On July 11, Regional Council approved the 2019 Budget Directions Report to guide Regional staff in the creation of Halton’s 2019 Budget and Business Plan. The report projects a two per cent property tax rate increase for Regional services in 2019, which will continue Halton Region’s 12-year track record of keeping property tax increases at or below the rate of inflation.
“The 2019 Budget Directions Report is an important step in our budget development process,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “The report provides guidelines that help us make strategic investments in Regional infrastructure, programs and services to ensure we maintain our strong financial position and top credit rating, keeping property taxes low and contributing to a high quality of life in Halton.”
The report ensures Halton’s upcoming budget will align with plans, policies and targets approved by Regional Council. It focuses on ensuring resident access to essential services, supporting critical program enhancements and financing plans to address community growth. It is also an essential first step in the budget preparation process, providing guidelines for both the tax-supported budget (funded through property taxes) and rate-supported budget (funded through fees for Regional services).
The 2019 report highlighted several considerations for tax budget pressures, including:
- Waste management: Additional contract costs to reflect growth as well as an investment in the implementation of the Halton Waste Management Site Customer Experience Optimization.
- Transportation: Investments for the state of good repair of existing roads and expansions to accommodate growth as well as the implementation of a Regional Advanced Traffic Management System.
- Paramedic services: Continued support and implementation of the Paramedic Services 10-Year Master Plan to maintain paramedic response times and manage rising call volumes.
- Public health programs: Funding for mandatory programs to address shortfalls in funding from other levels of government.
- Children’s services: Allocation of funding for the Child Care Expansion Plan and the creation of new child care programs based on Provincial guidelines.
The report also outlined considerations for rate budget pressures, including:
- Growth of the system: Increased hydro consumption due to water and wastewater infrastructure expansions at various treatment plants across the region.
- Long-term water meter strategy: Implementation of a Region-wide Advanced Meter Infrastructure system (AMI) to increase accuracy and operational efficiency and to enhance customer service and improve distribution system performance.
- Basement flooding mitigation: Continuation of the Region-wide Basement Flooding Mitigation Program and ongoing investments to help prevent basement flooding due to severe weather.
- State of good repair: Invest appropriately in the state-of-good-repair program to maintain the condition of the assets as infrastructure ages and expands due to growth.
The 2019 Budget and Business Plan Council Information Overview will take place on December 19, 2018, and the 2019 Council Budget Meeting is scheduled for January 9, 2019. The 2019 Budget and Business Plan is expected to be considered for approval by Regional Council on January 16, 2019.
To learn more about Halton’s budgets, please visit halton.ca.
The Regional Municipality of Halton serves 570,000 residents in the City of Burlington, the Town of Halton Hills, the Town of Milton, and the Town of Oakville. Halton Region is committed to meeting the needs of its residents through the delivery of cost-effective, quality programs and services, including water and wastewater; Regional roads and planning; paramedic services; waste management; public health; social assistance; children’s and seniors’ services; housing services; heritage programs; emergency management and economic development. For more information, call 311 or visit Halton Region’s website at halton.ca.