City approves ‘modest’ 1.95 per cent tax hike

The average homeowner here will fork out an additional $25 in property taxes next year after Markham Council approved a $533.7-million budget that includes major funding to make facilities more sustainable and energy efficient.

“We are proud of our track record of responsible fiscal management and for maintaining the lowest average tax rate increase in the Greater Toronto Area since 2006,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti says.

“I challenged city staff to keep the tax rate low by leveraging efficiencies through the use of technology, realigning services to enhance value in the city’s operations and modernizing our services, and they have delivered. The support of the federal and provincial governments has been critical to the city and our community as we continue to weather the pandemic, and further assistance will be essential to the recovery effort.”

The budget represents a 1.95 per cent property tax rate increase that includes 1.45 per cent for day-to-day operating costs and continues a 0.5 per cent infrastructure investment to ensure there are sufficient funds in the Life Cycle Replacement and Capital Reserve to rehabilitate and replace City infrastructure for the next 25 years.

Included in the budget is $4.2M to develop greenhouse gas reduction plans and retrofit solutions for several community centres and new electric vehicle chargers, $2.8 million to expand the public library’s collections to better support Markham’s diverse community and membership interests, and $2 million to renovate and repair 10 municipal facilities and community centres across the city.

The budget also addresses environmental protection and management, with $1.7 million earmarked to tackle erosion, protect of fish habitats, monitor and improve pond water quality, and conduct an inventory and study of natural heritage systems and other natural areas. The budget will enhance traffic and pedestrian safety by putting $1.8 million towards developing a comprehensive road safety plan, building new pedestrian crossings and traffic signals, and installing new multi-use path crossings.

Other budget highlights: $11.8 million to extend trails and add four new parks; $13.9 million to improve storm drainage capacity and to limit flooding risks; $12.4 million for water and wastewater infrastructure monitoring, replacements and upgrades; $16.9 million for asphalt resurfacing, pavement preservation and road construction, and repairs to curbs, sidewalks and catch basins.

“This modest increase is well below the current rate of inflation and will help re-open the economy as we recover from this pandemic,” says Budget Chief Councillor Amanda Yeung Collucci. Markham collects property taxes on behalf of York Region and the Province of Ontario. The city keeps about 24 per cent of taxes collected; 52 per cent go to York Region and the remaining 24 per cent go to the provincial government for education. 

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