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User fees and rates

User fees are paid by Calgarians (or visitors to Calgary) who use and benefit individually from certain City goods and services. Service areas recommend user fees and rates for their respective goods and services to Council for approval, following the direction of the User Fee and Subsidy Policy.

Rates and user fees are approved by Council as part of the service plan and budget process and are adjusted annually, if necessary, in response to changes in the local environment.

How we pay for services

Provincial legislation in Alberta currently provides municipalities with two primary sources of revenue: taxes and user fees. Whether citizens pay for a given service through taxes or user fees is determined through a process of assessing the individual and societal benefits of that service. Following the benefit assessment, each City service is funded in one of four ways.

Fully tax-supported - no user fees

Some services provided by The City are fully tax-supported, such as fire services, roads and local parks. These services benefit and are available to everyone.

Partially tax-supported - reduced user fees

These services, such as recreation facilities and transit fares, benefit both individuals and society as a whole. However, revenue from user fees alone is not sufficient to recover the full cost of these services. This makes them necessarily funded through a combination of user fees and taxes.

Non-tax supported - full user fees

These services, such as water, primarily benefit the individual using the service, therefore the full costs of providing the service is recovered through a user fee or rate.

Licences, permits and approvals

Licences, permits and approvals are used to regulate the use of or changes to private property such as building permits, development permits, business licences and pet licences. Users of these services who are non-compliant can also be fined.