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News Release

Regional Council approves 2017 Business Plans and Budgets

WHITBY, ON February 08, 2017

“This budget provides funding for high-quality programs and services; responds to key program needs, legislative changes and requirements; and offers investment in Regional infrastructure—an expectation of our residents and the business community,” said Roger Anderson, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer. “Council has addressed these important issues, while striving to maintain taxpayer affordability.”

The 2017 Business Plans and Budgets mean residents will see an average budgetary increase of 1.8 per cent on the Regional portion of their property tax bill. This amounts to about $45 for the Region-wide average residential home after assessment growth.

“This budget was designed to position the Region into 2017 and beyond,” said Bob Chapman, Chair of the Finance & Administration Committee. “We are confident that employees will continue to explore efficiencies and, where required, recommend phasing or deferring program changes or capital works to ensure taxpayer affordability.”

Budget highlights include investment in the Region’s road and bridge networks, facilities, conventional transit service enhancements, five local conservation authorities, energy conservation, economic development, and infrastructure and technology improvements. 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.

“This budget was designed to meet funding requirements related to existing service levels, while also investing in council-identified priorities,” said Jim Clapp, Commissioner of Finance. “We continue to lean on our strong financial fundamentals to help guard against unforeseen impacts.”

The Region’s 2017 Property Tax Business Plans and Budgets include:

- A Regional roads capital budget of about $81.2 million, which includes key projects, such as:
a)  Three-lane extension of Consumers Drive, from east of Thickson Road in Whitby to Thornton Road in Oshawa.
b) Construction of an eastbound turn lane at the Bayly Street and Westney Road intersection and rehabilitation of the John Mills Bridge in Ajax.
c) Widening of Brock Street (Regional Highway 12) in Whitby, from north of Rossland Road to Taunton Road.

- Enhancements to the optical sorting equipment at the Material Recovery Facility (for recyclable materials).

- Capital purchases of $3.2 million for replacement vehicles, equipment purchases and facility maintenance for the Durham Regional Police Service.

- About $29.9 million in capital requirements for Durham Region Transit (DRT), including new growth vehicles, replacement vehicles, bus refurbishments, installation of on-board security systems, and other related facility and equipment improvements. Plus service improvements to DRT’s high-frequency network, some feeder routes, and within north Durham.

- Anticipated provincial funding for 45 new child-care fee-subsidy spaces; continuation of the province’s Wage Enhancement Program; and one-time funding for the transition of the Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres from the Ministry of Education to the Region.

- Continued poverty reduction efforts, increased funding for homelessness prevention ($796,000), as well as investments in front-line service levels within the long-term care homes to better address the increasing complexity of care.

- Partial-year operating costs for the new Sunderland Paramedic Station, including 12 new paramedics ($1.6 million) and the replacement of cots to those with power assist ($1.6 million).

- The development and investment of a comprehensive post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) training and support program for emergency 911 operators and paramedics (to improve overall mental health), as required in Ontario’s Bill 163.

- Approximately $5.7 million in operational costs and $1.6 million in special project costs for five local conservation authorities, as well as 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.

This spring, the Finance Department will distribute a newsletter to each home in Durham Region, outlining the services funded from the 2017 Regional portion of residents’ property tax bills. For more information on Regional responsibilities, including programs and services, please visit www.durham.ca.

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.