St. Catharines Budget 2021

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The City of St. Catharines has initiated the budget process for 2021.

The Budget Standing Committee is meeting regularly on behalf of City Council to address high level strategic budget and policy decisions and provide financial guidance to assist and improve upon the City's budget process, as well as short, medium and long-term financial planning.

The goal each year is to provide residents good value for their tax dollars.

EngageSTC is a space to learn more about the budget process, the 2021 budget as it evolves, and to also share your feedback. Any input will be shared with Council and City staff as part of the process. Please watch for updates, including information about the annual telephone town hall, draft budget documents, public meetings and more.

2020 Budget Documents

Looking for information about the 2020 budget? View the 2020 operating budget, 2020 capital budget and the 2020 water and wastewater budget.

The City of St. Catharines has initiated the budget process for 2021.

The Budget Standing Committee is meeting regularly on behalf of City Council to address high level strategic budget and policy decisions and provide financial guidance to assist and improve upon the City's budget process, as well as short, medium and long-term financial planning.

The goal each year is to provide residents good value for their tax dollars.

EngageSTC is a space to learn more about the budget process, the 2021 budget as it evolves, and to also share your feedback. Any input will be shared with Council and City staff as part of the process. Please watch for updates, including information about the annual telephone town hall, draft budget documents, public meetings and more.

2020 Budget Documents

Looking for information about the 2020 budget? View the 2020 operating budget, 2020 capital budget and the 2020 water and wastewater budget.

Have a question for the City regarding the 2020 budget? Do you have a question about the budget process? Let us know and we will try to have City staff answer your question.

Q&A

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    Two questions: 1) Why does our city have a Deputy CAO most if not comparable cities do not seem's redundant and very unnecessary. 2) As losses on the Meridian Centre and First Ontario Centre continue to increase what is the city doing to mitigate the cost to the taxpayer?

    Progressive asked 9 months ago

    Thank you for your question.

    Regarding question No. 1, different organizations, including cities and regions, are all structured differently. 

    As for No. 2, the Budget Standing Committee and City staff are reviewing expenditures and revenues of these catalyst facilities in the downtown core to ensure they continue to be a strong economic driver for the City. 

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    Is there anything in the 2020 budget implementing anything in the Fire Master Plan?

    Adam asked 9 months ago

    The City’s current Master Fire Plan was approved by Council in October 2017.  Council also approved the creation of a Master Fire Plan Review and Implementation Committee.  The purpose of this committee is to review the plan on an annual basis and make recommendations to Council. 

    The Fire Master Plan approved by Council in October 2017 included the following recommendations for 2020:

    1.  Hiring of one Community Emergency Management Coordinator (CEMC).  The Master Fire Plan Review and Implementation Committee at its meeting of July 10, 2018 suggested that this position is a priority and needs to be moved up to 2018, which will cause other positions to move down one year.  In 2019, the City hired on contract a CEMC position.  This contract position is included  in the 2020 operating budget. 

    2.  Hire one Full-time dedicated Public Educator for the Fire Prevention Division.  The Master Fire Plan Review and Implementation Committee at its meeting of June 25, 2019 recommended that it is more prudent to hire another Fire Inspector that can conduct inspections, investigations and education.  This position was not able to be accommodated in the 2020 draft operating budget.  This position has been included in the 2020 unaccommodated list for new staff positions.

    3.  To maintain the current Fleet Vehicle Replacement Schedule.  There are five equipment replacements included in the 2020 draft operating budget.  They include:

    ·  THREE (3) DODGE CALIBER SX (REPLACE UNITS #032, #033 & #037) - $105,000


    ·  ONE (1) FORD RANGER PICKUP TRUCK (REPLACE UNIT #FF-035-09) - $35,000

    ·  ONE(1) FREIGHTLINER FL80 PUMP/TANKER (REPLACE UNIT #019) - $790,455


    4.  To maintain current building replacement schedule as defined in the corporate asset management replacement program with priority given to renovations to Station 1 which would allow for the relocation of one aerial. 

    In the 2020 draft operating budget there is $50,000 included for a feasibility study for Fire Stations upgrade and renewal.  In 2020 EFES will undertake a detailed study that will more clearly determine costs and the highest priority work, considering different scenarios.  This work is necessary to begin implementation of infrastructure replacement identified in the master plan, so as to optimize the level of service delivered from future spending. 

