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Council approves budget, leaving property taxes essentially the same

'We did pretty good,' says Thorold mayor Terry Ugulini; 2023 tax levy will decrease 0.19 per cent, but city transit taxes are being transferred to Niagara Region
Thorold City Hall

Thorold City Council passed its annual city budget last night in a swift and efficient two-hour meeting. 

After several subtractions and additions, councillors settled on a tax levy reduction of 0.19 per cent. However, Thorold residents aren’t likely to feel the slight change as the city’s transit taxes are being transferred to the region. 

“We’ve taken 3.75 per cent off of our levy but the residents of Thorold are still going to pay that,” said Councillor Anthony Longo, during the meeting. “That’s going to go to the region and the region will add that to your tax bill. What looks to us as a negative number, in effect it really isn’t.”

Last week’s budget meeting saw a heavy focus on potential City Hall hires, and some of that discussion spilled over into yesterday’s meeting.

The permanent hire of a special events coordinator — who could help plan the city’s two-day Canada Day celebrations and Santa Claus Parade — was once again up for discussion.

Councillors aren’t eager to commit to the position, which comes with an annual salary of $71,681, despite of the insistence from City Hall staff that they need the help.

“Anything we do that is extra takes us away from our normal activities,” said the city’s Director of Community Services, Geoff Holman. “We’re maxed out. We have complaints about phones not being answered on time and calls not being returned and that’s because staff is taken away from the daily activities.”

In the end, councillors settled on an allowance of $50,000 to contract out services for the two events.

Councillors also budgeted $25,000 for a farmers market, and $100,000 will go toward upgrades to the facilities used by Thorold Minor Baseball.

A new crosswalk will be installed on Ormond St. between Portland St. and Lyndon Ave., and the city’s crossing guards will see a bump in their pay.

“They don’t get paid for a full day, they only get paid for what they work,” said Councillor Henry D’Angela. “That’s why it’s important that they’re compensated in a fair and equitable way.”

The city is also applying for a grant from the Rural Economic Development Program, and if successful, that money will be used to make infrastructural improvements to the Lock 7 Viewing Centre.

The project would still cost the city $61,600 and will see the centre's doors refurbished as well as the installation of security cameras.

At the end of the meeting, councillors settled on a tax levy reduction of 0.19 per cent, which is very close to the 0.51 per cent tax levy reduction proposed at the beginning of budget deliberations.

In his closing remarks, Mayor Terry Ugulini thanked City Hall staff for their hard work.

“It was just a pleasant experience and I look forward to everybody working together moving forward as we try to continue moving the city forward,” he said. “We did pretty good.”

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Bernard Lansbergen

About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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