By Connor Simonds, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Markham residents may have to dig a little deeper into their wallets in 2023, as the city has proposed a 5 per cent tax rate increase in its 2023 budget.
The proposed increase is part of the city’s plan to address various financial challenges it faces, such as infrastructure investment, payback of corporate rate stabilization, new staﬃng, and various new Bill impacts.
According to the proposed budget, the tax rate increase includes a 0.6 per cent infrastructure investment, which would help fund various city projects. Such projects include numerous parks, Markham’s 30-year flood control program, Green initiatives and retrofitting, and new road construction, repairs, and rehabilitation amongst others. This investment is said to be essential to support Markham’s growing population and maintain the city’s infrastructure. The proposed operating budget is $444 million.
The proposed tax rate increase, if approved, would mean $64.75 in additional property taxes for an average residential property in Markham. The city noted that every 1 per cent tax rate increase (local portion only) is equivalent to an increase of $12.95 in property taxes for an average residential property. The city also plans to increase water and wastewater fees by 3.8 per cent. These increases, along with a proposed tax rate increase from York Region of 3.9 per cent ($108.13), would mean an additional $209.82 in expenses for an average residential property in Markham.
The proposed budget also addresses the impacts of Bill 23 (The More Homes Built Faster Act,) Bill 109 (The More Homes For Everyone Act,) and Bill 93 (The Getting Ontario Connected Act/Ontario Underground Infrastructure Notification System,) which are expected to have significant financial implications for the city in the coming years.
Presenter Jay Pak, City of Markham’s senior manager of financial planning, had this to say about the eﬀects of Bill 23 on Markham at the latest city budget meeting. “Staﬀ have identified […] new major legislative changes that have had an eﬀect on our current budget, and will continue to aﬀect future budgets.” The perceived eﬀects of Bill 23 run as follows: “First a reduction in the development charge collections, second a reduction of park land dedication or cash in lieu, and [third] a reduction in development charge funding for staﬃng related studies.” The city has set aside a 78 per cent future impacts provision for Bill 23, which would help mitigate the financial impact of the bill on the city’s budget. Subsequently, Bills 109 and 93 oﬀer their own impacts to the city. Bill 109 mandates the timeline for Zoning By-law amendments to 90 days. This will increase the risk of refunding fees for applications if timelines are not met and will require all new staﬀ to meet these more stringent timelines. Whereas Bill 93 legislates major changes to how locates are delivered in Ontario. This includes a much broader use of Dedicated Locator services (locates being markings on the ground which indicates the location of underground infrastructure). Bill 93 will levee Administrative Monetary Penalties on non-compliance in meeting timelines for locate requests, as of April 1, 2023. The proposed budget also addresses the payback of corporate rate stabilization, new staﬃng, and Bill 23 impacts. The city has set aside funds to cover the costs associated with these challenges.
The council decision is expected to be made during the April 5 council meeting. The proposed budget, if approved, would bring the city’s total operating budget to $444 million.
The proposed 5 per cent tax rate increase in Markham’s 2023 budget is part of the city’s plan to address various financial challenges it faces. The increase would help fund infrastructure investment and new staﬃng, the payback of corporate rate stabilization, and many new Bill impacts.