Investing in resident priority areas with the 2018 Budget and Business Plan

On December 13, Regional Council approved Halton’s 2018 Budget and Business Plan, establishing our financial roadmap for the coming year. It outlines how we will deliver Regional services and address resident priority areas to support the successful completion of our current Strategic Action Plan.

Delivering value for taxpayers

budget business plan chairs cornerHalton’s annual budget demonstrates how we continue to succeed by putting residents first. It is an essential part of our annual financial cycle—including planning, performance and reporting—that preserves our strong financial position and AAA credit rating.

The 2018 budget ensures our programs and services provide top value for taxpayers while supporting a high quality of life in Halton for years to come. It focuses on:

  • identifying savings and efficiencies while promoting long-term sustainability by reorganizing resources to priority areas;
  • maintaining service levels for Regional programs and services; and
  • making strategic investments in new and existing community infrastructure.

As always, it is based on prudent, forward-looking financial planning principles, and keeps property tax increases for Regional services at or below the rate of inflation.

Budget highlights

  • Children’s Services: $9.4 million increase (no net Regional impact) to improve quality, accessibility, affordability, flexibility and inclusivity in licensed child care programs based on Provincial/Federal funding allocated for 2018.
  • Comprehensive Housing Strategy: $3.2 million increase (no net Regional impact) to acquire new housing units and provide additional rent supplements for Halton housing clients based on Provincial/Federal funding allocated for 2018.
  • Paramedic Services: $1.8 million to address increasing call volumes and maintain existing service levels.
  • Roads Capital State-of-Good-Repair: $1.7 million increase ($1.0 million in the operating base budget and $726,000 in Federal Gas Tax funding) to address rising state-of-good-repair needs and updated costs.
  • Relief Staff Resources: $835,000 increase for the phase-in of additional casual relief hours required to maintain services levels in Paramedic Services, Services for Seniors and Children’s Services.
  • Greenland Securement: $800,000 increase to provide sustainable funding for the Waterfront Master Plan.
  • Regional Facilities State-of-Good-Repair: $651,000 increase to support the corporate facilities State-of-Good-Repair capital program.
  • Waste Management: $490,000 increase for the inclusion of plastic bags and film in the Blue Box beginning in April 2018.
  • Road Maintenance Program: $396,000 increase to support road maintenance contracts with the Local Municipalities and address growth in the Regional road network.
  • Halton Region Community Investment Fund: $350,000 to increase the fund’s total annual contribution to $2.4 million to support community initiatives with a focus on health or social services.
  • Capacity to Prevent and Address Homelessness: $346,000 increase (no net Regional impact) to help prevent homelessness based on provincial funding allocated for 2018.
  • Emerald Ash Borer (EAB): $121,000 increase in operating contributions to the Tax Stabilization reserve in support of the EAB program implementation by Conservation Halton and Credit Valley Conservation.

The 2018 budget includes a 1.9 per cent increase in property taxes for Regional services and a 3.8 per cent increase in the water and wastewater rate to support these actions.

Learn more

Making community investments for today and tomorrow helps us continue to improve the quality of life in our region. To learn more or view the 2018 Budget and Business Plan, visit halton.ca/budget.

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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Have a fun and safe holiday season

Halton continues to be one of the safest places to live in Canada. Halton Region provides programs, services and resources for individuals and families to make safe and healthy decisions. Below are some tips and resources Halton Region has to ensure you and your family have a safe and fun holiday.

Prepare for winter driving conditions and drive safely

  • Always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle. Your kit could include blankets, a
    flashlight, a first aid kit and snow removal items such as a scraper and shovel.
  • Drivers should also consider putting on winter tires – they perform much better than all-season tires on snow and icy pavement.
  • Visit halton.ca/beprepared for more safety tips and how to assemble your emergency kit.
  • If you plan to drink at a holiday party, please don’t drink and drive. Make sure you plan a safe ride home. You can call a taxi, take public transit or arrange for a designated driver.
  • Remember, impaired driving is a crime in progress so if you see someone you suspect may be impaired, call 911.
  • Visit halton.ca/drivesafe for more safe driving tips.

holiday-safety-drive-safely

Follow the four food safety tips

Gathering with family and friends over a meal is one of my favourite things about the holiday season. Follow these tips to ensure any holiday meals you prepare and serve are safe to eat.

  1. Clean – Always wash your hands, utensils and cooking surfaces with soap and hot water before you handle food, while you prepare it and again when you’ve finished.
  2. Separate – Keep certain foods, like meat and their juices, separated from other foods during storage and preparation and use separate cutting boards for raw meat and vegetables.
  3. Cook – Prepare foods properly, cook them thoroughly and serve them immediately. Don’t leave food at room temperature where bacteria can grow. The danger zone is between 4°C (39°F) and 60°C (140°F).
  4. Chill – Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours.

holiday-safety-food-safety

If you’re dining out, check our Dinewise information to find the latest inspection reports for restaurants across Halton. For more tips on safe food, visit halton.ca/foodsafety.

