support. Visit www.seniors-housing.alberta.ca or call 1-877-644-9992 for more information. Property owners in need of immediate assistance are encouraged to call 211 or visit www.ab.211.ca for information on all support options available.

Find out more about property taxes and assessment by visiting calgary.ca/ourfinances.

Deerfoot Trail Study recommends short-term improvements

The City of Calgary and Alberta Transportation are working together to develop a program of upgrades to manage traffic and improve safety on Deerfoot Trail. Over the last year, the study has considered more than one hundred iterations that have resulted in five short-term improvement recommendations for future consideration:
  1. Southland Drive to Anderson Road / Bow Bottom Trail S.E. southbound basket weave
  2. “Jughandle” intersection at 32 Avenue / 12 Street N.E.
  3. Left-turn restrictions at McKnight Boulevard / 12 Street N.E. (existing Council-approved plan)
  4. Northbound ramp connection between McKnight Boulevard and 64 Avenue N.E.
  5. New northbound on-ramp from 11 Street N.E. 
Currently, there is no funding for short- or long-term improvements on Deerfoot Trail. Once funding is allocated, the short-term improvement recommendations are lower-cost options that could be implemented within two years.

Numerous short-term recommendations were generated by considering the results of more than 15 studies on Deerfoot Trail completed over the last 20 years, analyzing over 10,000 comments from citizens during the first phase of engagement in 2016, and a technical assessment of problems on the corridor today. Stakeholder workshops were held in late 2016 to gather feedback on the options.

The options needed to meet several criteria to be considered further:
  • Provide benefits for five to 10 years
  • Able to be designed and implemented within two years of being funded
  • Offer improvements for problem locations that benefit the entire corridor
  • Result in benefits that are greater than the cost within 10 years
Many improvement options were identified and considered along the entire corridor – in both directions – including for the problem areas around 17 Avenue S.E., Glenmore Trail and the Ivor Strong Bridge. The designs that will address those areas require significant infrastructure investment and do not meet the criteria mentioned above for consideration in the short-term. However, those areas will be addressed in the long-term recommendations. For more details on some of the options considered, please see the Short-term Options Stakeholder Workshop What We Heard report.

The short-term recommendations are preliminary and have been advanced enough to identify what additional land would be needed and the estimated cost to implement them. These details will help to inform future funding decisions.

To view the short-term improvement recommendations, and for more information about the study, please visit calgary.ca/deerfoot.

_____________________________









Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Community banners celebrate Canadian pride, passion and heritage

In partnership with Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), The City is celebrating Canada's 150 birthday by installing colourful outdoor banners in in communities, City parks, streets and boulevards.

Saskatoon pie, Nanaimo bars, butter tarts and maple syrup are all delicious Canadian inventions


Every year, The City and ACAD collaborate on a project to showcase the diversity and quality of work from students, while enlivening City buildings, parks, roads and other public spaces. This year was even more special as twelve students were asked to design 50 different designs to celebrate and inspire pride, passion, and our Canadian heritage. The designs are based on five themes: Aboriginal heritage; Canadian architecture, famous inventors and inventions; landscapes and land management; and transportation.

The students’ designs, which also incorporate colours from Heritage Canada’s official 150th anniversary logo, will be proudly on display around the city until summer 2018 as part of The City’s Canada 150 community banner program.

Installation of the banners, kindly supported by Arbor-Tech Utility Services Ltd., started mid-April and will be completed in time for Canada Day. On July 1, the banners will be on display at Confederation Park as part of the Canada Day festivities at the park.

Flowers, also inspired by the Canada 150 theme, will be on display in City parks and communities as another way to celebrate and recognize Canada’s milestone birthday and further enhance the beauty of our city.

Rundle 2.0: Planning for redevelopment at Rundle Station


The City is planning for development in the Rundle LRT station area to help Calgary grow in a more sustainable way. Redeveloping areas within a 10 minute walk of CTrain stations allows people to move around our city in a fast, affordable and convenient way. This type of development is commonly referred to in the urban planning world as Transit Oriented Development (TOD). TOD focuses on creating more complete communities that attract a broad range of housing choices and services to established communities, almost creating mini cities within the city itself.

The Rundle Station Area has excellent potential for TOD; there are large sites available for new buildings, there are existing amenities like schools and employment centres in place and there is housing in need of redevelopment. However, the area needs a policy plan and some improvements before TOD can really take off in the area.

