At its meeting held Thursday, Dec. 17, Niagara Region Council approved an operating budget increase for water and wastewater services, and waste management.
Rate budget increases adopted for 2021 of 2.0 per cent for water and wastewater services combined and 4.5 per cent for waste management allows the Region to balance financial challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic with continuing necessary investments in critical infrastructure and services.
Water and Wastewater
The approved water and wastewater budgets are effective Jan. 1, 2021 and 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.
Developed amid a global pandemic, the rates budget for the coming year allows the regional municipality to continue making strategic investments in support of economic and residential growth, and keep drinking water safe. In 2021, the Region will take important steps toward the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in south Niagara Falls. This investment, the largest in the Region’s history, will accommodate residential and employment growth planned for the area.
The investment allotted for the facility in south Niagara Falls is included in the proposed base increase of 2 per cent for 2021.
The budget for waste management services, which includes curbside collection, recycling and landfill sites will see an increase of 4.5 per cent.
2020, Niagara Region commenced new residential waste collection contracts.
The municipality also transitioned to every-other-week curbside collection that improve waste diversion targets, through increased composting and recycling, and enables the Region to avoid incurring 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 special tax rates established for municipalities by the Region and applied to assessed value of households. Niagara average households can expect to pay up to an additional $6.88 more for the year for waste services in 2021.With the rates budget approved, Council in January will deliberate the levy-operating budget, which provides funding for the daily business of the Niagara Region and its boards and agencies and pays for investments that support economic prosperity, quality of life and our natural environment.
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