HCA Funding Information and Financial Statements
Many people believe our conservation areas are paid for by their tax dollars, but that is not the case. User and membership fees pay for trail maintenance, emergency services, property taxes, insurance and all those little things we need to keep our conservation areas open. Just as important, these dollars directly contribute to important conservation work throughout our watershed and preserve heritage sites on HCA lands.
For almost 50 years, financing conservation authority work was a provincial-municipal partnership. However, conservation authorities have seen dramatic reductions in provincial funding, but conservation authorities must still carry out their mandated work.
In order to meet their most pressing responsibilities, conservation authorities have restructured, streamlined, refocused priorities and stretched available resources. Some have reduced services; most have increased other sources of revenue to focus on the highest priorities. Generally, self-generated revenue and municipal levies cover the bulk of the cost of the work.
The Hamilton Conservation Authority received $4,250,000 as a municipal levy, which amounts to 35% of our total budget. That is a cost of $8.17 per person in the City of Hamilton for the year. Five years ago, the levy was $7.61 per person, an increase of 7.3% growth over five years (less than 1.5% per year). That funding goes towards the program outlined above that we are mandated to provide. The remainder of the budget is funded through user fees, membership fees, grants and donations. Operations of conservation areas is entirely self-funded. Our financial statements, which are audited every year, are available to the public, once approved by our Board of Directors.