St. Catharines Budget 2021

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On Monday, Dec. 14 City Council approved the 2021 Operating and Capital Budgets, representing a 1.86 per cent increase to the municipal portion of property tax in the year ahead for the median home. The modest increase comes as the City continues to see an upswing in operational costs and decreased revenues as a result of COVID-19.

Specifically, in 2021, the City projects non-tax revenue decreases of roughly 4.5 per cent, while at the same time an increase in operational costs of roughly $574,000, both largely related to the pandemic. In addition, other revenues related to City facility operations, such as the Meridian Centre and parking operations, are also being impacted. In total these items amount to a roughly $4.2 million impact on the 2021 budget, representing a roughly 3.9 per cent increase to the budget over 2020.

Recognizing that many households have seen their finances adversely impacted by COVID-19 the City has made every effort to prevent the above financial pressures from being passed on to taxpayers in 2021. The City used increased transfers from reserves — $2.7 million from the Civic Project Fund; $160,000 from the Hydro Reserve Fund; and $157,700 from the Tax Stabilization Reserve — in addition to a $1.9 million decrease in capital project funding from the Operating Budget to offset COVID-19 related costs to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on taxes.

For the average homeowner, with a property value assessed at $254,000, the City portion of the property tax bill will increase by 1.86 per cent, amounting to an additional $29.98 for the year.

For more information please review the 2021 Operating Budget and 2021 Capital Budget.

Budget Basics

The annual budget for the City of St. Catharines can be a lot to unpack for anyone. So, before diving in, let’s review a bit of all that is involved in our annual budget process.

Capital vs. Operating

There are two primary budgets prepared by staff and voted on by Council: the Capital and Operating Budgets.

Operating Budget:

The Operating Budget covers the day-to-day operations of the City, things like staff salaries, materials for repairs, electricity to keep the lights on, programs and more. This budget is primarily funded by the City’s portion of municipal property tax bills and revenues collected through City services and programs. It is the operating budget, as approved by Council, that sets the City tax rate.

Examples of operating budget items:

  • Staff salaries
  • Recreation programs
  • Facility maintenance
  • Administrative services
  • Utilities and materials

Capital Budget:

This budget pertains to large scale investments in tangible amenities, facilities and infrastructure. Funding for the Capital Budget is drawn in part from tax revenues, alongside money drawn from reserves, debentures and other funding sources such as grants from Federal and Provincial Governments.

Examples of Capital Budget items:

  • Road resurfacing and replacement
  • New buildings
  • Major upgrades or renewal of facilities
  • Construction of parks and amenities

Rate Supported Budgets:

There are two rather unique budgets separate from the operating and capital budgets. These are parking and water / wastewater. Both budgets, including their operating and capital costs, are covered directly by revenues generated through their related services.

Under the Parking Budget infrastructure and operations for paid parking are financed by the rates collected through paid parking and parking tickets.

The Water / Wastewater Budget funds the City’s water delivery and wastewater (sewer) systems through revenues generated by water / wastewater bills.


Taxes: A Three-Way Split

Property taxes as a whole are made up of three individual pieces: the City portion, the Region portion, and the Province’s education portion.

The City portion, which pays for City of St. Catharines operations, services and assets, is dependent on the amount approved by Council in the operating budget. The more spent on the operating budget the higher the City portion of the finalized tax rate.

The Region portion pays for Niagara Region operations, services and assets such as Public Health, waste management, police and Regional Roads. The Region’s tax rate is dependent on the budgetary deliberations of Regional Council.

The education portion is set and administered by the Province of Ontario, and helps to pay for public education.

The Finalized Rate:

Once all three levels of government have set their individual rates, they are combined into one finalized rate. That rate is then calculated against the assessed value of a home or property to generate a total of taxes owed on the property for the year.

Once the amount owed has been calculated, the City of St. Catharines administers billings and collections for all properties within its borders. Taxes are collected by the City and then divided between the City, Region and Province.

For more information on taxes, including information on where taxes go, and how they are calculated, visit stcatharines.ca/Taxes.


General Committee Meetings

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, General Committee Meetings will be held electronically, not in person, until further notice. Electronic General Committee Meetings will be broadcast live on the City's YouTube Channel.

Learn more and give feedback

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.

Complete the Did You Know Survey? below to learn more, or use the Q & A tab to ask questions and provide feedback.

2021 Budget Documents

Looking for information about the 2021 budget? View the Draft 2021 Capital Budget and Draft 2021 Operating Budget.


