A News Release from the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority
Posted March 1st, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Lincoln, Ontario – At (this February 28th’s) Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) Full Authority Meeting, the Board of Directors voted to return more than $1.2 million to Niagara taxpayers. The NPCA set aside additional funds over three years while the Mining and Lands Commissioner ruled on an appeal by the City of Hamilton regarding the apportionment of NPCA’s levy.
On December 21, 2017, the Mining and Lands Commissioner ruled that the use of the apportionment formula provided to Conservation Authorities by the province is appropriate in the absence of an agreement.
“I’m incredibly proud of our Board. The Board has worked extremely hard, maintained its focus, and exercised great discipline in order to deliver positive results on behalf of our residents.
We delivered a budget decrease of 5.1% from the previous year, and we made good on our promise to bring fairness and equity with our recent levy apportionment victory. Setting aside that money in a reserve fund was the responsible thing to do; returning it to Niagara taxpayers, where it rightfully belongs, is the right thing to do,” said NPCA Chair Sandy Annunziata.
“This is yet another example of how the NPCA is better managed now than at any time in its history. Best practices dictate appropriate funding of reserves, and with this decision, this reserve is no longer required. Our staff continues to do great work, and we are looking forward to the future,” said NPCA CAO Mark Brickell.
The NPCA will also be returning over $331,000 to the City of Hamilton and a further $31,000 to Haldimand County as part of the motion passed today. Niagara Region realized a 6.2% reduction of the levy in 2018 in addition to the retuned funds.
NPCA should have apportioned its levy among its funding municipalities by either using the provincial formula, or via a written agreement among all parties. The NPCA had done neither since approximately 2001. NPCA’s former CAO Carmen D’Angelo discovered the error in 2014. The Board corrected this by applying the provincial formula to its levy apportionment in 2015. Hamilton appealed the amount apportioned to the City, which was dismissed.
The NPCA Board has voted to return funds to taxpayers across the Niagara Peninsula watershed through the funding municipalities pending the results of a judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of Mining and Lands. The City of Hamilton has asked for a judicial review as the decision by the Commissioner’s ruling was declared final and cannot be appealed.
The amount that each municipality pays is based on a calculation found in O. Reg. 670/00, s4.
NPCA is primarily funded through municipalities within the watershed that administer the levy on behalf of the organization. The NPCA also receives four per cent of its annual budget from provincial funding, and 22 per cent is self-generated revenue from its properties, which lessen the burden on the taxpayer.
NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.
A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.
For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater binational Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .
“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders