Over the last few months, Halton staff and Regional Council have been working on our 2013 Budget and Business Plan. I am pleased to announce that on December 12 Council unanimously passed the budget, delivering a zero per cent tax increase for Regional programs and services. This brings the seven-year average tax increase to zero per cent for Regional services, while maintaining service levels in a growing community and compensating for provincial funding shortfalls.
The 2013 budget delivers on our Citizens’ Priorities (2011-2014) Action Plan with several new initiatives including:
- New waste diversion programs including a three bag garbage bag limit and expansion of the blue box program to include additional recyclable materials to increase our diversion rate toward 65% and to extend the life of the landfill site resulting in long-term savings of $15 million to future taxpayers.
- $810,000 enhanced funding through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative to support Halton’s low income residents
- Increased investment in the Region’s water and wastewater maintenance program ($3.1 million) and state-of-good-repair capital program ($8.7 million) to ensure the existing infrastructure is appropriately maintained to provide service to the residents of Halton.
- New Assisted and Affordable Housing Units as identified in the Comprehensive Housing Strategy.
- 10.4 paramedics to staff two 12-hour ambulances in the Region to ensure wait-times for ambulance services continue to meet standards.
- An additional 100 child care fee subsidies for low income families and additional special needs services for 20 children.
If you’d like to find more information about Halton’s 2013 Budget, you can go to www.halton.ca/budget or dial 311.
As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at email@example.com. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”