On July 1, 2023, the Province expanded Strong Mayor Powers to the City of St. Catharines, changing how the budget is adopted. The Mayor now holds the responsibility of proposing the budget prior to Feb. 1, 2024.
On Nov. 22, 2023, staff presented the draft 2024 to 2026 multi-year operating, capital, and water and wastewater budgets. Feedback from citizens was actively sought and collected through several public engagement initiatives including surveys, open houses, pop-up kiosks and public meetings to gather input on resident’s priorities.
Council budget meetings were held on Nov. 1 and 22, 2023 and Jan. 10, 2024. Council meetings are open to the public offering opportunities for input and participation from residents. Past meetings and live streams can be viewed at stcatharines.ca/YouTube.
The Mayor’s budget was released on Jan. 3, 2024, and includes a 1.49 per cent increase to the City portion of the tax levy. The budget has now entered the 30-day amendment period.
Two Council meetings are scheduled for Jan. 22 and 31 to discuss any potential amendments. These meetings will be cancelled if no amendments are submitted for the agenda. If no amendments are proposed, the Mayor’s budget will be deemed adopted on Feb. 1, 2024. Council can also pass a resolution to shorten the 30-day amendment period.
The public can submit correspondence and make delegations regarding any of the three budgets, or any amendments submitted for them. Information on presenting to Council and submitting correspondence is available at stcatharines.ca/council.
Over a 10-day period from Feb. 2 to 11, the Mayor retains the right to veto any potential amendments. If the Mayor does not exercise this veto power, the amended budget would be deemed adopted on Feb. 11, 2024.
If the Mayor vetoes an amendment, Council will have 15 days between Feb. 12 to 26, to override any mayoral vetoes. Overrides will be considered at the Council meeting of Feb. 26, 2024. Following the outcome of any potential override votes, the budget would then be deemed adopted on Feb. 26, 2024.
It’s important to note that property tax bills include levies from the City, Niagara Region, and school boards. St. Catharines City Council cannot alter rates established by the Region or Province.
For engagement opportunities and further information, visit stcatharines.ca/Budget.