Sunday, February 26, 2017
4.7% Increase for Pelham Portion of Residential Property Tax
Since Pelham’s portion of your property taxes represents roughly 38% of your overall residential tax, we anticipate that the blended rate will be an approximate 2.6% overall increase. Thus, the Town will receive $1,558 of the $4,132 for the average residential property tax bill; the Niagara Region will receive 48% of the total amount and the Province (to fund education) the remaining 14%.
In preparing the operating budget, Council directed Staff to review all expenditures against customer service needs and the Town’s strategic plan.
First, we included an additional $197,827 for a “Sustainability Increase.” As you have noticed through the years, instead of cutting like other Cities / Towns, we continue to improve and maintain the Town’s infrastructure. We do this by increasing the amount we transfer to capital reserves. Thus, 1.8% of the 4.7% overall increase will help improve and sustain infrastructure. (This compares favourably to the 2.7% we added 2016 to capital and the 1.8% extra in 2015.)
Second, we added funds for the Pelham Public Library to open additional hours in the renewed Maple Acre branch. Council agreed with the Library Board and the broader community that the Library needed to increase hours to meet the demand and to better use the new facility—which was officially opened on Friday. The first month of operations showed a huge demand for the new facility over the former branch; every time I was at the Library, it is busy and well used!
Third, after a very successful pilot program, Council agreed to continue offering Pelham Transit. The ridership consistently increased during the Provincially-supported year-and-a-half pilot and many have come to rely on the service. For example, students use the morning and afternoon service to get to and from classes at Niagara College or Brock. Similarly, seniors from local retirement homes use the mid-day service to travel directly to the Fonthill Library, the Shopper’s Plaza, or to the grocery store. In addition, staff will work with Wainfleet and West Lincoln to potentially expand our transit service.
Finally, other increases include utility costs, staffing and benefit costs, and contracted services (like sidewalk snow clearing) so we can maintain expected service levels.
As a result of these and other initiatives, Council approved a net budget increase of $518,544 on a $11,791,264 net budget.
I will write more about your total property tax impact and compare with previous years after Regional Council approves the 2017 rates and ratios later this spring.
For more information about Pelham’s Operating Budget, please check out the Town's website at www.pelham.ca.
As stated above, we expect the blended increase to be approximately 2.6%. This compares favouably to other municipalities.
Some folks have asked how this compares to inflation. The Bank of Canada has year-over-year inflation to be 2.1%.