Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pelham's 2013 Operating Budget

We officially approved our 2013 Operating Budget during our Town Council meeting last Monday.

While Council gave direction to ensure minimal impact on you and other property tax-payers last fall, we also approved ways to increase the Town’s level of service. For instance, Council asked staff to become more customer-friendly, to start clearing snow from all Town sidewalks (for next winter), to emphasis recreation, culture, and wellness, and to continue to improve the image of the Town. At the same time, we also directed staff to ensure we continued to improve the Town’s infrastructure and facilities.

These decisions mean budget changes. For example, continuing to improve infrastructure added $161,000 to the budget. Significant organization changes – 5 job reclassifications including establishing a Director of Recreation, Culture & Wellness, turning 2 contract positions to permanent, removing a number of part-time positions, and adding a Marketing & Communications Officer – added $3,000 to the budget. Creatively revamping snow-clearing and beginning to clear all Town sidewalks (effective November 1, 2013) added only $7,000 to the budget. Uncontrollable, wage-related increases – benefits, CPP, EI – added $56,000 to the budget.

As a result of these and other initiatives, the Treasurer recommended a net budget increase of $399,542 (on a $9.5 million net budget) or 4.39% BEFORE adjusting for real assessment growth.

Real assessment growth in 2012 – from new businesses, new homes, or improvements to existing properties – was $133,587 or 1.47%. (This growth has nothing to do with MPAC’s changes in market value assessment of existing properties.)

Once growth is removed, the net effect on the tax levy will be $265,955 or an increase of 2.92% on the Town of Pelham portion of your 2013 property tax bill.

What does that mean for your pocket book, you ask?

Well, the average residential property value for 2013 is expected to be $291,556. If your home and property were assessed at that value, you would be paying an additional $45.91 or a total of $1,335 for the Pelham portion of the municipal services on your property tax bill.

To put the 2013 Operating Budget into perspective – from what we are hearing and reading in the media from across Niagara – Pelham will likely be the lowest or among the lowest increases again this year.

I will write more about your total property tax impact after Regional Council approves the 2013 rates and ratios later this spring.

For more information about our 2013 Operating Budget, please check out “Budget & Financial Reports” under “Information for Residents” on the Town’s website at