Community

Region passes $4.2-billion budget

The regional portion of your property tax bill will increase by 3.75 per cent this year after council approved a $4.2-billion budget. That increase includes a one per cent rapid transit/infrastructure levy.

“Approving a budget is not only a fiscal decision, but also reinforces our commitment to investing in our shared vision for a strong and sustainable future,” says York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson.

“As we look forward, our focus remains on ensuring cost-effective regional infrastructure, programs and services are accessible today and positioned to meet the evolving needs of our residents tomorrow. This is especially important as we continue to understand the significant financial short- and long-term impacts of the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 (Bill 23), as well as post-pandemic economic conditions and other world events,” he adds.

The $4.2-billion budget is comprised of $3.2 billion in operating costs and $1 billion in capital expenditures. The operating budget focuses on day-to-day expenses, with 82 cents of each tax dollar funding frontline programs and services. That includes 33 cents for Public Works Environmental Services and Transportation, 29 cents for York Regional Police, and 20 cents for Community and Health Services.

The $1-billion capital budget, meanwhile, is part of a “record-high” 10-year capital plan of $11.6 billion designed to address long-term infrastructure needs while maintaining existing assets. The multi-year budget aligns with the York’s four Strategic Plan priorities of fostering economic prosperity, supporting community well-being, driving environmental stewardship and effectively delivering trusted services, the region reports.

“Housing is top of mind, and we are moving forward with accelerating construction of infrastructure to give our cities and towns the best chance to meet new provincially-mandated housing targets,” says Steve Pellegrini, Chair of Finance and Administration.

Budget highlights include investing $368 million in roads and transit infrastructure, building an additional 269 kilometres of fibre (including 1,980 new connections and facilitating high-speed internet access in rural and underserved areas), and continuing to plan for the region’s $1.12-billion capital contribution to the Yonge North Subway Extension.

Paramedic Services will receive 14 new, 28 replacement and one electric vehicle and two new paramedic response stations will be completed to ensure the Region continues to meet response time targets. The Region is also investing in streetscaping and green infrastructure, including planting 70,000 trees and shrubs to prevent and reduce the impacts of climate change and maintain and enhance green spaces.

Regional council also endorsed the outlook for the remaining two years of the current multi-year budget, which will pass on a 3.6 per cent tax hike in both 2025 and 2026.

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