2021 Budget

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Niagara-on-the-Lake Budgets:

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s annual budget covers a wide range of services that support Town operations and deliver programs and services required to maintain the high quality of life we enjoy in our community. The Town’s budget is made up of both the Operating and Capital Budgets that are designed to address programs, services, asset management, infrastructure, Council objectives, and more. Town Staff prepare the budgets and Council approves them.

Operating Budget

The Operating Budget provides funding for the day-to-day operations of the Town. It is the Operating Budget, as approved by Council, that sets the tax rate.

Examples of Operating Budget items include:

  • Recreation Programs
  • Parks
  • Fire Services
  • Planning and Development
  • Administrative Services
  • Roads & Sidewalks Maintenance
  • Winter Operations
  • Library Services

Capital Budget

The Capital Budget is large scale investments in tangible amenities, facilities, and infrastructure. The Capital Budget is funded from tax revenues, reserves, development charges, debentures, and grants.

Examples of Capital Budget items include:

  • Roads resurfacing and replacement
  • Major upgrades or renewal of facilities
  • Construction of parks and amenities

Balancing the Budget

Provincial law requires the Town to balance its budget each year, which means the money coming in equals the money going out. To balance the budget, the Town can increase its revenues through property taxes or user fees, or through changing or reducing the cost of services. Municipalities also have the opportunity to borrow money at competitive rates.

Municipalities were hit particularly hard in 2020 as they managed service continuity for essential services and infrastructure during COVID-19. While financial pressures for municipalities in 2020 were somewhat alleviated through the historic Safe Restart Agreement and Social Services Relief Fund, it is anticipated that health risks will continue to remain for some time and economic activity is not expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until at least 2022.

The Town's Audit & Finance Committee has been meeting regularly since January 2020 and has worked hard to prepare for the upcoming 2021 budget.

They focused on the following key areas:

  • Protecting and maintaining services
  • Addressing COVID-19
  • Meeting obligations such as infrastructure investments, health, and safety for volunteer firefighters, etc.

The original draft budget began with a proposed 7.68 percent levy increase. Town Staff and Audit & Finance Committee was tasked by Council with finding savings and bringing down the proposed increase to 3%. Currently, the Town is tracking to achieve or better the 3% levy increase target.

The Town's Audit & Finance Committee has been meeting regularly since January 2020 and has worked hard to prepare for the upcoming 2021 budget. All Audit & Finance Committee Meetings are available for viewing online. Click here to access these recordings.

Despite challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Staff, with the support of the Audit & Finance Committee and Town Council, has maintained a balanced budget. In spite of lost revenue related to facility rentals, parking, etc., the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake remains in a good financial position. This is great news!

With that said, the decreased revenue in 2020 will play a role in establishing which projects and tasks the Town can afford to complete in 2021. A lean budget is anticipated.

At the Council Meeting on Monday, December 21, 2020, the following was approved:

  • 2021 User Fees
  • 2021 Insurance Renewal *Because of changing market conditions and rising insurance rates, there was a 30% increase in the insurance premium.
  • Indexing of Cash-in-lieu of parking and a 2.3% inflationary increase effective Jan. 1, 2020
  • Indexing of Development Charges and a 2.3% inflationary increase effective Jan. 1, 2020

Next Steps

1. Audit & Finance Committee – Review JTC Analysis
Audit & Finance Committee Meeting Date: January 12, 2021, 9:30 AM
The Audit & Finance Committee will have the opportunity to review a summary of questions from Join the Conversation.
Click here to watch live.

2. Report to Council - 2021 Operating & Capital Budgets
Special Council Meeting Date: Monday, January 27, 2021, 6:00 PM
Council will have the opportunity to review and approve 2021 Operating and Capital Budgets, as recommended.
Click here to watch live.

Dates subject to final deliberations.

Have a Question?

Have a question about Niagara-on-the-Lake's budget process? Please feel free to ask it below and Staff will be sure to respond within three (3) business days. The deadline to ask questions is Tuesday, January 5th, 2021 at 11:59 PM.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Budgets:

The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s annual budget covers a wide range of services that support Town operations and deliver programs and services required to maintain the high quality of life we enjoy in our community. The Town’s budget is made up of both the Operating and Capital Budgets that are designed to address programs, services, asset management, infrastructure, Council objectives, and more. Town Staff prepare the budgets and Council approves them.

