Board votes to return levy funds held in reserve
HALDIMAND COUNTY, Ont. (March 6, 2018)–At a presentation at the Haldimand City Council meeting last night, Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) Board Chair Sandy Annunziata, along with NPCA Board Member, and Haldimand Councillor, Rob Shirton, presented a cheque for $31,259 to the Haldimand County taxpayers.
At its February 28 2018 Full Authority meeting, the NPCA Board of Directors voted to return the funds, which were being held in a reserve while the Mining and Lands Commissioner ruled on an appeal by the City of Hamilton regarding the apportionment of NPCA’s levy. Hamilton had continued to pay the levy throughout the review.
“The Board has been steadfast in its pursuit of fairness and equity on behalf of taxpayers in the Niagara peninsula watershed. Haldimand is a valued levying partner and I am proud that we could deliver a positive result on behalf of Haldimand taxpayers. Setting aside these funds was the responsible thing to do. Returning them to Haldimand residents is the right thing to do", said NPCA Chair Annunziata.
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. Funding municipalities levy on behalf of all Conservation Authorities in Ontario, including the NPCA, therefore the funds are being returned to property taxpayers through the collecting municipalities.
“It’s a great day for Haldimand County, and its taxpayers,” said NPCA Board Member and Halimand County Councillor Rob Shirton.
The NPCA will also be returning over $1.2 million to the Niagara Region a further $331,000 to the City of Hamilton as part of the motion passed.
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.
The NPCA manages the impact of human activities, urban growth, and rural activities on the watershed, with programs that focus on initiatives that help keep people and their property safe from flooding and erosion— while retaining the safety of our drinking water.
The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority is a registered charitable organization.
Questions related to the above release should be directed to:
Krystle Caputo, Communications Specialist