Niagara Regional Council approves 2023 budget
Niagara Regional Council has approved a budget for 2023 that continues to make critical investments while managing the impacts of inflation and other unique pressures.
The Regional budget process concluded on Feb. 23 with the approval of the General Levy operating budget for Regional departments and Niagara Regional Police Service, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Niagara Regional Housing and Court Services as well as the consolidated capital budget. Regional Council had previously considered separate special levy operating budgets for waste management and Niagara Transit Commission and the rate budgets for water and wastewater.
Council approved the 2023 General Levy with an expenditure increase of $38 million for a property tax increase of 7.58 per cent on the Regional portion of the tax bill.
For the average property assessed at $278,764, the Regional portion of the tax bill will increase by $123, totalling $1,743 in 2023.
The work Niagara Region performs every day touches the lives of residents in many ways, from providing clean water, road maintenance and waste collection to public safety, housing, child care and much more.
As the largest source of revenue for the municipality, property taxes fund more than 45 per cent of programs and services that Niagara residents rely on.
The Region’s financial plan for 2023 reflects residents' desire to see investments in economic growth initiatives, expansion of transit services, access to affordable housing, and to ensure Niagara continues to care for its most vulnerable citizens.
The 2023 budget includes funding for numerous critical programs and services including:
- $1.5 million for housing provider operating subsidies
- $10.6 million to support infrastructure for regional departments and agencies, boards and commissions
- $6.9 million for incentives programs including agricultural and brownfield development charges and tax increment grants
- $2.3 million for operating and capital costs of new ambulances
- $9.6 million for Niagara Regional Police Services
For 2023, the Region is also recovering 33 per cent of a $6 million tax deferral approved in 2022 to fund the General Levy.
The operating budget for 2023 contains a tax levy of $444 million, which funds the daily business of the Niagara Region, its boards and agencies.
To help drive Council’s priorities for the current term, the operating budget also supports a $237 million approved capital program. The Region has allocated funding toward a number of key initiatives such as:
- $18.6 million Ontario Street reconstruction
- $11.3 million Oswego Bridge reconstruction
- $8.4 million York Road watermain replacement
- $16.8 million Ontario Street watermain replacement
- $14.2 million for the rehabilitation of existing housing stock
- $16.1 million Decew Booster Station upgrade
Transit Special Levy
Regional Council endorsed operating and capital budgets tabled by the Niagara Transit Commission Board last November, an important first milestone for integrated regional bus transit service in Niagara.
The Commission’s first budget for 2023 advances a commitment to better connect Niagara communities while continuing to deliver exceptional service to transit riders. The financial plan reflects an amalgamation of municipal and Regional budgets, with adjustments made to account for long-term infrastructure needs, inflation, and recent declines in revenue realized by the former transit providers.
Regional Council approved a separate Special Levy of $55.1 million, to be billed to ratepayers. This special levy for 2023 will result in an annual household cost ranging from $64 per year to $295 per year depending on the municipality.
Much like waste management, transit is funded separately from the General Levy and will appear as a Special Levy unique for each municipality as an item on the local municipal tax bill starting with bills issued in the second half of 2023.
"Council appreciates that everything in the lives of our residents is costing more and we are sympathetic to how this budget may be seen as yet another increase to be absorbed by households across the region. I can assure the public that Regional Council was exceedingly thorough in its examination and critical review of the budget and we strived to be as responsible as possible. The 2023 budget ensures that we can continue to provide residents with the service they expect and deserve, while maintaining over $9.8 billion in Regional infrastructure."
~ Jim Bradley, Regional Chair
"Throughout this budget process, members of Council and Regional staff worked collaboratively to ensure the 2023 Budget meets our community’s expectations for high-quality services while taking into account the financial challenges faced by our residents and businesses. The 2023 Budget follows a balanced approach that allows us to continue providing incredible service in a responsible way. "
~ Wayne Redekop, Regional Councillor and Budget Chair
"Niagara Region continues to be confronted with unique challenges and staff have done an excellent job managing the Region’s finances as we navigate these pressures. With the 2023 Budget, we are able to continue to invest in needed programs and meet community expectations for high-quality service. I want to thank Regional staff, Budget Committee and members of Regional Council for their leadership in ensuring we continue to make investments in critical areas for our growing Region."
~ Todd Harrison, Commissioner of Corporate Services and Treasurer
Peter Criscione (Media Only)
905-980-6000 ext. 3747