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News Release

Regional Council approves 2015 Business Plans and Budgets and related Property Tax Rates

WHITBY, ON March 04, 2015

Durham Regional Council today approved the 2015 Regional Business Plans and Budgets for property-tax-supported purposes and the 2015 Property Tax rates, during its meeting at Regional Headquarters. The 2015 Business Plans and Budgets, totalling approximately $1.3 billion, will provide essential services and investment in needed capital infrastructure to the Region’s approximately 650,000 residents.

“As a result of Regional Council’s commitment to prudent financial policies, this budget continues to build and strengthen our community,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “Our quality of life is a reflection of these high-quality programs and services, in addition to council-identified priorities.”

These plans and budgets means residents will see an average increase of one per cent on the Regional portion of their property tax bill, which means about $24 on a home assessed at $351,000 (the average regional residential current value assessment).

“All departments worked together to achieve this guideline and ensure taxpayer affordability,” said Bob Chapman, Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee. “This budget positions the Region well into 2016 and beyond, while also reflecting the fundamentals of our Triple A credit ratings.”

Budget highlights include improvements to the Region’s road and bridge networks; initiatives to help increase emergency response capabilities; further waste management initiatives; enhancement of transit services; a police pilot project for body-worn cameras; implementation of the primary cycling network; completion and occupancy of the newly rebuilt Fairview Lodge (long-term care home); and funding for five local conservation authorities. Residents should note that water and sewer services are not included in the property tax budget, as they are funded on a user-pay basis.

“The 2015 business plan and budget allows the Region to fund current programs and services, while ensuring the financial viability of future strategies,” said Jim Clapp, Commissioner of Finance. “Critical needs have been addressed, current service levels were maintained, and council priorities have continued.”

This spring, the Finance Department will distribute a newsletter to each home in Durham Region, which outlines the services funded from the 2015 Regional portion of residents’ property tax bills. For more information on Regional responsibilities, including programs and services, visit www.durham.ca.  

The Region’s 2015 Property Tax Regional Business Plans and Budgets include:

Scheduled Regional road projects:

o Expansion of Bayly Street/Victoria Street in Ajax/Whitby, Westney Road in Ajax, Brock Road in Pickering, and the Taunton Road/Grandview Street intersection in Oshawa.

o Road resurfacing and rehab at several locations, including Concession 9/Myrtle Road in Pickering/Whitby, 12th Concession Road in Brock Township, Liberty Street in Clarington, and Boundary Road in Oshawa.

o Rehabilitation of the Oshawa Creek Bridge (on Taunton Road) in Oshawa.

o Construction on Brock Road (including the Brougham by-pass) in Pickering and Simcoe Street (at Conlin Road and Winchester Road intersections) in Oshawa to accommodate the Highway 407 expansion.

New solid waste management initiatives:

o A bulky rigid plastics pilot recycling program via existing curbside call-in services (includes baby seats, toys, lawn furniture, sports helmets, baskets, storage containers, etc.).

o A pilot recycling project for construction and demolition materials (such as pressure treated or painted wood, coated drywall and contaminated metals).

o Full commercial operation of the Durham York Energy Centre (energy-from-waste facility).

o Remediation work at the Blackstock Landfill.

o Continuation of Reuse Days events.

o A new mobile application/online tool to make information more easily accessible to residents.

The lowest budget increase in 19 years from the Durham Regional Police Service, offering funding for a body-worn camera pilot project and money to support the ongoing capital program. This keeps the net operating cost, per capita for policing in Durham Region, the fourth lowest in its comparator group.

The purchase of nine ambulances (new and replacement) for the continuation of accessible and responsive emergency medical services.

New initiatives for Durham Region Transit:

o Proposed implementation of service enhancements and efficiencies, designed to provide more frequency DRT’s major routes and more direct service to key destinations.

o Continued implementation of PULSE Bus Rapid Transit, including intersection improvements at Liverpool, Brock, Westney and Whites roads.

o Real-time information about bus arrivals for passengers, using a variety of interactive tools, including a smartphone app.

o Accessibility improvements, including hard surface paving at bus stops.

Continued implementation of the Primary Cycling Network (about 8.5 kilometres) on Brock Road in Pickering; Highway 2/Westney Road in Ajax; Victoria and Cochrane streets in Whitby; Simcoe Street/Conlin Road and Simcoe Street/Winchester Road intersections in Oshawa; Reach Street in Scugog; and Myrtle Road in Whitby. Other cycling support initiatives include a Regional cycling signage and pavement markings policy, and implementation of Year 1 of the Regional Cycling Communications Plan that is intended to provide support to current cyclists, encourage people to consider cycling, and to educate motor vehicle drivers about how to share the road safely with cyclists.

Modernization of traffic control signals and installation of accessible pedestrian signals and sidewalk improvements related to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005.

The scheduled opening of Fairview Lodge, a long-term care home in Whitby, plus provisions for required upgrades at three of the Region’s long-term care homes, including repairs, equipment and tangible capital assets.

The Durham Festival—a Region-wide event to be held in August 2015—to showcase and celebrate the region’s diverse creative communities, promote tourism visitation, and drive economic development.

The creation of a new economic development strategy for 2015 to 2020.

Operational costs for five local conservation authorities, including continued funding of future strategic land acquisitions that contribute to the protection, enhancement and restoration of the natural environment, while enhancing 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.