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CKTB - News - Niagara Region

Underfunded and delayed capital projects could mean a tough taxpayer pill to swallow in Niagara. 

The Region is looking at a $375.52 million dollar capital spending plan for 193 projects for 2020.

Speaking to CKTB's Matt Holmes on Saturday Regional Councillor Rob Foster says if that figure remains, it could result in a tax increase of 6% or more. 

Foster says "council knew they were going to see a pretty significant avalanche of projects that the past leadership at the Region didn't deal with so the capital budget wasn't a total surprise to anyone" and he cautions tough spending decisions are coming.

Acting CAO Ron Tripp revealed to council that the former CAO Carmen D'Angelo didn't want staff informing the previous council of negative stories about budget challenges and deteriorating infrastructure. "We weren't, it was not acceptable for us to bring stories that were considered to be negative, by stories I mean actually describing or highlighting challenges or concerns within the budget" 

St. Catharines Regional Councillor Brian Heit confirmed Tripp's assertion "I"m just backing up what the Acting CAO says, it's a true story and that's what we lived for the last few years around here" 

The operating budget isn't slated for final approval until December. 

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