City services, property taxes and revenues

​About City services

Of the many services that impact our daily lives, do you know which level of government provides them?

The City of Calgary (municipal)

Key services include:

  • Police, fire and other protective services
  • Water and wastewater treatment
  • Garbage collection and household recycling
  • Public transit
  • Land use planning, development and building approvals
  • Road construction, maintenance, street cleaning, snow and ice control
  • Parks maintenance
  • Community and recreation programs

Government of Alberta (provincial)

Key services include:

  • Education
  • Health and social services
  • Emergency medical services
  • Provincial highways (e.g. Deerfoot Trail)
  • Justice programs and administration
  • Funding for infrastructure projects
  • Social and family support services

Government of Canada (federal)

Key services include:

  • Regulation of trade and commerce
  • Canada Post
  • Criminal law
  • National defence, foreign policy
  • Immigration, citizenship, census

Your property taxes

Did you know . . . In 2011, 43.5 per cent of property taxes were sent to the Province while 56.5 per cent remained in Calgary to meet municipal needs.

Your property taxes support the delivery of key City services and are the primary source of funding for The City’s operating budget. The table below highlights how much the major services cost a typical household each month in 2011.

City Service ​Monthly  Cost
City Service: Police​ Monthly  Cost: ​$24.07
City Service: ​Fire Monthly  Cost: ​$15.02
City Service: ​Transit Monthly  Cost: ​$14.18
City Service: ​Roads Monthly  Cost: ​$11.07
City Service: ​Parks Monthly  Cost: ​$6.44
City Service: ​Waste & Recycling Monthly  Cost: ​$2.01
City Service: ​Recreation Monthly  Cost: ​$3.44
City Service: ​Community & Neighbourhood Services Monthly  Cost: ​$2.20

According to a 2011 report by The City of Edmonton, Calgary has the lowest property tax rate among 20 major Canadian municipalities. When utility rates are included, Calgary still ranks fourth lowest.

How are property tax rates established?

Each year, City Council approves the amount of expenditure required to support City services.  From this amount, sources of revenue other than property tax, such as business tax, licence fees, user fees and provincial grants are subtracted. The balance is the amount raised by property taxes.

In order to calculate property tax, tax rates are established.  The tax rates reflect the amount of taxes to be paid for every $1 of assessed value.

Historical property tax rates

For more information visit Historical Property Tax Rates.

What are the City’s revenue sources?

Your residential property tax accounts for approximately 19 per cent of The City’s revenue sources for the operating budget.

For more information visit Historical Property Tax Rates.​

Balancing revenues and expenditures

Unlike other levels of government, The City must balance its budget each year. The City’s revenue structure poses several key challenges:

  • In general, most sources of revenue are either frozen or stagnant. Unlike The City’s expenditure, these sources do not increase with inflation.
  • The cost of City expenditures typically increases at a higher rate than goods and services considered in consumer or household inflation.
  • Revenues are not keeping up with costs of inflation and growth.

Property tax is the only source of revenue that can be directly affected to balance increases in expenditures – a two per cent increase in expenditures requires a property tax rate increase of approximately five per cent to balance the budget.