Halton is a great place to live

Halton is a great place to live and Regional Council is committed to making fiscally, responsible decisions that ensure we provide high quality services that contribute to your quality of life, making it an ideal place to live, work, raise a family and retire.

Last December, Regional Council approved the 2014 Budget and Business Plan and for the fourth time in eight years (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014), we were able to reduce property taxes on Regional programs and services while maintaining and enhancing service levels. Over the past eight years, we have either reduced or frozen taxes. This is one of the best records in all of Canada. Once again this year, we have achieved a AAA credit rating.  This is the highest credit rating that can be achieved and it is acknowledgment of Halton’s strong financial position. Our AAA credit rating and reduced taxes demonstrates that we have been managing your tax dollars efficiently and effectively. 

Regional Council is committed to policies that ensure Halton is resident focused, well planned and safe and healthy. Value to you as a taxpayer is a critical component of decision making at Council.  We are fiscally responsible with the Regional budget and have been planning our infrastructure needs (roads, waste management, water/wastewater treatment) so that strategic investments now ensure we meet infrastructure needs in the future with minimal impact to you as a taxpayer. We are also focused on services that contribute to a safe and healthy community so that you can continue to enjoy a high quality of life in Halton.

As a regional government, we continue to build on our record of customer service excellence. In January, our Access Halton group was recognized by the Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM) as a Service Quality Award of Excellence Winner for 2013. Halton received a Highest Customer Service (government) award and survey results indicated 92 per cent of callers were satisfied overall with their call centre experience. These results are a great achievement given that in 2013, Access Halton managed 304,354 calls and 9,282 emails.

Great things are happening in Halton. To learn more, I invite you to take a look at my video blog, The State of the Region, at www.youtube.com/haltonchair.

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.”

Protecting Taxpayers from the Financial Impacts of Growth

Ensuring that growth pays for itself is imperative to the future vitality of Halton Region and is of critical importance to Regional Council.  The Provincial Places to Grow Act mandates that Halton Region’s population grows to 780,000 by the year 2031.  While this may seem a long way off, we need to be planning ahead to determine how we will pay for and build the infrastructure required to support this growth. It is the position of Regional Council that growth pays for itself. Regional Council is committed to protecting Halton taxpayers from the financial impacts associated with growth.

The Growth Plan has imposed significant financial challenges on Halton Region. When combined with the additional funding required for state-of-good-repair needs for existing infrastructure, the Growth Plan creates an unprecedented financial burden to Halton Region. Without the necessary tools, funding and legislative commitments, we cannot accommodate the growth mandated by the Provincial Government.  We are asking the Provincial Government for changes to the Development Charges Act that support the recovery and collection of growth related costs to ensure Halton’s taxpayers do not bear the financial impacts of growth.

In November 2013, Regional Council approved the 2012 Allocation Program.  This program finalized an agreement with local developers to invest $961 million for infrastructure required to support future development in Milton and North Oakville.  The success of this agreement demonstrates that Regional Council is taking action to ensure that “growth pays for growth”.

Halton is a great place to live and we want to ensure that Halton’s future remains strong and stable.  Last December, Regional Council approved the 2014 Budget and Business Plan and for the fourth time in eight years (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014), we were able to reduce property taxes on Regional programs and services while maintaining and enhancing service levels. Over the past eight years, we have either reduced or frozen taxes. This is one of the best records in all of Canada.

In January, Moody’s Investor Services reaffirmed our AAA credit rating.  This is the highest credit rating that can be achieved and it is acknowledgment of Halton’s strong financial position.  Our AAA credit rating and reduced taxes demonstrate that we have been managing your tax dollars efficiently and effectively.

Halton Region is advocating for support from all levels of government to ensure Halton’s taxpayers are not burdened with the cost of growth and that the services needed are in place.  We have created a series of position papers that highlight our advocacy efforts on your behalf.  Learn more about our Advocating for a Strong Halton campaign. You can also view my recent video blog on the Budget to learn more about how Halton Region is managing your tax dollars.

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.”

