Halton Region approves 2015 budget: focus is on investing for the future

I am pleased to let you know that on January 28, 2015, Regional Council approved the 2015 Budget and Business Plan.

Halton Region Budget and Business Plan 2015My colleagues on Regional Council and I are committed to investing for the future. That is why we continue to focus on ensuring our Regional assets, our infrastructure and our facilities are well maintained and well planned to meet the needs of residents and our community in the years ahead.

This year’s Budget includes a significant investment in infrastructure and an increase in the Region’s investment in the water, wastewater and transportation State-of-Good-Repair capital programs – from $69 million in 2007 to $110 million in 2015.

Our 2015 Budget is based on the solid financial planning principles for which Halton is recognized. It continues the Region’s focus on maintaining service levels, making strategic investments and maintaining the tax rate increase for Regional services within the rate of inflation. The 2015 budget includes a 1.5 per cent increase in property taxes for Regional programs and services.

Here are some highlights of key investments in the 2015 Budget:

Investments to Maintain Existing Infrastructure

  • $5.7 million towards Water and Wastewater State-of-Good-Repair

Connecting People to Services

  • Over $2.9 million of investments to enhance customer services including $1.0 million for additional staff and vehicles for Paramedic Services and $200,000 for Crisis Prevention / COMMANDE, a multi-agency initiative committed to the health and safety of the community by providing real-time, coordinated responses to high-risk situations

Adapting to Climate Change

  • $5.0 million to assist in the implementation of any potential recommendations of the Region-wide Basement Flooding Mitigation Study, as well as $5.5 million towards emergency generators in warming and reception centres and $378,000 to increase the Region’s capacity to respond to emergencies

Economic Growth

  • $1.0 million towards a Pilot Area Servicing Plan Study for economic development and intensification to be undertaken in each Local Municipality for the advancement of employment lands and Urban Growth Centre intensification.

Financial Stability

  • Adjustments to help maintain financial stability over the next 10 years

The budget also includes a 4.9 per cent increase in the 2015 Water and Wastewater Rate.  Of the 4.9 per cent increase, 1.1 per cent will fund operating costs of Halton’s water and wastewater systems to keep Halton’s water safe and 3.8 per cent is for investment in treatment plants and pipeline systems.

Surveys show that public satisfaction with Regional services has averaged 98 per cent over the past few years. The 2015 budget will allow these service levels to be maintained, along with our AAA credit rating, and ensure that Halton Region remains a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

If you’d like to find more about Halton’s 2015 Budget, visit 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 gary.carr@halton.ca. 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.”