Markham approves 1.97 per cent tax hike

The average homeowner will need to fork out an additional $24 in property taxes after Markham council passed a $519.78-million budget that includes a new pathway system that will stretch more than 13 kilometres and the revitalization of Morgan Pool Complex facilities.

The budget was approved on March 20. The tax rate increase of 1.97 per cent is below the rate of inflation and, says Mayor Frank Scarpitti, the city has maintained the lowest tax rate increase in the Greater Toronto since 2006.

“I called on city staff to get the tax rate down to approximately two per cent,” he said. “It is important to find efficiencies in order to reduce the tax rate increase even further, without a reduction in service levels. Our city is growing, the caliber of our facilities is second-to-none and we are equipped with the right plan to meet the expanding needs of our community. It is our job to deliver exceptional services while maintaining affordability for the taxpayer.”

The tax rate increase includes 1.47 per cent for day-to-day operating costs and a 0.5 per cent infrastructure investment to ensure there are sufficient funds in the life cycle reserve to repair and replace assets for the next 25 years.

The Morgan Pool Complex will see new change rooms, a new parking lot, expansion of the pool deck and a new splash pad, all of which meet accessibility requirements and will improve access. The budget also sets aside money for the Markham Centre Trails. A new fully-integrated pathway system will stretch from Apple Creek Blvd. to Main Street Unionville, providing bicycle and pedestrian access to the Rouge River valley system.

The budget also earmarks funds to continue the city’s 30-year flood control program to protect public and private properties and make critical infrastructure more resilient to climate change. Other highlights: $35.5 million for new roads, stormwater management ponds and sidewalks; $3.5 million for new parks; and $30.9 million to ensure existing assets are in a stage of good repair, including community centres, fire stations, libraries, library collections and e-resources, and playground structures.

Markham collects property taxes on behalf of York Region and the Province of Ontario, with 51 per cent of all Markham taxes going to the region. The City of Markham keeps about 25 per cent of the taxes collected, with the remaining 24 per cent going to the province for education.

Photo: Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Councillor Amanda Collucci discuss the highlights of the city’s 2019 budget.

Photo: From left to right: Budget Committee Vice-Chair and Councillor Andrew Keyes; Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti; Budget Chief and Councillor Amanda Collucci present Markham’s 2019 Budget at the Markham Civic Centre.

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