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News Release

Regional Council approves 2016 Business Plans and Budgets and related Property Tax Rates

WHITBY, ON February 17, 2016

Durham Regional Council today approved the 2016 Regional Business Plans and Budgets for property-tax-supported purposes and the 2016 Property Tax rates, during its meeting at Regional Headquarters. The 2016 Business Plans and Budgets, totalling approximately $1.12 billion, will provide essential services and investment in needed capital infrastructure to the Region’s approximately 658,175 residents.

“With this budget, Regional Council has committed to delivering high-quality programs and services that contribute to the strengthening of our community,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “Staff from all Regional departments worked together, in an effort to keep costs down.”

These plans and budgets mean residents will see an average increase of 1.65 per cent on the Regional portion of their property tax bill, which means about $40 on a home assessed at $362,000 (the average regional residential current value assessment).

“Careful consideration was given to important issues facing the Region, as was taxpayer affordability,” said Bob Chapman, Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee. “This attention to detail has resulted in a budget that will continue to advance our key, strategic priorities, and positions the Region well into 2017 and beyond.”

Budget highlights include improvements to the Region’s road and bridge networks; investments in social assistance and social housing; continued investment in police facilities; conventional and specialized transit service enhancements; 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 2016 business plans and budgets provide the funding required to maintain existing service levels, while also investing in council-identified priorities,” said Jim Clapp, Commissioner of Finance. “This year’s budget continues to advance the strong financial fundamentals that underlie the Region’s excellent credit rating—a fiscal strategy that guards against unforeseen impacts.”

This spring, the Finance Department will distribute a newsletter to each home in Durham Region, which outlines the services funded from the 2016 Regional portion of residents’ property tax bills. For more information on Regional responsibilities, including programs and services, visit www.durham.ca.

The Region’s 2016 Property Tax Regional Business Plans and Budgets include:

  • Scheduled Regional road projects:
    • Regional Roads Capital Budget of $77.3 million, which represents an increase of $3.1 million, or 4.2 per cent, over 2015.
    • Improvements to Victoria Street, Rossland Road West and Whites Road in Whitby and Pickering.
    • $23.7 million in road rehabilitation at locations across the region.
    • $5.5 million in funding for bridge and structure rehabilitation and replacement work.
    • $12.4 million in road projects to continue to accommodate the extension of Highway 407.
  • New solid waste management initiatives:
    • Investigation of an organics plan/anaerobic digestion.
    • New municipal hazardous and special waste facility in Clarington.
  • The 2016 capital budget for Durham Regional Police Services includes property tax funded capital purchases of $3.4 million for vehicle and equipment purchases, and facility maintenance and renewal.
  • The hiring of four new paramedics to help maintain legislated response times, and the replacement of eight ambulances and two emergency response vehicles for the continuation of accessible and responsive paramedic services to the community.
  • New initiatives for Durham Region Transit (DRT):
    • Increased capacity on busy routes (PULSE, 401, 915, 910).
    • Extension of DRT service into north Oshawa.
    • New customer service excellence training for bus operators.
    • Service redesign for the northern municipalities.
    • DRT Specialized Services will implement the roll out of the PRESTO electronic fare payment system and increase capacity during off-peak times.
  • Funding for a multi-year project to update and modernize the Region’s corporate website, www.durham.ca.
  • Implementation of an electronic agenda management system for all standing committee and Regional Council meetings.
  • Continuation of funding to establish Sport Tourism as a permanent program and assist with an update to the Region’s Sport Tourism Strategy.
  • An additional 96 new child-care fee-subsidy spaces, 100 per cent funded by the Province of Ontario.
  • 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 be directed to MPAC at 1-866-296-6722 or www.mpac.ca.

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For more information, please contact Corporate Communications.