Chair Bradley’s Statement on the Region's 2023 Budget

​Regional Chair Jim Bradley offered the following statement in regard to the passing of the 2023 budget:
“Tonight, after many hours of deliberation and debate, Regional Council passed the 2023 budget. While every budget is challenging, it has been well over two decades since the Niagara Region has been required to pass such a difficult budget.
Council appreciates that everything in the lives of our residents is costing more. We are sympathetic to how this budget may be seen as yet another increase to be absorbed by households across the region. To this end, I can assure the public that Regional Council was exceedingly thorough in its examination and critical review of the budget.
I know there are members of the public who may see tonight’s increase as excessive. However, I want to reiterate that there is no new spending in this budget outside of the two new ambulances we are putting on the road to ensure residents can continue to rely on our EMS services going forward.  Outside of EMS, Regional Council did not approve any new or expanded programs that are not being funded by other sources.
The 2023 budget is subject to many internal and external pressures. Externally, we are feeling the significant impact of global inflation on every service we provide while we continue to see the lingering effects of the pandemic. The provisions in Provincial Bill 23 are limiting our ability to collect needed funds through development charges.
This budget is also subject to past decisions that council felt were in the best interest of the community. During the height of the pandemic, we voted to offset tax increases by using our reserves, which has necessitated us to replenish those funds in the interest of responsible and prudent financial management.
The past term of council also voted to provide funding to major Provincial projects like the new hospitals in West and South Niagara – a decision that is having a measurable impact on our budget. While providing funds for projects like hospitals is not a responsibility of regional government, councillors voted to do so as it would benefit the community as a whole and help modernize our health care system.
It is important to remember that Regional Council is required to provide numerous essential and mandatory services to the residents of Niagara. A recent study showed that 92 per cent of our budget, and 96 per cent of our staff, are involved in the delivery of those services that residents and businesses rely on daily. We are also the stewards of over $7 billion in public assets and infrastructure that require regular repair and replacement to ensure our region can continue to function.
This budget ensures that we can continue to provide those services and responsibly maintain our infrastructure.
I want to thank staff for their tireless work on this budget. I continue to be impressed with their professionalism and responsiveness to the will of Regional Council. I know I speak for all Councillors when I say that we appreciate your guidance, expertise and flexibility in finalizing an exceptionally challenging budget.
Finally, on behalf of Regional Council, I want to thank Mayor Wayne Redekop for his leadership as Chair of the Region’s budget committee. There is no recent parallel to the complexity of this budget and Mayor Redekop’s expertise and direction was an invaluable asset that was exploited as part of this process.

Media Inquiries

Daryl Barnhart
Office of the Regional Chair

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