The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake expects to spend about $4 million more in 2023 than it did last year to cover its daily operations.
The budget review committee, made up of all councillors and senior staff, is projecting a budget of more than $44 million this year, up from about $40 million in 2022.
A fourth discussion of the operational budget is set for Thursday morning.
Barring any other budget changes, finance director Kyle Freeborn said the town portion of property taxes on a home assessed at $541,000 will rise by about $105.
“For properties within the urban boundary, there will be a further impact of $11.68,” he told The Lake Report in an email.
This year’s spending will bring the average annual property tax bill to about $1,300.
Freeborn said a few key items are driving up costs.
These include a 6.3 per cent increase in inflation, an $89,000 hike in the town’s insurance, and compensation increases to volunteer firefighters and town staff.
Last year, the town had to top up the operational budget multiple times to mitigate budget increases during the election.
The top-ups, totalling $672,000, were taken from the town’s various financial reserves.
The province has also made changes to the Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement System and Freeborn previously told council that will cost the town up to $150,000.
The operational budget covers several ongoing expenses to the town, including staff salaries, maintenance of town properties, administrative costs, stormwater management systems, community partnerships and town vehicles.
The biggest revenue stream for the town is service fees and fines, accounting for 39.12 per cent or about $17 million of the operational budget, Freeborn said.
Another 38.6 per cent, or about $15 million, is funded through property taxes.
Grants, licences, permit applications, town reserves and other smaller revenue sources make up the remaining $12 million of the town’s operational revenue, or 22.28 per cent.
This year’s increase to property tax hike also is driven by a storm pond maintenance program estimated to cost the town $90,696 in 2023, according to a report Freeborn presented to council March 9.