    Once this work is completed the fire station funding requirements will be adjusted, to reflect updated project costs and timing.

    The 2020 budget and 4 year forecast includes the following  high level requirements for Fire Hall replacements.   

    The 2020 Budget includes within its forecast and unfunded projects the following amounts for Fire Hall replacements:

    2021: $330,000; 

    2022: $1,420,000;

    2023: $4,400,000;

    2024: $3,850,000

    The unfunded priority list also includes $7.97 million which includes high level estimates for the completion of Fire halls 1, 2 and 3.  The current estimates for fire hall replacement included in the 2021-2024 forecast and the unfunded list is almost $18 million.  

    Due to federal and provincial regulations, changes to the 911 systems become effective June 1, 2020 - these regulations include the ability to text and video conference. These changes require the City to upgrade its call handling software in the Fire Services in Communication Centres tied to PBX. The regulations also include the upgrade of its recording software and CAD (dispatch system). The impact of these changes on the City’s operating budget in 2020 is $180,000 or 0.19%.  Included in this amount is one-time operating costs of $165,000 and recurring annual maintenance costs of $15,000.

    In addition to the operating budget amounts, there is $180,000 included in the 2020 approved capital for the Next Generation 911 implementation for capital component to ensure the City is compliant. 

    The changes for the 911 system has a large cost impact on the City’s 2020 budgets, which limited the budget dollars available for other items.


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    In the 2020 Draft Operating Budget Report, under Social Issues, it is stated that city crews are being required to perform clean-up tasks "related to unsafely disposed needles and individuals living rough" that are beyond the scope of their roles. However there is no money allocated to the creation and development of social programs that would address the root cause of this problem. What is the city doing to properly address "Social Issues"?

    kpp asked 9 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Social issues challenging the City takes many faces including: homelessness/affordable housing, drug-use, mental-health, and limited access to community services. The challenge is that there are multiple jurisdictions that deal with these issues, most of which fall under the regional / provincial orders of government. In our case Niagara Region Community Services, Niagara Region Public Health and Niagara Regional Police Services are the direct agencies tasked by the province to develop and fund programs and services associated with these issues.

    Despite this challenge, the City of St. Catharines has been actively working collaboratively with Niagara Region Community Services meeting with various levels of government, (including the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and Ministry of Health and Long-term Care), outreach groups, service providers (ie. Positive Living Niagara, Community Care, Start Me Up Niagara), shelter groups and Niagara Regional Police, on how we can work together to address these issues. Niagara Region is in the process of developing a Community Safety and Well-Being Plan and city staff are actively engaged in this project. The City will continue to meet and provide support within our authority to help address these concerns.

    Additionally, the City is working on a report to bring to the Budget Standing Committee for their November 13 meeting on providing security and outreach services to those that need it.

    The safety and well-being of our community is our top priority and we will continue to be active participants regarding these issues.


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    Why does the City have a 1% infrastructure levy?

    about 1 year ago

    Currently the City of St Catharines infrastructure deficit is over $406million in core infrastructure areas. Essentially there is more than $406 million worth of work that is outstanding in areas of crucial infrastructure areas such as roads, bridges, facilities and park amenities. An infrastructure levy is a tool that will help address this infrastructure deficit, demonstrate accountability and transparency to the taxpayers about how funds are allocated and for what purpose. 

    The City introduced the infrastructure levy in 2016. For 2020, there is an increase of 0.5 per cent in the infrastructure levy, approved by City Council in June of 2019 to support the Canada Summer Games legacy projects.

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    What is the hospital levy?

    about 1 year ago

    City Council, at the May 26, 2008 meeting, approved a separate tax rate to be levied for hospital purposes beginning in 2008 in the amount of $2,029,605. This amount is levied annually to meet the City’s commitment with regard to the new hospital. The City’s current commitment to the hospital levy ends in 2026 with a total contribution over the nineteen (19) years of $41,406,146. The approved payment schedule indicates the amount of $2,208,959 be levied in 2019. With the 2019 assessment values, the impact on a median household with a CVA of $246,000 is a decrease in the hospital levy portion of the City’s tax rate of $0.19.