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.”

Great Planning = A Great Place to Live

Halton residents have one of the highest standards of living in Canada and a large part of why Halton is such a great place to live is because of the significant effort Regional Council dedicates to planning for a safe, healthy community.

As you can tell by the construction across the Region, transportation and infrastructure are key priorities for Halton residents and Regional Council, as identified in The Citizens’ Priorities- Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan. Over the next 10 years, Halton Region expects to spend more than $2 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments will help reduce your commute time, expand your water supply, and ensure the health of all residents and our natural environment through our infrastructure improvement program.

Halton’s Transportation Master Plan, a 20-year, $2.4 billion capital investment plan will support growth in the Region to 2031 and ensure that transportation improvements are in place to meet demand. By the end of 2016, the Regional road network across Halton will have grown to 1,087 kilometres of lanes. In addition, 217 kilometres of shared or dedicated on-road bike lanes and off-road multi-use pathways will have been provided as part of the Region’s Active Transportation Master Plan.

Construction is a critical component of supporting the water service, wastewater collection and transportation needs of our growing community. Over the next three years (to 2016), whether you’re impacted by the $430 million Regional investment in road improvements in the Town of Milton and Town of Halton Hills or the $300 million investment in road improvements to the Dundas Street corridor in Oakville and Burlington, we appreciate your patience as we continue to implement the plans that support our great communities.

Through sound fiscal management, Halton Region has delivered quality programs and services for residents while maintaining an average zero per cent tax increase for the past seven years. I’m proud to say that this is one of the best records in all of Canada.

For details on construction projects on what’s happening now and what’s planned for the Region’s busiest construction areas, visit www.halton.ca/construction to sign up for our e-newsletter.

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.”

Halton Region is an award winning organization

I am pleased to announce that Halton Region was recently recognized as an employer of choice with three distinct awards, including being named one of the top employers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for the third year in a row. Run by Mediacorp Canada Inc., this project aims to acknowledge companies and organizations who are leaders in their industries. A special feature has been published by The Globe and Mail and online at www.eluta.ca.toronto-2014-english

Halton is a supportive, challenging and rewarding place to work. The Region is also a valued community partner and a leader in corporate responsibility. Metrolinx recently honoured Halton with a Smart Commute Halton Employer of the Year Award. The Smart Commute Awards recognize achievements by employers in reducing the number of single occupancy vehicles on the road. At the Region, our sustainable commuting options for employees include dedicated car pool parking spaces, the installation of secure bicycle parking, and a corporate transit pass program.   

Halton Region was also recognized by Oakville Hydro Corporation for being a leader in conservation and demand management of electrical consumption. Halton received an Oakville Saves! Recognition certificate for committing to significant energy retrofit projects in an effort to conserve energy.

Being an employer of choice is one of our top priorities in Halton Region’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan. This designation helps affirm that Halton is a workplace that attracts, retains and engages the highest calibre of employees so that we can continue to deliver the best possible services to the resident of Halton Region. The great staff at the Region is one of the reasons that 98% of residents are satisfied with regional services, and I’m proud that we continue to provide effective programs to ensure that Halton is not only a great place to live, but also a great place to work.

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.”

Construction Update newsletter now available via email and www.halton.ca/construction

Halton Region has now launched a new e-newsletter version of Construction Update. The semi-annual publication features updates on Regional road improvements and other infrastructure construction for water and wastewater services.

The newsletter gives details of what’s happening now and what’s planned for the Region’s busiest construction areas. Subscribers can choose the Dundas Street (north Oakville and Burlington) edition or the Milton/Halton Hills edition, or both. Visit www.halton.ca/construction to read Construction Update online or sign up to have future issues emailed directly to your inbox.

Why an e-newsletter? Earlier this year, the Region conducted an online survey to ask residents how they would like to be informed about Regional construction work and infrastructure planning. Sixty per cent of residents surveyed said they would like to receive an electronic newsletter.

