At a budget review committee of council held Thursday, Nov. 28, Niagara Region Council approved a combined net operating budget increase for 2020 of 5.15 per cent for water and wastewater services and 9.9 per cent for waste management.
Rate budget increases adopted for 2020 reflect Regional Council’s desire to ensure core services are funded in a way that is sustainable, transparent, benefit the environment, and continue to be delivered at a high level for residents.
Water and Wastewater
The approved water and wastewater budgets are effective Jan. 1, 2020 and will be billed to the local area municipalities based on water and wastewater usage in accordance with the Council approved methodology. As the wholesaler of water and wastewater services in Niagara, the Region will bill the local municipalities, who will in-turn incorporate the new rates into resident water bills.
Niagara Region has an Asset Management Plan, Master Servicing Plan and financial sustainability plan that identifies the need to maintain and upgrade current infrastructure as well as build new infrastructure to meet demand to the year 2041.
This budget increase allows the regional municipality to make strategic investments in order to support economic and residential growth and keep drinking water clean and safe.
The budget for waste management services, which includes curbside collection, recycling and landfill sites will see an increase of 9.9 per cent.
The increase for 2020 is largely driven by new residential waste collection contracts and reflects a general province-wide trend, which has seen costs go up in other municipalities. There has also been a drop in the market prices for the sale of recyclables which reduces revenue to the Region.
In October 2019, Regional Council voted to transition to every-other-week curbside collection starting in fall 2020, which will improve waste diversion targets through increased composting and recycling, and enables the Region to avoid incurring additional costs in the future compared to weekly collection.
Costs for waste services are charged to municipalities based on the number of households and primarily charged to residents based on tax rates established by the Region and applied to assessed value of households.
Regional Council will vote on the final budget at a meeting scheduled for Dec. 12.