Where the Money is Spent
The Blended Rate
Lincoln’s tax rate accounts for three agencies. In addition to the Town of Lincoln's portion (35.3%) of the tax bill, property taxes pay for the delivery of community programs and services by Niagara Region (50.6%) and the school boards (14.1%).
Therefore, the impact to property taxes is a combination of these three agencies. Often referred to as a blended rate and this is what a resident will see on their tax bill and determines the final impact to a household.
Uncontrollable vs. Within Control Costs
A simple way of differentiating between uncontrollable and within control expenses is to consider them as either needs versus wants.
Consider your personal finances, some expenses are necessary, such as your rent, mortgage and utilities, while other expenses are more luxury purchases, such as your daily coffee or the cost of travelling.
As outlined in the operating budget, each year, the budget is developed to address:
- Base service adjustments
- One-time adjustments
- Operating impacts from capital
- Growth-related items
Of these categories, some costs are commitments and are uncontrollable. It is the cost of doing business. Typically, uncontrollable items are required to maintain existing service levels.
These include, as example:
- Inflationary adjustments to line items such as wages and utilities,
- Contractual obligations; and
- Legislative requirements
Each year based on growth, demand for service delivery, business need, etc., staff determine projected costs, and these would be considered within control:
- Increase in materials for operations
- Service level increases or addition of new services
- Professional services
- BIA/TVTA & other agreements
Once the Town has determined the dollars required to fund the operating and capital budget, the tax rate can be calculated.
The tax rate is then multiplied by the assessed value of the property as determined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) - not the purchase price.
- Property’s current value assessment $300,000
- Town’s Tax rate x 1.207701%
- Property taxes = $3,623.10
Of the total property tax bill, the Town receives approximately 35 cents from each tax dollar collected.
Value for Tax Dollar
A portion of every tax dollar is used to provide a wide range of programs and services to ensure a high quality of life for residents.
For every $1 of the Town's portion of your tax bill, receive the following programs and services:
- 28 cents parks, recreation, and culture
- 29 cents roads & sidewalks
- 2 cents economic development
- 16 cents civic administration (Council, Finance, Admin, CAO's office, and Clerks)
- 12 cents fire services
- 7 cents library
- 1 cent health & social services (cemeteries, Lincoln Centre)
- 5 cents planning & development
Household Impact & Value for Dollar
When communicating to our citizen about budget and property taxes, it translates best through household impact. At the end of the day, a citizen is most concerned about the impact to them on their tax bills and affordability.
In 2018, at a 2.11% blended rate, the approximate impact per household for the year, at the assessed property value, included:
- $100,000 = $25.89
- $250,000 = $64.74
- $375,000 = $97.11
- $450,000 = $116.53
- $575,000 = $148.89
Or breaking down even further, on a $375,000 assessed property value, the household impact is:
- $97.11 per year, or
- $8.09 per month, or
- $1.87 per week, or
- $0.27 per day
Therefore, for less than a large coffee at Tim Hortons per week, a household is receiving all these services:
- Community safety (fire & rescue services, police, EMS)
- Winter operations (snow removal, salting & sanding of roads)
- Garbage & recycling
- Recreational programs (summer camps, swimming lessons, leisure activities, seniors programming)
- Recreational activities (park, trails & facility maintenance)
- Community beautification (grass cutting, trees, flowers, boulevards)
- Public transit (uLinc)
- Parks (Park & facility maintenance)
- Community events
- Museum & cultural services
- Library services
- Affordability remains a priority during all budget planning. It is important to note that when housing affordability is discussed in the community, this is not related to how we describe affordability in relation to property taxes and budget.
- Housing affordability relates to the housing market, availability of diverse housing stock, and market prices
- Affordability in terms of property taxes and budget relates to the relationship between household income in comparison to property taxes and water/wastewater rates
BMA has released their 2018 report, indicating that Lincoln ranks:
- 2nd most affordable in Niagara when considering property taxes & household income
- 4th most affordable in Niagara when considering water/wastewater/property taxes & household income
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