- how much snow will the Town receive in the winter, and when?
- what the impact of the US dollar conversion (exchange rate) will be?
- what the price of fuel (e.g. gasoline, diesel, and propane) will be?
How does the Town develop its Five-Year Financial Plan?
The Town's budget for the upcoming year is developed between July to October. We estimate what the world is going to be like in 3 to 15 months as well as 2 to 4 years into the future. Examples of the challenges that the Town faces in developing the budget:
How does Lincoln's tax percentage compare to other municipalities?
Lincoln remains one of the most affordable municipalities when considering property taxes as % of household income. Within Niagara Region, it is the:
• 3rd lowest – property taxes only
• 4th lowest –water/sewer + property taxes
How does the assessed value of my home impact my tax bill?
The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) determines the assessment of your property.
Currently, an assessment value of $375,000 = $4,648 in taxes annually (for a Median Single Family Detached Property).
Do you have questions about your assessment? Visit aboutmyproperty.ca or contact MPAC Customer Contact Centre at 1-866-296-MPAC (6722), or 1-877-889-MPAC (6722). In 2016, MPAC updated the assessed values of every property in Ontario. These values will be used to calculate your property taxes for 2021 and 2022. MPAC property assessment updates are not expected until at least 2023.
How can I view my Property Tax Bill?
The Town of Lincoln now brings you the convenience of reviewing your accounts and transactions in a free, secure, environment from anywhere, at anytime for Property Taxes, Utility Bills (water & wastewater) & Tax Certificates. To create a new account, visit lincoln.ca/online-accounts and complete the five simple steps.
What is a Municipal Budget?
A Municipal Budget is a plan for how dollars are used, invested, or earned over a given period. It is also a policy and planning document that outlines the Town’s priorities. Decisions made as part of budget development help determine funding for the programs and services that maintain resident’s quality of life.
How does the Town pay for services they provide?
For every dollar the Town spends:
• 66.4% comes from property taxes
• 13% comes from rate charges
• 10.2% comes from user fees
• 2.2% comes from Grant & Subsidies
• 2.1% comes from penalties and interest
• 2.4% comes from taxation - other
• 0.8% comes from Financial Revenue
• 2.9% comes from Transfers
What does my tax dollar support in terms of Town programs?
Your tax dollar supports more than 90 programs and services that the Town of Lincoln provides. This includes but is not limited too:
• Fire & Rescue Services
• Winter operations (snow removal, salting & sanding of roads and sidewalks)
• Recreational programs (summer camps, swimming lessons, leisure activities, seniors programming)
• Recreational activities (parks, trails & facility maintenance)
• Community beautification (grass cutting, trees, flowers, boulevards)
• Parks (Park & facility maintenance)
• Community events
• Museum & cultural services
• Library services
• By-law services
• Economic development and tourism services
What are Council’s Priorities for the 2022 Budget?
The Town of Lincoln Council’s 2019-2022 Strategic Priorities can be viewed here
Welcoming: • To be a welcoming community for people, fresh ideas, and businesses.
Connected: • To connect all of Lincoln, people, places, and our natural landscapes.
Vibrant: • To create a happy, healthy, prosperous community.
Resilient: • To be intentional in building stronger community resilience.
What are the components that make up the Town’s annual budget?
1. Departmental Operating budget: A municipality’s operating budget covers the day-to-day operations of providing services to residents of the Town. It includes repairs and maintenance of assets as well as low-value capital renewal programs, for example traffic calming and streetlights. At the request of Council, staff will begin including a projection for the 2 years following the approval year.
2. Project Based Capital budget: Projects with large expenditures that either recur irregularly or result in the acquisition, renovation, rehabilitation, preservation, or construction of a tangible capital asset that has a useful life of greater than one year. It includes business cases to provide the cost, funding sources and justification for each project.
Long-term borrowing charges and contributions to capital reserve funds are included in this section to provide alignment to the concept that the Capital Budget includes large scale expenditures related to tangible capital assets.
How does the budget process work?
Each year, Council determines what levels of funding for services should come from the various sources of revenue.
During this process, Councillors have an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification from staff. Public delegations appear before Council as well.
Meetings are also held to focus on budgets submitted from related boards, agencies and committees requiring Council approval. This includes agency boards and commissions e.g. Lincoln Public Library.
Who is involved in the budget process?
