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Jul. 15, 2019 | Monday
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Town approves budget, property tax hike
Niagara-on-the-Lake council approved 2019 capital budget during council meeting on Feb. 11. (Dariya Baiguzhiyeva/Niagara Now)

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake approved its annual budget Feb. 11, and implemented a 4.5 per cent property tax increase.

The 2019 budget is $9,365,750.

The budget report, prepared by the town staff, also provided a 10-year capital forecast of $72,536,350.

During a committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 4, the council reviewed the operating and capital draft budgets. The initial property tax increase was proposed to be 7.21 per cent or 5.10 per cent after growth.

Council was aiming to have a 4.5 per cent increase after growth. After a number of updates and changes the target was met.

Some of the motions made to the budget included removing Byron Street parking meters, providing the increase for the NOTL Museum from the parking reserve, deferring Line 199 Recreation Master Plan to a future year, and reducing the rent for 176 Wellington street by $6,550.

With these changes, the approved operating budget will see a 4.48 per cent or $11,518.550 after growth increase in the operating property tax.

Since the 2019 Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund allocation hasn’t been announced yet, it might make changes to the 2019 operating budget.

In 2019, the town plans to spend $53,500 on transit, $1,365,000 on water, $1,470,000 on wastewater, $4,170,500 on roads, $1,015,500 on parks, recreation and facilities, $333,500 on fire and emergency services and $108,750 on corporate services.

One of the projects in the corporate services department is a purchase of aerial photos from the Niagara Region. According to the budget report, the reason for this project is because aerial ortho imagery is an “important and useful layer of any Geographic Information System (GIS)” and it will allow the “town GIS staff to perform various analyses.” The cost for this project is $5,000. 

There is no money intended to spend on building services and by-law enforcement in the next two years.

The town will also allocate $80,837 on bridges and culverts, $27,000 dollars on street lighting and $1,342,760 on roads, sidewalks and lights.

From the budget funds spent on roads, the most expensive project is Queenston Road – Townline to Airport – construction. This project has $1,670,000 allocated to it. The works will include providing 1.5-metre bike lanes on both sides of the road. The project also includes money from the Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund in the amount of $332,135. 

One of the road projects is the concrete bridge replacement on Line 1 Road (0.19 kilometres west of Concession 2). The budget report said the bridge was identified as in poor condition by 2017 Structure Inspection report and needs an immediate replacement. The cost of this project will be $545,000.

The NOTL Library will also see some improvements with money spent on furniture replacement, public laptops, and the facilities and materials development. It is projected to have $73,000 spent on it.

According to the budget report, NOTL Community Centre needs more tables and chairs for the café area. It also has to update the furniture, games, toys and computers in Penner Room, said the report. So $10,000 of the budget funds will go to Community Centre amenities.

Cannery Park will have the most amount of 2019 budget money out of the parks, recreation and facilities projects, with $175,000 allocated to it. Some other improvements across this department include community centre amenities, renovated courthouse washrooms, River Beach Park restorations and defibrillator replacement across the town.

Among projects in the water section, the Queenston project has the highest amount of budget money for 2019. The budget predicts to spend $520,000. On contrary, the least amount of funds among this section will be spent on Paxton Lane at York and South End with $20,000 allocated to the project.

The budget report also says $1,085,000 of wastewater money will be spent on Chautauqua area (Dixie – Circle to Lakeshore). 

For the fire and emergency services, $65,000 will go to replacing protective equipment and $25,000 to buying firefighting equipment. The Glendale fire station will also be repaired with $50,000 allocated to it.

The report says the repair work will extend the life of the apparatus floor and reduce potential future costs.

The repair works also include replacing loose and damaged floor tiles in the front vestibule and replacing failing glass panels in overhead doors.

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