Protect yourself and others from the flu

The holidays are prime time for spreading cold and flu viruses as we attend many social gatherings. Here are simple ways to keep yourself and others protected:

  • Wash your hands frequently and cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • If you don’t feel well, wait until your symptoms have gone away before visiting loved ones in retirement homes or long-term care homes. Older adults are at a greater risk of complications from illnesses such as the flu.
  • Get the flu vaccine at your pharmacy or family doctor.
  • To find out where to get your vaccine and learn more about protecting yourself
    and others, visit halton.ca/flu.

Enjoy a healthy and happy holiday season! As we get ready to ring in 2018, thank you for all you do to make Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire…and keeping our community safe.

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 @garycarrhaltonLinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Halton is a leader in community safety and well-being planning

Halton’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan introduced at Nov. 27 Symposium

On November 27, 2017, Oakville Mayor and Chair of the Halton Regional Police Services Board, Rob Burton and I co-hosted Halton’s first ever, Community Safety and Well-Being Symposium in Oakville. Over three hundred guests attended the event which started with greetings from the Honourable Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and featured a presentation on Halton’s new Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.

Minister and Chair Carr

Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr speaking with The Honourable Marie-France Lalonde at Halton’s Community Safety and Well-Being Symposium, November 27, 2017.

The concept of community safety and well-being planning is an emerging practice across Ontario. It focuses on bringing various sectors together including policing, public health, social services, healthcare, education and community-based human services agencies to address issues that impact residents and communities that are vulnerable due to social, economic or health related risk factors.

Halton’s Community Safety & Well-Being Plan  will enhance how we and the Halton Regional Police Service collaborate with community partners on issues that impact safety and well-being across the region. The Plan enhances our ability to respond to issues in a coordinated manner and builds on many successful efforts that contribute to a strong sense of community safety and well-being in Halton.

What do we hope to achieve with Halton’s plan?

By bringing various sectors together we want to increase coordination and collaboration between services, improve access to services, have greater alignment on key issues of safety and well-being, reduce the demand on emergency and crisis services. The Plan calls to attention preliminary issues that may be addressed using Halton’s Community Safety & Well-Being model including:

  • reducing hospital readmissions for individuals with mental health issues;
  • enhancing access to mental health supports for adolescents and youth;
  • establishing a proactive response to opioid misuse;
  • coordinating efforts to reduce homelessness and prevent eviction;
  • improving responses to sexual assault and supporting survivors;
  • supporting youth exiting child welfare services to achieve positive outcomes; and
  • addressing isolation among older adults.
Sympsoium photo_Minister Lalonde

Regional Councillor Dave Gittings, Deputy Chief Nishan (Nish) Duraiappah, Halton Regional Police Service, Jane MacCaskill, Chief Administrative Officer, Halton Region, Alex Sarchuk, Commissioner of Social and Community Services, Halton Region, The Honourable Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour, MPP Oakville, Chief Stephen J. Tanner, Halton Regional Police Service, The Honourable Marie-France Lalonde, Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr, Deputy Chief Carole Crowe, Halton Regional Police Service, Oakville Mayor and Chair of the Halton Regional Police Services Board, Rob Burton, Regional Councillor Cathy Duddeck

Halton’s Community Safety & Well-Being Plan recognizes that the safety and well-being of a community are shared responsibilities. It outlines a model for collaboration, planning and action that will help keep Halton safe and healthy as our population continues to grow. By working together with our partners at HRPS, we strive to maintain our long standing distinction as one of the safest communities in Canada and ensuring Halton continues to be a great place to live, grow, raise a family and retire.

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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

 

Be prepared for winter emergencies

Instagram - Nov. 23 1The last days of November remind us that winter is nearly here. As we begin to plan festivities and to-do lists for the December weeks ahead, I encourage everyone to consider seasonal safety as well.

Emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time, and the colder weather makes it especially important to plan today so we are protected tomorrow. Our emergency management plans and programs ensure our essential services remain available when you need them most.

Of course, emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility that involves individuals, all levels of government and the community. Just as Halton works to safeguard residents and businesses from emergencies, you can take three easy steps to protect yourself, your family and your property.

  • Know the risks
    Familiarize yourself with the hazards or risks in your community. For the coming months, consider the risks associated with cold, snow and ice, such as power outages or bridges and narrow roads that may be unsafe during winter weather.
  • Make a plan
    Ensure your household knows what to do before, during and after an emergency, from evacuation to communication. Please also remember the spirit of the season by including a check-in with vulnerable neighbours or family members in your emergency plans.
  • Get a kit
    Instagram- Nov. 23 4Assemble or buy emergency kits, including supplies for children, older adults and pets, to keep in your car and your home. A car kit can keep you safe and warm if stranded on the road, and a home kit can keep your family self-sufficient for 72 hours.