Knowing what is important to residents helps us deliver our programs and services in the best way possible. Our new Construction Update e-newsletter is just one more way we are improving our web-based information resources for Halton residents.

The Region will continue to post information on our website, place notices in local newspapers, and use door-to-door delivery and direct mail when appropriate to keep everyone informed about infrastructure construction and planning.

Transportation and infrastructure are key priorities for Halton residents as identified in The Citizens’ Priorities- Halton Region’s 2011-2014 Action Plan. In fact, since 2006 we have significantly invested in transportation related costs.  In 2006 Halton Region’s transportation capital infrastructure budget was $50 million and it has increased to $289 million in 2013.graph

Over the next 10 years, Halton Region expects to spend more than $2 billion on water and wastewater infrastructure. These investments will help reduce your commute time, improve your water supply, and ensure the health of all residents and our natural environment through our infrastructure improvement program.

Through sound fiscal management, Halton Region has delivered quality programs and services for residents while maintaining an average zero per cent tax increase for the past seven years. I’m proud to say that this is one of the best records in all of Canada.

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.”

Chair’s Corner: Halloween Safety

It didn’t take long for stores to shift their inventory from back to school supplies to festive Halloween decorations, costumes and props. The excitement has been building as families get ready for the fun in a few days’ time, and I want to make sure all of the little minions, vampires, Power Rangers, etc. (and their parents) stay safe and enjoy their trick or treating to the fullest.

At Halton Region, we take safety seriously. Building safe communities with our residents is part of the Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan, and I’m proud that in August—for the fifth consecutive year—Halton Region was named the Safest Region in Canada. I know that record is because of the committed partnership and the great work by the Halton Regional Police Service and the engaged community we have in Halton.

In order to ensure we keep this Halloween safe too, we all need to work together. Please remember if you’re driving to slow down and pay attention. Children will be distracted during their quest for treats, so please take extra caution. Parents, remember to take flashlights or have your children carry glow sticks so they are easy to see. For more ideas, Health Canada also has a number of tips and hints to consider.

Halloween is also a great time for family fun and getting to know your neighbours. Our HaltonParents team of public health nurses often stress the importance of both spending time together as a family and the need for strong communities in raising happy, resilient children. So, enjoy every step from finding or making costumes, to getting dressed up together, and then getting out and talking with your neighbours.

I look forward to hearing the rings from my doorbell this year. I hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween.

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.”

Fall Fairs in Halton

With the fall season in full-swing I recently had the pleasure of attending some of the Fall Fairs in Halton.  The Georgetown, Acton, and Milton Fall Fairs have become a favourite tradition of Halton residents for the past century, with Acton celebrating its 100th year and Georgetown and Milton’s impressive 167 and 160 years, respectively.

I would like to recognize and thank the three organizing committees (Georgetown Agricultural Society, Acton Agricultural Society and the Halton Agricultural Society) for continuing to host these events for our community. Fall fair1

The Fall Fairs provide a great opportunity to unite and educate the residents in the area by showcasing the rich history of our agricultural industry as well as the diversity and innovation of Halton’s farms.  Agriculture is an important industry in Halton and one of the priorities of Halton’s Citizens’ Priorities Action Plan.  Events like the Fall Fairs and the Farm Tour bring important attention to agriculture in the Region and help spotlight the successes and partnerships of our agricultural community.  Watch the video below to learn more about Agriculture in Halton.

I hope you had an opportunity to attend one of the fairs and to visit Halton Region’s booth.  This year our Fall Fair ambassadors were promoting information on Harvest Halton – the Farm to Chef Experience, The Pumpkin Trail,  our expanded recycling and waste program, air quality, well water testing and more.  New to our booth this year was a display highlighting our Growing Good Food Ideas video series.  If you missed us you can visit www.halton.ca or dial 311 or to request a brochure and learn more.

Agriculture is such an important part of Halton’s community and the Fall Fairs do a great job of showcasing why Halton is such a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire.  To learn more about agriculture in Halton, visit www.halton.ca/simplylocal.

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.”