Centralized Industrial Assessment
Request for Information (RFI) documents:
- RFI letter to Municipal Assessor
- Municipal 2017AY RFI
- Frequently Asked Questions (last update - August 2, 2017)
Municipal Data Acquisition
Attention Alberta Municipalities:
The Provincial Assessor is aware of the difficulties municipalities are facing in providing their assessment roll data by the July 31, 2017 deadline. As a result, the deadline has been extended. The Provincial Assessor is discussing an alternative data acquisition method with municipal data collection and taxation application vendors. This approach will hopefully lead to a standardized file export which municipalities will be able to easily provide. The Provincial Assessor will communicate the procedure to be used in future correspondence.
The CIA project web space contains additional information including: an explanation of authorization to collect data amid FOIP privacy concerns, details on the “hybrid” model, the ASSET data related the designated industrial properties, and other critical information associated with the CIA project. The website can be accessed at: municipalaffairs.alberta.ca/centralized-industrial-assessment
Thank you for your patience and cooperation.
Orignial signed by Sheila Young
Acting Executive Director/Provincial Assessor
Assessment Services Branch
Example of a Municipal Roll Data File (Structure and Content) Being Requested
The following Excel file is intended to provide some data management guidance to municipalities for exporting a Roll data file. It shows the intended structure and content of municipal roll data we’d like to receive from municipalities. Files can be Excel, CSV, or XML formats. Many municipalities have been submitting “reports” rather than row-and-column spreadsheets, or PDFs (essentially “pictures” of data), which are not readable. In several cases, important content is missing from data files. The PDF reference document describes some of the codes appearing in the sample file.
Municipal Affairs has been working with support for municipal tax and financial systems (Diamond, Muniware, Serenic--Bellamy) to have their IT support develop a custom export routine that all their clients can use, which will generate an export file similar to this example. If you are using one of these vendors, you can wait for that solution, which is currently in the first or second version of development. Having the tax system vendors create custom export routines will save a lot of time and hassle ultimately. The system vendors will disseminate the complete software modifications to their clients and tell you how to install and run them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The Provincial Assessor (PA) has communicated that the Ministry will be gathering property information through municipal information and taxation companies, do we still need to provide our assessment roll to the ministry?
Answer: The PA will be working with Muniware, Diamond and Serenic (formerly Bellamy) to gather necessary information. If your municipality does not utilize these systems, you are still required to provide your complete assessment roll to the ministry.
The ASSET system has assessment information, why is MA requesting this information?
Answer: The ASSET system maintains the information required to perform assessment audits and may not reflect recent amendments or supplementary information.
When the ministry was developing ASSET, the program area reviewed whether or not we had a business need to collect the personal information of assessed individuals and it was determined at the time that we had no business need to collect this personal information, so we opted not to collect it. Under the privacy provisions of the FOIP Act, the ministry cannot collect third party personal information unless one of the following circumstances exist:
The collection is expressly authorized by an enactment of Alberta or Canada;
- The information is collected for the purposes of law enforcement; or
- The information relates directly to and is necessary for an operating program or activity of the public body.
For the most part, the ministry relies on the last bullet as the primary reason for the collection of personal information that it undertakes (section 33(c) of the FOIP Act). Given that the transfer of industrial assessment is a new program for the ministry the Department needed to fully assess the nature of each assessed property to ensure that it wasn’t in fact industrial property, etc.
Our municipality has very little designated industrial properties (DIP), why is Municipal Affairs (MA) requesting all of our assessment roll?
Answer: The ministry is requesting all municipal assessment roll data to ensure accuracy in development of the DIP data. Please include all assessment roll information.
How should property ownership data be presented to MA?
Answer: Please include the names of all of the property’s owners and mailing addresses.
Major Property List Introduction & FAQ
The Municipal Government Act has been under review for the past several years, and amendments to this statute will be coming into force as of January 1, 2018. One of the changes affects the property assessment of specific industrial properties named “designated industrial properties” as defined in the Municipal Government Act and specifically the Matters Relating to Assessment and Taxation Regulation.
