The proposed City Charter Regulation has been developed by the Government of Alberta, the City of Edmonton, and the City of Calgary to “provide additional authorities and flexibility to the cities with the aim of building strong, vibrant cities that attract trade and investment.” The regulation aims to provide a set of enabling proposals to help Calgary and Edmonton respond to “a unique set and scale of population pressures and demands for services” (Source: https://www.alberta.ca/city-charters.aspx). A public consultation, in the form of a survey, was open until October 10, 2017.
The enabling proposals on which CCVO provided feedback are provided below, along with CCVO’s submitted remarks.
Enabling Proposal: Community Organization Property Tax Exemption Regulation timelines
“A significant amount of time and resources are needed to process annual tax exemption applications under the current Community Organizations Property Tax Exemption Regulation.
The draft City Charters Regulation proposes allowing Cities to extend the exemption period for community organization tax exemptions to five years from the current three years.
This change will create efficiencies for both the Cities and community organizations as identical applications will no longer need to be submitted and reviewed as often.”
The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) applauds the Province for enabling Calgary and Edmonton to extend the exemption period for community organization tax exemptions. CCVO agrees that this change will help to reduce administrative burden for both the Cities and community organizations.
Enabling Proposal: Building code energy excellence
“Municipalities must regulate construction in accordance with the Safety Codes Act and provincial safety codes.
The draft City Charters Regulation proposes giving the Cities the ability to establish requirements above and beyond existing building code standards, on issues where the building codes are silent, in order to meet environmental and energy conservation objectives. These requirements cannot compromise existing safety codes.
This change will help build more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable cities. The Cities will have a tool to encourage the use of innovative technologies in new constructions and major renovations.”
The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) recommends that the Province and/or Cities make financing instruments available to nonprofit organizations. The purpose of these financing instruments would be to mitigate any material financial impact for nonprofits resulting from the proposed changes to the building code standards.
Enabling Proposal: Clean energy loans
“Under the Municipal Government Act, municipalities are limited in the types of loans they can provide.
The draft City Charters Regulation proposes to give Calgary and Edmonton the ability to provide loans to homeowners to fund energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades in their homes. These loans will be tied to the property through a mortgage registered on title, and will be passed on to subsequent homeowners until they have been repaid.
This change will help citizens access the funding to make their homes more energy efficient without creating an immediate and significant financial burden. Energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades will work towards sustainability and environmental goals in Calgary and Edmonton.”
The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) recommends that the enabling proposal be expanded to include not just homeowners, but also nonprofit organizations and commercial organizations that lease space to nonprofit organizations. By including nonprofit spaces in the enabling proposal, this financial tool and incentive will help to ensure that the nonprofit sector inhabits facilities that are comparably upgraded with respect to energy efficiency and renewable energy.