Grimsby budget tabled for 2024

Council approved the 2024 operating levy unanimously, with some minor amendments, at the end of the council meeting, which lasted nearly four hours. The budget and its by-laws will see a final vote on Feb. 20. Photo Credit: Town of Grimsby. 


The Town of Grimsby has released its budget plan for 2024.

Mayor Jeff Jordan put forward a $30.4 million spending plan. 

“It is always a challenge to strike a balance between refining the budget while prioritizing projects, programs and service levels,” said Jordan. “I look forward to facilitating a productive discussion, and trust council will be committed to preserving the 2023-2026 strategic priorities for our Grimsby residents.”

The budget was officially sent to council on Feb. 12.

Grimsby’s budget was prepared by city staff, which contrasts with most other municipalities in Niagara Region. The Ford government has extended strong mayor powers to mayors of all cities with populations of 100,000 residents or more. Mayors in nearby cities, including Welland and St. Catharines, are tasked with presenting their own budgets to council for approval.

Jordan was still intimately involved in crafting the proposal with city staff, however.

Under the proposed plan, property taxes will rise by 5.2 per cent. The combined increase of Grimsby, Niagara Region and education property taxes will average out at 5.64 per cent. Niagara Region is increasing its property tax rate by 7.02 per cent. 

A 0.38 per cent tax levy was included in the budget to specifically fund the redevelopment of West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. The redevelopment is being funded by Grimsby, along with the Town of London, Township of West Lincoln, Niagara Region and the Government of Ontario. The special levy will end after this year when facility renovations are expected to be completed. 

Grimsby residents will also see an increase in the fixed water rate, which will climb by 3 per cent. 

Revenue this year, before the 2024 levy, is expected to be $11.3 million, while expenses will come in at $29.2 million. The tax levy will bring in $17.9 million. That compares to revenue of $10.9 million, expenses at $27.6 million and a tax levy of $16.7 million in 2023. 

The most expensive budget items are for the water system, wastewater system and public works. 

The number of full-time employees working for Grimsby will remain at 124 this year, with 17 part-time employees and six temporary full-time employees. Those numbers are unchanged from 2023.

Grimsby’s Chief Administrative Officer, Sarah Kim, told council that the 2024 budget builds on the progress of the 2023 budget. 

“It has a focus on building a strong and stable community,” said Kim. “This budget reflects a thoughtful and balanced strategy in addressing community needs, while ensuring the responsible use of resources.”

City staff also touted the fact that Grimsby has the lowest residential property tax rate in Niagara Region per $100,000 of assessment other than Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Councillor Lianne Vardy emphasized the need for the town to do more value-for-money audits going forward, insisting that audits that simply ensure paperwork was properly filled out does not adequately protect or inform taxpayers in terms of whether money was well spent.

She called on council and staff to insist that value-for-money audits be adequately incorporated into future budget processes. 

Councillor Nick DiFalvio criticized the overall budget process, insisting that not enough effort went into public awareness. The budget was only released days before council began deliberating on adopting it. 

Council approved the 2024 operating levy unanimously, with some minor amendments, at the end of the council meeting, which lasted nearly four hours. 

The budget and its by-laws will see a final vote on Feb. 20.  


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