On Monday, Dec. 14 City Council approved the 2021 Operating and Capital Budgets, representing a 1.86 per cent increase to the municipal portion of property tax in the year ahead for the median home. The modest increase comes as the City continues to see an upswing in operational costs and decreased revenues as a result of COVID-19.

Specifically, in 2021, the City projects non-tax revenue decreases of roughly 4.5 per cent, while at the same time an increase in operational costs of roughly $574,000, both largely related to the pandemic. In addition, other revenues related to City facility operations, such as the Meridian Centre and parking operations, are also being impacted. In total these items amount to a roughly $4.2 million impact on the 2021 budget, representing a roughly 3.9 per cent increase to the budget over 2020.

Recognizing that many households have seen their finances adversely impacted by COVID-19 the City has made every effort to prevent the above financial pressures from being passed on to taxpayers in 2021. The City used increased transfers from reserves — $2.7 million from the Civic Project Fund; $160,000 from the Hydro Reserve Fund; and $157,700 from the Tax Stabilization Reserve — in addition to a $1.9 million decrease in capital project funding from the Operating Budget to offset COVID-19 related costs to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on taxes.

For the average homeowner, with a property value assessed at $254,000, the City portion of the property tax bill will increase by 1.86 per cent, amounting to an additional $29.98 for the year.

For more information please review the 2021 Operating Budget and 2021 Capital Budget.

Budget Basics

The annual budget for the City of St. Catharines can be a lot to unpack for anyone. So, before diving in, let’s review a bit of all that is involved in our annual budget process.

Capital vs. Operating

There are two primary budgets prepared by staff and voted on by Council: the Capital and Operating Budgets.

Operating Budget:

The Operating Budget covers the day-to-day operations of the City, things like staff salaries, materials for repairs, electricity to keep the lights on, programs and more. This budget is primarily funded by the City’s portion of municipal property tax bills and revenues collected through City services and programs. It is the operating budget, as approved by Council, that sets the City tax rate.

Examples of operating budget items:

  • Staff salaries
  • Recreation programs
  • Facility maintenance
  • Administrative services
  • Utilities and materials

Capital Budget:

This budget pertains to large scale investments in tangible amenities, facilities and infrastructure. Funding for the Capital Budget is drawn in part from tax revenues, alongside money drawn from reserves, debentures and other funding sources such as grants from Federal and Provincial Governments.

Examples of Capital Budget items:

  • Road resurfacing and replacement
  • New buildings
  • Major upgrades or renewal of facilities
  • Construction of parks and amenities

Rate Supported Budgets:

There are two rather unique budgets separate from the operating and capital budgets. These are parking and water / wastewater. Both budgets, including their operating and capital costs, are covered directly by revenues generated through their related services.

Under the Parking Budget infrastructure and operations for paid parking are financed by the rates collected through paid parking and parking tickets.

The Water / Wastewater Budget funds the City’s water delivery and wastewater (sewer) systems through revenues generated by water / wastewater bills.


Taxes: A Three-Way Split

Property taxes as a whole are made up of three individual pieces: the City portion, the Region portion, and the Province’s education portion.

The City portion, which pays for City of St. Catharines operations, services and assets, is dependent on the amount approved by Council in the operating budget. The more spent on the operating budget the higher the City portion of the finalized tax rate.

The Region portion pays for Niagara Region operations, services and assets such as Public Health, waste management, police and Regional Roads. The Region’s tax rate is dependent on the budgetary deliberations of Regional Council.

The education portion is set and administered by the Province of Ontario, and helps to pay for public education.

The Finalized Rate:

Once all three levels of government have set their individual rates, they are combined into one finalized rate. That rate is then calculated against the assessed value of a home or property to generate a total of taxes owed on the property for the year.

Once the amount owed has been calculated, the City of St. Catharines administers billings and collections for all properties within its borders. Taxes are collected by the City and then divided between the City, Region and Province.

For more information on taxes, including information on where taxes go, and how they are calculated, visit stcatharines.ca/Taxes.


General Committee Meetings

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, General Committee Meetings will be held electronically, not in person, until further notice. Electronic General Committee Meetings will be broadcast live on the City's YouTube Channel.

Learn more and give feedback

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.

Complete the Did You Know Survey? below to learn more, or use the Q & A tab to ask questions and provide feedback.

2021 Budget Documents

Looking for information about the 2021 budget? View the Draft 2021 Capital Budget and Draft 2021 Operating Budget.


Q&A

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