State of the Region

Halton is a great place to live and Regional Council is committed to making fiscally, responsible decisions that ensure we can provide high quality services that contribute to your quality of life.  Earlier this month, Regional Council approved the 2014 Budget and Business Plan and for the fourth time in eight years (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014), we were able to reduce property taxes on Regional programs and services while maintaining and enhancing service levels.  Over the past eight years, we have either reduced or frozen taxes, this is an incredible achievement.  We are one of the few municipalities in Canada that has been able to reduce taxes.  Since becoming Regional Chair in 2006, my focus, along with my colleagues in Council, has been on policies that ensure Halton is resident focused; well planned; and safe and healthy with minimal impact on your pocketbook, as a Regional taxpayer. 

There are a number of important achievements in 2013 that will support and guide us in the years ahead.  With our AAA credit rating and reduction in taxes we are attracting jobs and investment to the region.  We are also making significant investments in infrastructure to ensure we have the waste management, water and road infrastructure in place to meet the needs of our growing community.

Great things are happening in Halton and my latest video blog highlights some of the achievements of the past year.  Join me on a walk through Halton as I share with you my thoughts on the State of the Region.

 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.”

Council Approves 0.4 per cent property tax reduction for 2014 budget

I am pleased to let you know that Regional Council has approved the 2014 Budget and Business Plan marking the fourth time in the last eight years (2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014) that Halton Region has achieved a property tax reduction for Regional tax supported programs and services.  Halton Region has one of the best records in Canada for keeping taxes low while maintaining and enhancing service levels.

This is great news for residents and businesses in Halton.  We are one of the few municipalities in all of Canada that has actually reduced taxes. By maintaining our AAA credit rating and keeping our taxes low we ensure Halton is competitive which attracts jobs and investment to our community.

Halton is a great place to live.  Residents want high quality services and low taxes. We have been able to maintain and enhance service levels without increasing taxes.

You can view the 2014 Budget and Business Plan online.  Here are some highlights of key investments in the 2014 budget:

  • $177 million in transportation capital investment
  • $405,000 to create additional child care subsidies
  • $721,000 to maintain service levels for waste management services
  • $300,000 to increase the number of SPLIT passes available in the community (subsidy for bus passes for low income residents)
  • $65,000 to support the development of an Agri-tourism Program to attract more tourism to Halton’s rural communities
  • $195,000 for Locates (Ontario One Call) a new underground infrastructure notification system
  • $600,000 to support initiatives outlined in the Comprehensive Housing Strategy
  • $320,000 for assisted housing programs including continued implementation of subsidies for low income residents

Halton Region’s strong fiscal management policies ensure we can deliver high quality services for our residents.  Our AAA credit rating demonstrates to our taxpayers and the business community Council’s commitment to fiscally responsible decision making.  A AAA rating and a reduction in taxes attracts companies like Target, Siemens, Toronto Premium Outlets and Gypsum Technologies Inc. making Halton a hotspot for business. 

The 2014 Budget and Business Plan is available online as is the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan which highlights fiscal responsibility and attracting and retaining jobs as key priorities. My video blog on Attracting and Retaining Jobs provides additional information with highlights on Halton Region’s 10 Year Economic Development Strategy.  

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.”

Setting budget directions to keep Halton’s taxes low in 2014

Over the past seven years, Halton Region has enjoyed one of the best records in all of Canada for keeping taxes low while maintaining the quality of life currently enjoyed by residents. Halton has had an average zero percent tax increase for the past seven years and the budget directions set for 2014 continue to demonstrate our strong financial management and commitment to maintaining our AAA credit rating.

At the Council meeting on June 10, Halton Regional Council approved the Budget Directions Report and supported a tax increase at or below 1.5% for the preparation of the 2014 Budget and Business Plan.  We are committed to delivering the 2014 budget based on the priorities outlined in the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan. Achieving the 2014 Budget Directions will require a focus on continuous improvement and cost efficiencies in all program areas. This budget will continue to invest in transportation and infrastructure-the two areas that Halton have identified as a priority. To view the video on these issues, view the video below.


With the budget directions approved, Halton Regional staff will spend the next few months preparing the 2014 Budget and Business Plan which will be discussed at the Budget Review Committee on December 9 and will go to Regional Council on December 11 for final approval. 

 You can find more information about the priorities of the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan on my YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/HaltonChair or view a video on the 2013 Budget and Business Plan below.

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.”