Fort Erie poised for growth as Town Council approves 2024 Budget

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Fort Erie Town Council approved the 2024 Budget in principle, with a 5.5 percent increase for the Town’s portion of the residential property tax. This increase translates to an additional $13.94 per year for the median household.

When the Niagara Region and the Boards of Education levies are included, the combined increase for residential taxpayers in Fort Erie is 5.16 percent.

Town expenditures relate directly to strategic priorities established by Council: 

  • access to primary and urgent health care;
  • quality of life;
  • sustainable and managed growth;
  • economic prosperity and diversification;
  • environmental and climate change resiliency; and
  • comprehensive housing options. 

The budget allocates funding for initiatives in these areas, such as:

  • physician recruitment;
  • parks development;
  • incentive programs for new industry and affordable housing;
  • infrastructure renewal; and
  • shoreline protection.

“Many residents will wonder, ” Why the increase? ” Fort Erie is poised for another year of significant economic activity, residential and commercial construction, and growth. 

A commitment to asset management has resulted in Fort Erie aligning its responsibility to maintain our infrastructure (roads, bridges, water and sewer lines, storm systems, parks, recreational and operational facilities, equipment and so on) with the financial resources to do so.  For 2024, Fort Erie is allocating over $800,000 (2.55 %) to capital reserves for infrastructure maintenance and renewal.

The budget also allocates $600,000 (1.9 %) to development charge (DC) grants and $91,000 (0.3%) for tax incentives to attract new industries to town. This means jobs, tax assessments, and economic spin-offs.  We know these incentives work.

Those three items – capital reserves, DC grants and tax incentives alone, account for 4.76% of this year’s tax increase.  They are prudent allocations of funding that will ensure that Fort Erie remains competitive in today’s modern world while maintaining service levels in the face of rising costs.”  

Mayor Wayne Redekop

The Operating Budget of $34.4 million will deliver town services and expand some strategic areas such as Reserve for Development Charges Exemptions to fund Industrial growth business and staffing to offer enhanced services in Planning, Development Services (PDS).  

The following are a few items approved under the Town’s Operating Budget:

  • Junior Municipal Law Enforcement Officer (PDS) staffing costs,
  • Executive Assistant to Director (PDS) staffing costs,
  • Project Manager, Policy (PDS) staffing costs,
  • Community Coordinator (IS) staffing costs,
  • Asset Management Analyst (IS) staffing costs.

The 2024 Operating Budget includes several one-time requests funded from strategic and rate stabilization reserves.

  • an Affordable Housing Community Improvement Plan (CIP) to create incentives for the construction of affordable and attainable housing in the Town,
  • a Parks Operational Plan,
  • a Shoreline Protection Master Plan,
  • a Planning User Fee review,
  • a Transportation Studies, and an Urban Storm Drainage Master Plan.

“The 2024 Budget seeks to balance the service needs of a growing community with long-term sustainability. It supports important investments in infrastructure and Council’s strategic plan while mitigating tax increases through strong assessment growth and interest income. There are also a number of challenges ahead, such as the upcoming property reassessments which will be in place for the 2025 Budget and are expected to create large shifts in taxes owing to municipalities across the province.”

Jonathan Janzen, Director, Corporate Services

In addition to the Operating Budget, Town Council approved the 2024 Capital Budget and 2025 to 2034 Forecast. The Capital Budget consists of 75 projects with a total cost of $27,613,661. The budget includes works related to roads, bridges, sidewalks, water, wastewater, parks and facilities. Some of the larger Capital projects include:

  • $4.0 million for the Gibson Centre and Vehicle Bay Expansion,
  • $3.5 million for the West Main Street Storm Sewer Replacement,
  • $1.7 million for the Point Abino Municipal Drain,
  • $1.5 million for the Point Abino Rd S Storm Pumping Station,
  • $1.4 million for Ott Road Upgrade,
  • $1.3 million for the 2024 Wastewater Trenchless Repairs,
  • $1.3 million for the 2024 Road Resurfacing program.

On December 18, 2023, Town Council approved Fort Erie’s 2024 Water and Wastewater Budget for $23,388,330, which supports high standards of service delivery at a cost increase of 7.4 percent or $9.82 per month for the average household.For more information about the Town’s 2024 Budget, please visit the Budget Page or contact Town Staff. 

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