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News Release

Regional Council approves 2014 Business Plans and Budgets and related Property Tax Rates

WHITBY, ON February 12, 2014 – Durham Regional Council today approved the 2014 Regional Business Plans and Budgets for property-tax-supported purposes and the 2014 Property Tax Rates, during its meeting at Regional Headquarters. The 2014 Business Plans and Budgets, totalling approximately $1 billion, will provide essential services and investment in needed capital infrastructure to the Region's approximately 640,000 residents.

"This budget delivers continued high-quality programs and services that directly enhance the quality of life in our region," said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. "Each dollar collected via property taxes is helping to build and strengthen our community."

As a result of these plans and budgets, residents will see an average 1.5 per cent increase on the Regional portion of their property tax bill, which means about $36 on an average home assessed at $329,900.

"Taxpayer affordability was the top priority. Therefore, it was very positive to see the final budget reduced to a 1.5 per cent increase; well below the council guideline of 2.35 per cent," said Regional Councillor Don Mitchell, Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee. "This budget maintains existing service levels in all departments, allocates new funding for police infrastructure, includes numerous transit service improvements, and positions the Region well into 2015 and beyond."

Budget highlights include improvements to the Region's road and bridge networks; capital funding for a new land ambulance station; debt charges for the Durham Regional Police Service Clarington Phase 1 building; initiatives to help increase emergency response capabilities; enhancement of transit services; completion and occupancy of the newly rebuilt Fairview Lodge (long-term care home); and further waste management initiatives. Water and sewer services are not included in the property tax budget, as they are funded on a user-pay basis.

"This business plan and budget maintains service levels, while also investing in council-identified priorities," said Jim Clapp, Commissioner of Finance. "Not only is funding available for current Regional programs and services, but the corporation has continued to develop business plans and budgets that reflect the fundamentals of our Triple A credit ratings, to ensure the financial viability for future plans."

This spring, the Finance Department will distribute a newsletter to each home in Durham Region, which outlines the services funded from the 2014 Regional portion of residents' property tax bills. For more information on Regional responsibilities, including programs and services, visit www.durham.ca.

The Region's 2014 Property Tax Regional Business Plans and Budgets include:

  • Current Regional road projects include proposed improvements to Ritson Road and Simcoe Street in Oshawa; Taunton and Brock roads in Pickering; Bayly Street/Victoria Street in Ajax and Whitby; Sandford Road in Uxbridge; Regional Road 21 in Scugog; Mosport Road in Clarington; and preparatory work for reconstruction of Regional Road 13 in Brock. Plus, bridge rehabilitation and replacement projects, including the Whites Road/Metrolinx Structure in Pickering and Main Street Culvert in Clarington.
  • Funding for new solid waste management initiatives, such as a permanent Mercury Exchange Program; a one-year extension of the Reuse Days Pilot Program (eight events); and the full commercial operation of the Durham York Energy Centre (energy-from-waste facility).
  • Funding for a new land ambulance station in Brock Township; and the purchase of eight ambulances (new and replacement) to provide accessible and responsive emergency medical services.
  • A significant capital program for the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), including the Clarington Phase 1 building and NextGen (a common communications platform).
  • The implementation of smart technology on board Durham Regional Transit (DRT) buses–including GPS devices–to improve the reliability of service and on-time performance for transit customers. Implementation of DRT PULSE service, along Highway 2, will also continue, in addition to route enhancements and bus replacements.
  • Ontario Works (social assistance) caseloads are projected to remain stable as the economy continues in a prolonged period of slow growth.
  • The scheduled opening of Fairview Lodge, a long-term care home in Whitby, following its rebuild.
  • Operational costs for conservation authorities, including funding for future strategic land acquisitions that contribute to the protection, enhancement and restoration of the natural environment, while creating a natural heritage legacy for residents.

Residents are reminded that the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) sets an assessed value for each individual property. Questions about property valuation should addressed by MPAC at 1-866-296-6722 or www.mpac.ca.

 

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For more information, please contact Corporate Communications.