Operating Budget

The Operating Budget provides funding for the day-to-day operations of the Town. It is the Operating Budget, as approved by Council, that sets the tax rate.

Examples of Operating Budget items include:

  • Recreation Programs
  • Parks
  • Fire Services
  • Planning and Development
  • Administrative Services
  • Roads & Sidewalks Maintenance
  • Winter Operations
  • Library Services

Capital Budget

The Capital Budget is large scale investments in tangible amenities, facilities, and infrastructure. The Capital Budget is funded from tax revenues, reserves, development charges, debentures, and grants.

Examples of Capital Budget items include:

  • Roads resurfacing and replacement
  • Major upgrades or renewal of facilities
  • Construction of parks and amenities

Balancing the Budget

Provincial law requires the Town to balance its budget each year, which means the money coming in equals the money going out. To balance the budget, the Town can increase its revenues through property taxes or user fees, or through changing or reducing the cost of services. Municipalities also have the opportunity to borrow money at competitive rates.

Municipalities were hit particularly hard in 2020 as they managed service continuity for essential services and infrastructure during COVID-19. While financial pressures for municipalities in 2020 were somewhat alleviated through the historic Safe Restart Agreement and Social Services Relief Fund, it is anticipated that health risks will continue to remain for some time and economic activity is not expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until at least 2022.

The Town's Audit & Finance Committee has been meeting regularly since January 2020 and has worked hard to prepare for the upcoming 2021 budget.

They focused on the following key areas:

  • Protecting and maintaining services
  • Addressing COVID-19
  • Meeting obligations such as infrastructure investments, health, and safety for volunteer firefighters, etc.

The original draft budget began with a proposed 7.68 percent levy increase. Town Staff and Audit & Finance Committee was tasked by Council with finding savings and bringing down the proposed increase to 3%. Currently, the Town is tracking to achieve or better the 3% levy increase target.

The Town's Audit & Finance Committee has been meeting regularly since January 2020 and has worked hard to prepare for the upcoming 2021 budget. All Audit & Finance Committee Meetings are available for viewing online. Click here to access these recordings.

Despite challenges related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Staff, with the support of the Audit & Finance Committee and Town Council, has maintained a balanced budget. In spite of lost revenue related to facility rentals, parking, etc., the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake remains in a good financial position. This is great news!

With that said, the decreased revenue in 2020 will play a role in establishing which projects and tasks the Town can afford to complete in 2021. A lean budget is anticipated.

At the Council Meeting on Monday, December 21, 2020, the following was approved:

  • 2021 User Fees
  • 2021 Insurance Renewal *Because of changing market conditions and rising insurance rates, there was a 30% increase in the insurance premium.
  • Indexing of Cash-in-lieu of parking and a 2.3% inflationary increase effective Jan. 1, 2020
  • Indexing of Development Charges and a 2.3% inflationary increase effective Jan. 1, 2020

Next Steps

1. Audit & Finance Committee – Review JTC Analysis
Audit & Finance Committee Meeting Date: January 12, 2021, 9:30 AM
The Audit & Finance Committee will have the opportunity to review a summary of questions from Join the Conversation.
Click here to watch live.

2. Report to Council - 2021 Operating & Capital Budgets
Special Council Meeting Date: Monday, January 27, 2021, 6:00 PM
Council will have the opportunity to review and approve 2021 Operating and Capital Budgets, as recommended.
Click here to watch live.

Dates subject to final deliberations.

Have a Question?

Have a question about Niagara-on-the-Lake's budget process? Please feel free to ask it below and Staff will be sure to respond within three (3) business days. The deadline to ask questions is Tuesday, January 5th, 2021 at 11:59 PM.


Have a question about the 2021 budget process? Ask it here, and staff will respond within three (3) business days.  The deadline to ask questions is Tuesday, January 5 at 11:59 PM.



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  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Not a process question, but why do you email property tax info and then mail it out 1 week later? Can't you save the paper and stamp? Seems very costly to mail out all these statement. Is there a way I can unsubscribe from mailings that get emailed to me?

    mhollemans asked about 1 month ago
    Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. It appears there is an anomaly in our system that generated a document after signing up for e-send. We will work diligently to resolve this matter and strive to reduce our environmental footprint.