You can also download our Personal Emergency Preparedness Guide, complete with checklists and step-by-step instructions, to help ensure you take the right precautions.

To stay up-to-date about emergencies and emergency preparedness:

  • Visit halton.ca or check the OneHalton app for notifications about community-wide emergencies.
  • Visit halton.ca/severeweather to view automatic updates from Environment Canada about storms and other severe weather events.
  • Visit halton.ca/cold to learn about cold-related illnesses or sign up for cold warnings.
  • Visit halton.ca/beprepared for more emergency preparedness tips and supports.

By being prepared, you help protect your family and allow first responders to focus on those in immediate need during an emergency, increasing the resilience of our entire community throughout the colder months to come.

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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

 

Enjoy Halton’s clean drinking water, anytime.

rethink_waterHalton Region ensures that the 550,000 residents across Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville have access to clean, safe drinking water. Residents count on the Region to provide this valuable resource to use and enjoy every day. From laundry to dishes, from bathing to drinking – clean and safe water is something we all rely on.

Halton’s Water and Wastewater Master Plan is our guide to ensure that future generations enjoy the same access to clean drinking water that we count on today. This Plan includes a 20 year, $1.8 billion investment to service resident and business needs in urban areas through to 2031.

Today, Halton Region operates 12 Water Purification Plants across the region (three surface water treatment plants and nine groundwater treatment facilities). These plants and plant operators work 24/7 to ensure that clean and safe drinking water is available whenever you need it.

Our annual Drinking Water Quality Reports show that Halton Region continues to exceed the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s water quality standards. Halton Region conducts routine water testing and continuous monitoring to ensure we always meet and exceed the mark.

Ensuring residents have clean water every time they turn on the tap is only half of the story. Halton is also responsible for taking wastewater away, treating it and discharging it safely back into the environment. We also operate seven Wastewater Treatment Plants across the region that treat over 232,000 cubic metres of wastewater on a daily basis.

Water quality, reliability and sustainability will always be a top priority for Halton Region. This, among many reasons, is why Halton will continue to be a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. To learn more about how Halton is providing reliable and safe drinking water, visit halton.ca/rethinkwater.

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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

Remembering the sacrifices of Canada’s veterans

Lest we forget (3)Each year on November 11, Canadians come together to honour those who fought to protect our peace and freedom. This Remembrance Day, I encourage you to wear a poppy and observe two minutes of silence to reflect on the sacrifices that secured our future.

The 100th anniversaries of the battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele remind us that Canadian veterans have contributed to global security throughout our history. In the years following the World Wars, brave individuals have continued to make sacrifices for all of us.

Canada’s veterans fought far from home to defend their friends, neighbours and fellow citizens, and helped end international conflicts. They left their own families to protect others, and supported one another through the hardships of war with strength and courage. Their efforts ensured our country remained diverse, just and free for generations to come.

On behalf of Regional Council, I would like to thank everyone who has served Canada during times of war—in any capacity— for their contributions to our region, our country and our global community.

Remembrance_Day_20161111_089_ (4)While Remembrance Day is about honouring the past, it is also an opportunity to reflect on the future we share. We are reminded to treat one another with respect, compassion and dignity, to honour the vision of a free and inclusive society that our veterans fought for. As former American President John F. Kennedy once said, “we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Together, we built the strong, inclusive, peaceful society Canadian veterans believed in, and we will never forget the price they paid for it. We will continue to honour their sacrifices by expressing our gratitude for everything they achieved and living the values they fought to protect.

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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.

 

Employment Halton helps job seekers connect with employers

Halton Region is dedicated to providing residents with meaningful employment opportunities and connecting our highly skilled workforce to employers across the region.

Employment Halton works with nearly 9,500 job seekers and over 200 local employers every year. They work closely with local businesses to provide free job postings, opportunities to participate in job fairs and over 350 high quality placements each year. Job seekers can also benefit from free employment workshops to enhance skills and networking opportunities, including free job fairs.

This year’s job fair will be held on Tuesday, November 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Oakville Conference & Banquet Centre. Whether you’re just starting out in your career or looking to make new connections, job seekers of all experience levels are invited to attend. This is a great opportunity to network with local employers from industries such as government, healthcare, hospitality, manufacturing, media, retail, technology and more.

Employment Halton also offers programs such as the Youth Job Connection which provides placement opportunities for young people between the ages of 15 to 29, giving them a head start in their careers. For those looking to transition into a new career, the Second Career program can provide financial assistance necessary to succeed.

I hope you take advantage of these services and if you’re seeking employment and networking opportunities, you will definitely want to attend this year’s job fair. To learn more, visit halton.ca/employmenthalton or call 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, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.