*Please see a news release below issued by the Region of Halton.
On July 13, Regional Council approved Halton Region’s Budget Directions Report. This Report lays the foundation for keeping taxes at or below the rate of inflation in 2023 while investing in critical programs and services that meet the needs of our community. The Report maintains the priority to ensure the property tax rate increase is targeted not to exceed 3 per cent and the water and wastewater rate increase is targeted not to exceed 4.1 per cent.
“Halton Region has maintained a strong financial position throughout the challenges of COVID-19 and through the pandemic recovery,” said Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr. “This ultimately positions the Region to minimize the financial impacts on residents and businesses while delivering high-quality programs and services that support the health and well-being of all members of the Halton community.”
For over 20 years, Halton has maintained a proven track record in successfully delivering, maintaining and enhancing services while keeping tax increases low by identifying savings and opportunities for reallocation of resources. The Report identifies priority investments in critical services despite the significant pressures as a result of high inflation and increased demand for services and growth.
All of Burlington city councillors sit on regional council and we are all working hard with our regional colleagues to manage the added costs of growth and inflation, maintaining and expanding services for a growing community, while keeping costs down. Our first look at the regional budget achieves this balance and positions regional council to make the best decision on budget, which will be approved in the next term of office.
34.7% of your tax bill is for regional services, 46.2% is for city-only services, and 19.1% is for education. Burlington council also recently received a budget directions report outlining the challenges and priorities for the 2023 budget.
The draft overall tax rate increase including city, regional and education portions is projected to be 3.4%. The next term of council will make a final decision on the 2023 budget, including any reductions.
The key priorities for the Halton Region 2023 budget include:
Public Health – an ongoing focus on the COVID-19 response, continuing vaccination needs and requirements and supporting the Public Health’s pandemic recovery. This includes the revitalization of Public Health services that have been suspended during the pandemic, such as catch-up of grade seven immunizations. Budgetary impacts include uncertainties in additional funding from the Province to offset costs.
Waste Management – investments in key initiatives that will extend the lifespan of the Halton Waste Management Site, increase waste diversion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also includes ongoing planning for the transition of the Blue Box program to full producer responsibility in 2025 and monitoring the impacts of COVID-19 on the amount of solid waste material being generated.
Road Operations – investment in expanding the road maintenance program to ensure the state-of-good-repair of our roads and to support the expansion of the Region’s transportation infrastructure to accommodate growth.
Housing Services – investment for the Halton Rental Assistance Program (HRAP) due to an unprecedented increase in households in the shelter system related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Services for Seniors – making investments that support more direct hours of care for residents in long-term care. Also responding to increasing costs associated with additional staffing as a result of funding limitations.
Employment & Social Services – supporting the provincial government’s transformation of employment support services, including a new service delivery model to meet the needs of the local economy.
Paramedic Services – maintaining existing service levels while addressing increased costs associated with inflation, increased call volumes, response times and population and other growth pressures.
Children’s Services – investments to increase quality, accessibility, affordability and inclusivity in early learning and child care based on the Federal and Provincial Government’s Canada-Wide Early Learning and Child Care (CWELCC) Agreement.
Digital Strategy – continuing to invest in expanding the delivery of digital services to the community. This includes investments in digital technology to support decision-making and delivery of the most requested customer-facing services digitally.
Throughout the budget planning process, there will be a continued focus on finding cost efficiencies across all areas to achieve these targets. The 2023 Budget and Business Plan is scheduled to be reviewed by Regional Council on January 18, 2023 and consideration of approval is scheduled on January 25, 2023.