In September 2016, The City launched the Rundle Station master planning process. A Master Plan is a document that guides future development in an area. The City is developing a Master Plan for Rundle to create a shared vision for the area and plan for future growth by identifying what improvements are needed and where new development should occur. The master planning process is the first step in planning for TOD by providing a full picture of what work is needed in an area in order to realize TOD.

These are early days for planning TOD in Rundle and there are other factors at play, like market demand, that determine when development could occur. Having said that, it’s never too early to start planning for the future and this is the opportunity we have in Rundle. Between fall 2016 and 2017, we have been working with community members, landowners and developers to shape a Master Plan for the area.

We will be coming back to the Rundle community on May 30, 2017 to share development concepts and potential public improvements to the area at an open house. Join us to learn what we’ve heard so far and understand how we are using public input, provide feedback on the draft vision and core ideas of the Master Plan and review the potential Rundle Station area improvement projects that have been identified.

Event details:
Date: May 30, 2017
Time: Drop-in any time between 5 and 8 p.m.
Location: Rundle Community Association, Upper Hall
2409 50th St N.E.

For more information on the Rundle Station Master Plan visit calgary.ca/rundle.




About the Author: Mike Davis is an Urban Planner with the City of Calgary. Mike’s career has focused heavily on urban redevelopment with experience in cities across Ontario and more recently here in Calgary.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Plan your route this long weekend by knowing where and when construction is happening

While the official start of construction season is still a few weeks away, there are some major road closures Calgarians should be aware of this long weekend:

  • The intersection of 1 Street S.E. (MacLeod Trail southbound) and 17 Ave. will be closed from 7 p.m. on Friday, May 19 to 5 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23 to accommodate underground utility work. North/south traffic will be restricted but vehicles will still be able to use and exit the business access only lane on 17 Avenue onto Macleod Trail during business hours. 
  • 17 Avenue will be closed to traffic between Macleod Trail and Centre Street starting May 19. For more information on the 17 Avenue construction schedule visit Calgary.ca/17Avenue.
  • 14 Street S.W. will be reduced to a single lane in each direction between Heritage Drive and 90 Avenue S.W. starting at 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 20 until 11 a.m. on Sunday, May. 21.
  • The intersection of 32 Avenue and 36 Street N.E. will see various lane closures on Saturday, May 20 between 5 a.m. and 6 p.m. for paving. One lane of travel will be open north and southbound on 36 Street while 32 Avenue will be closed at the intersection.
  • The intersection of 36 Street and 39 Avenue N.E. will see various closures starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 20 until Monday, May 22 for paving. 
  • 32 Avenue N.E. is closed between 56 Street N.E. and 60 Street N.E. beginning at 6 a.m. on Monday, May 22 for water main replacement. This closure will remain in place through 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, and traffic will be detoured to Temple Drive N.E.




Sidewalk repairs are underway in several Calgary neighbourhoods

City concrete crews will be working at dozens of locations across Calgary this weekend.  Work has started on several sidewalks in communities around Calgary, with a heavy focus on Woodbine, Rosscarrock and Willow Park as part of this year’s paving program. This work will help ensure safety and a smooth walk for pedestrians in these areas. 

Work in the downtown core typically begins following Stampede, out of consideration for businesses in the area.

Roadway Activities Map


Have you ever been travelling down the road, gone past a construction zone closure and wondered what kind of work is being done? Now you can find out easily by visiting The City of Calgary’s Roadway Activities Map.

While The City has an array of helpful maps on the map gallery, The Roadway Activity Map sets itself apart by being a real-time application that shows both planned and active work. This includes both short term and long term projects including work like construction paving, sidewalk concrete work and microsurfacing work.




Other quick tips to help you avoid traffic delays in Calgary

  • Follow @yyctransport on Twitter for the most up-to-date traffic information, or visit Calgary.ca/trafficinfo for road closure listings.
  • Visit the Calgary Newsroom webpage to see Transportation’s Daily Road Closures press release. 
  • Plan trips with the expectation that travel will take a few minutes longer during the construction season.
  • Use alternate routes if you know the whereabouts of a construction zone, especially zones operating over a lengthy period of time. This will reduce traffic congestion and related