Within this new legislation, the term “designated industrial properties” is defined and includes properties identified as a major plant in the regulations. The Assessment Services Branch of Municipal Affairs has drafted an initial inventory of major plants and is welcoming input into the list. We recognize that the list at this point is incomplete, and through this consultation process we will be working with municipalities, industry and other affected stakeholders to finalize the list for inclusion in the regulations.
Preliminary List of Major Plants
Why is the list not complete?
Answer: The Assessment Services Branch attempted to identify major plants using publicly available information and internal knowledge, however we know this to be incomplete. As this is a formal regulation amendment, the proper process was to publish the current list and solicit additional properties for inclusion during the consultation period. Once the draft regulation is published, then we are able to publicly discuss the inventory and the criteria for inclusion.
I thought this pertained to the oil and gas industry?
Answer: The facilities identified in Section 284 ii.i are specific to the energy sector, however the remaining sections provide for the identification of other types of industrial facilities to be subject to centralized property assessment services. The intention of the major plant identification is to provide for uniform and consistent assessment provision for large, specialized, and complex facilities. Industries beyond the energy sector have such assets which may benefit from a centralized approach to valuation.
How do I update the list?
Answer: Your feedback is encouraged during this consultation period. Please identify any properties which you believe would be candidates for the major property inventory. Conversely, if you believe a facility is wrongly designated, please let us know. Through this consultation period and in discussions with municipalities, industry, and assessors we anticipate creating a complete inventory of major properties in the Province of Alberta.
Hybrid Model Overview
The Municipal Government Act has been under review for the past several years, and amendments to this statute will be coming into force as of January 1, 2018. This statute will see Municipal Affairs under the guidance of the Provincial Assessor assume responsibility for the issuance of assessments for Designated Industrial Properties (DIP), as defined in the statutes. This is a significant undertaking, and one that requires a comprehensive plan for the transition and implementation of this important function.
To provide for a smooth transition and appropriate knowledge transfer, we will be assuming the functional responsibility for the preparation of DIP assessments using a phased approach. As part of this transition, we are looking to engage with our existing municipal partners to continue to provide the assessment preparation and defense for DIPs. This will be a contractual arrangement between Municipal Affairs and the respective municipality to continue to provide assessment services for an interim period while Municipal Affairs prepares itself to assume this function. We will be engaging with municipalities over the summer and fall to determine interest, capacity, and parameters.
The intention at this point is to contract with the majority of municipalities for an interim period while the transition is planned and implemented. In the short term, there are select municipalities which will be assumed earlier than others in order to address known issues and to provide a platform for the implementation testing.
Why can’t Municipal Affairs take over on January 1, 2018?
Answer: The Assessment Services Branch has limited resources at this early stage of the project. We require an IT system which can house the existing data and perform the necessary calculations. We also require a staff compliment which is appropriately trained to perform the functions effectively. These are not in place currently for the absorption of the full DIP assessment function, but will be developed over the next couple of years. As Municipal Affairs develops their competency, additional municipal DIP assessments will be assumed into the centralized functional area.
What if I want Municipal Affairs to take over the function now?
Answer: Through our consultation phase with each municipality the level of interest in continuing the function will be ascertained. There may be occasions where it is appropriate for Municipal Affairs to assume the DIP assessment function sooner in the project phasing. We will respect the wishes of our municipal partners in determining their interest and capacity to continue to provide this service on behalf of the Provincial Assessor. In the event that many municipalities are keen to have Municipal Affairs assume this function in the short term, we may have to engage with private assessors to perform the task until such time as we have developed our internal resources.
What are the details of the contract?
Answer: The contract form is under development, but will be substantially similar to a standard Province of Alberta contract. Schedules attached the contract will outline details such as property listings, performance expectations, and compensation. It is the intention of Municipal Affairs to compensate municipalities for the provision of this service. We also know that some municipalities contract this function to external resources, and this is contemplated within the Schedules.
For further information or answers to your questions, please contact:Sheryl Ferguson
Centralized Industrial Assessment Unit
Phone: 780-644-4431 (to call toll free, dial 310-0000 first)