Mayor Siscoe ends veto period with no changes; St. Catharines multi-year budget approved

Mayor Siscoe took the step of waiving the Mayoral veto period on Friday for the 2024-26 Multi-year Budget, bringing the budget process to a close with the adoption of the City of St. Catharines Budget for 2024. That concludes the first budget process under the new Strong Mayor legislation introduced by the Province of Ontario in 2023. The City levy for 2024 came in at a 1.78% increase, after Council chose to increase spending from the Mayor’s originally proposed 1.49% increase. However, this will translate on the average resident’s property tax bill to an increase by the City of $30.32, or 0.72%.

The full breakdown on the average bill is as follows: City levy property tax increase 0.72% $30.32

Estimated Regional levy property tax increase (incl. special levies) 3.03% $127.03

Estimated Education levy property tax increase 0.08% $3.21

Estimated Total property tax increase 3.83% $160.56

Highlights of this year’s budget include: Introduction of the Older Adult Tax Increase Deferral program, as passed by Council in Q4 of 2023;

$963,000 in additional costs related to legislative changes imposed by the Province;

$1.43 million in inflationary and non-discretionary (ie. Contract obligations and insurance increases) increases;

$250,000 in reduced costs from consolidated security contracting;

$1.65 million in increased revenue generation through increased investment revenue, the addition of new fire dispatch revenues and the new Municipal Accommodation Tax

The Multi-Year budget for 2024-26 – the first budget of its kind in St. Catharines – has become a best practice in the Province of Ontario, and will involve a reconfirmation process in both 2025 and 2026.