After learning they’ll soon be hit with the highest tax increase in a decade from the Region, residents of the Rose City got welcome financial relief from their own municipality recently as Welland City Council has approved a tax rate decrease.
In fact, Welland council lead by Mayor Frank Campion has managed a decrease in city taxes while at the same time budgeting for a record $62 million in capital spending for 2020. Welland City Council approved the municipal 2020 tax-supported Capital and Operating Budgets on Dec. 10, 2019. The budget process took two-months and included budget deliberations and a public engagement campaign.
“City of Welland staff and Council have collaborated on a sound financial plan for 2020 that will result in improvements to all classes of infrastructure, which will enhance quality of life in our municipality,” said Welland Mayor Frank Campion.
Welland’s Mayor, council and staff have championed a prosperity approach over the last number of years focusing on job creation, growth and development.
City officials said in a media release that the 2020 municipal budgets will continue to protect core programs, maintain service levels, invest in infrastructure, maintain the city’s economic competitiveness, and support the city’s growth and development agenda with a -0.65 per cent tax levy decrease for all property classes.
The average residential property assessed at $223,109 in 2020, results in a $11.21 tax decrease from the previous year.
Some of Welland’s more significant expenditures for the coming year include: $53.6 million in tax-supported capital projects; $8.6 million in water/wastewater capital projects; New Central Fire Station headquarters and Training Centre to open in 2021; $5.1 million for road resurfacing; $500,000 for a new Community Boathouse to accommodate the city’s canoe/kayak rental program at Rotary Park of Welland as well as $150,000 for new & rebuilt docks for unsupervised swimming at Rotary Park of Welland.
There are two capital projects scheduled to begin next year pending federal and provincial funding. They are a new Transit Operations Facility and the replacement of Forks Road Bridge.
The city’s budget review committee chair, Councillor David McLeod said in a statement, “Council and staff worked very hard to deliver operating and capital budgets that address todays expected service levels while providing the strategic necessities of a growing city.” McLeod added, “Mindful, methodical, and strategic investment is what constituents expect of us, as it lays the foundation for future years. If a budget does not provide a clear message of investment in capacity, infrastructure and service levels, then it fails the taxpayer in the long-run. I am pleased to say the 2020 budget delivers loud and clear on all three fronts.”
“Welland is on a 20 year trajectory of positive growth and transformative change, and the 2020 Budget supports this with “city building” investments in new Fire Stations, a new Transit Facility, waterfront redevelopment, and in the hard infrastructure we depend on now and into the future,” said Gary Long, Welland’s Chief Administrative Officer. “The 2020 Budget also supports the public services that Welland residents use every day, while investing in the recreational infrastructure and cultural programming that contribute to the civic satisfaction our residents enjoy.”