Council and Town Staff are involved in budget process. The Town also has a goal of engaging residents in the budget process to help ensure a sustainable community.
How can I influence the Town’s budget?
The annual budget survey is the main method of engagement. Survey results are provided to Council each year, where council members will review the recommendations and/or survey results to help inform or feed into the budget. Residents are also welcomed to provide feedback throughout the year directly to their ward councillor.
Why doesn’t the Town run a deficit like the Provincial and Federal governments do in difficult economic times?
By law, Municipalities in Ontario are not permitted to run a deficit.
Is a Municipality allowed to go into debt?
Ontario legislation states that municipalities must have a balanced budget. Under legislation, municipalities cannot finance operations with debt.
How does the Town maintain accountability and transparency throughout the budget process?
Town council meetings are accessible to the public. Budget documents and presentations are available on the Town’s website. During the year, the Town submits reports to Council on variances in expenditures and revenues from budget.
Independent auditors will audit the annual financial statements prepared by management. Additionally, an annual financial information return (FIR) is submitted to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The FIR is a legislatively required data collection tool to collect financial and statistical information to compare across municipalities.
The Town of Lincoln’s budgets work in conjunction with multi-year business planning. Staff closely monitor and report key metrics, allowing Council to keep a pulse on performance. All these pieces come together to support the Towns strategic plan.
What are reserves and reserve funds?
Reserves and reserve funds are like a savings account where funds are set aside for future capital needs.
The City’s reserves can be broken down into two categories:
Non-Obligatory (Discretionary): Non-Obligatory reserves are based on Council direction and are used to finance future expenditures designated by Council. They are comprised of the tax supported, and rate supported reserves and the Hamilton Future Fund.
Obligatory: Obligatory reserves are funds that are required by the province to be segregated for a specific purpose. They are comprised of development charge reserves, federal & provincial gas reserves, parkland dedication reserves and building permit reserves.
What does the Town do with excess funds?
Governed by the Municipal Act, the Town of Lincoln can invest surplus funds not immediately required for its purposes in Short & Long-Term Investments. For example, the Town invests money in the reserves fund until it is required for future obligations.
The primary objectives for all Town investment activities are to ensure the safety of principal, maintain adequate liquidity to meet the Town’s cash needs, and to earn investment income.
What are user fees and how do they affect the municipal budget?
A user fee is a charge paid by an individual for the use of a public service. A user fee is supplemented by the tax levy. The user/individual does not bear the full cost of the service a portion of the service is covered by the general tax levy. User fees in the Town of Lincoln include recreations services, like swimming lessons and the arena.
How does the penalty and interest revenue from property taxes affect the budget?
Section 345 of the Municipal Act authorizes a municipality to pass by-laws to impose late payment charges for the non-payment of taxes or any installment by the due date. All taxes billed during the year that remain unpaid in that year may be subject to penalty charges, from the date of default to the date of payment.
Penalty and interest are a revenue source for the Town in the operating budget. A decrease in penalty and interest revenue results in an increase in the tax levy and an increase in penalty and interest revenue results in a decrease to the tax levy.
What are the Federal, Provincial and Regional/Municipal levels of government responsible for?
• national defence
• foreign affairs
• employment insurance
• federal taxes
• the post office
• copyright law
• criminal law
• provincial taxes
• property and civil rights
• rules of the road
• age of majority
• building permits and zoning
• city parks
• public transportation
• water and sewers
• fire prevention
• city roads and sidewalks
• licensing and control of pets
• collection of garbage and recycling
Why are my taxes so high?
Property taxes are calculated using the assessed value of your property and multiplying it by the combined municipal, regional and education tax rates for your class of property.
To understand how your property tax is calculated, watch this short video from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).
As you saw in the video link provided, your property tax is proportional to the value of your property. In the example, a small municipality with three properties worth $125,000, $175,000, and $200,000 has service costs of $2,000 that are paid by property owners through property taxes.
Each property owner in the municipality pays a proportion of the $2,000 based on their property’s assessed value. This is calculated by first adding up the value of all three properties, for a total of $500,000. Since the cost of services is $2,000, the tax rate is $2,000/$500,000 = 0.004, or 0.4%. Therefore:
• The owner of the $125,000 property pays $500
• The owner of the $175,000 property pays $700
• The owner of the $200,000 property pays $800
The total of the property tax paid by three property owners is $2,000.