On Wednesday, January 26, Halton Regional Council unanimously approved the Region’s 2011 Budget and Business Plan, delivering a 0.2% tax reduction for Regional programs and services. This is the second consecutive year the Region has not increased property taxes for its services, while continuing to invest in important programs for its residents.
Throughout the 2011 budget process, Regional Council and staff worked hard to achieve a Regional tax reduction that ensures service levels for Halton’s community are maintained and enhanced. The 2011 budget continues our commitment to deliver effective Regional programs and services including infrastructure (e.g. Regional roads and water and wastewater facilities), social services programs, and public health, while being fiscally responsible.
Among the enhancements to programs and services, the 2011 budget supports Halton’s social infrastructure with additional investments, including:
- A $1.5 million increase in funding to support the goal of creating 60 to 100 new social housing units each year
- The opening of two new social housing developments with 145 units for seniors (scheduled to open in November 2011)
- $713,500 to leverage existing social housing units to reduce social housing wait lists
- Increased supports to low-income residents including $335,000 to address priority community needs and delivery of the Healthy Smiles Ontario dental program
- $221,500 to relocate and expand the Burlington health clinic
- Two additional paramedics to improve ambulance services using a new Emergency Response Unit which will operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to emergencies in Halton
Other program initiatives in the tax-supported budget include over $130 million in transportation infrastructure projects including:
- James Snow Parkway in Milton ($29.4M)
- Burnhamthorpe Road in Oakville ($23.2M)
- Dundas Street in Burlington and Oakville ($13.0M)
- Regional Road 25 in Milton ($12.9M)
- Steeles Avenue in Milton ($10.0M)
- Tremaine Road in Milton ($9.3M)
- Trafalgar Road in Halton Hills ($5.1M)
- Winston Churchill Boulevard in Halton Hills ($5.0M)
- Ninth Line in Oakville ($5.0M)
When combined with the 4.4% increase in the Halton Regional Police Service budget, Halton taxpayers will see an increase of 1.4% on the total Regional property tax bill. For a typical household with a current value assessment of $350,000 this equates to an increase of $18.76 for 2011.
Regional Council also approved the rate-supported water and wastewater 2011 budget with a combined increase of 4.1% for Halton residents and businesses. For a typical household using 300 cubic metres of water per year, this equates to an increase of $31.10 over 2010 levels. This budget includes over $50 million to maintain existing water and sewer plants and pipes, while managing operating cost pressures including the cost of hydro.
Significant projects to support Halton’s water and wastewater infrastructure include:
- Washburn Booster Station Rehabilitation in Burlington ($8.25M)
- Filter Building Upgrade at the Oakville Water Plant ($3.73M)
- A new watermain on New Street from Appleby Line to Cumberland Avenue in Burlington ($3.27M)
I am proud to say that over the last five years, the average annual tax increase for Regional programs and services has been approximately half a per cent – one of the lowest among municipalities in Canada.
The 2011 budget responds to the current economic conditions, using strategies that are consistent with the Region’s core financial planning policies, ensuring the long-term sustainability of Regional programs and services.
I would like to thank Regional Council and staff who showed tremendous dedication throughout the 2011budget review process to deliver a 0.2% tax reduction for Halton taxpayers.
To learn more about the 2011 Budget and Business Plan visit www.halton.ca/budget.
If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”