The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority will be returning $31,000 to Haldimand County as part of a motion passed yesterday by the NPCA Full Authority Meeting.

Hamilton will get a refund of over $331,000.

The NPCA had 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.

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.

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