York Region homeowners should brace themselves for an increase on the regional portion of their property tax bill, which could climb 3.37 per cent and possibly more.
The increase goes toward the cost of hiring an additional 53 York Regional Police staff, including 23 to cover the costs associated with cannabis enforcement, as well as 12 new paramedics to address growth and a $1 million investment in the Innovation Investment Fund.
But council might increase taxes by one additional percentage point to fast track road construction projects – including road widening projects in congested areas – already identified in its 10-year capital plan.
With the 3.37 per cent increase, the average homeowner with a house assessed at $687,000 would see the regional portion of their property tax go up $81. At 4.37 per cent, the average increase would be $105.
But the average varies from one municipality to the next. In Aurora, the average increase would be $76 if the 3.37 per cent tax increase is approved or $99 if the 4.37 per cent hike is approved. Average increases (lower and higher respectively) in other municipalities: East Gwillimbury ($57 or $74), Georgina ($43 or $55), King ($95 or $123), Markham ($84 or $109), Newmarket ($64 or $83), Richmond Hill ($92 or $119), Vaughan ($86 or $112) and Whitchurch-Stouffville ($77 or $100).
The region’s operating expenses this year are $2.3 billion and its capital expenses are $1.1 billion. The four-year budget sets out anticipated tax increases 2.96 per cent in each of 2020, 2021 and 2022 or 3.96 per cent in each of those years if the additional roads projects allocation receives a stamp of approval.
The regional increase doesn’t include the local municipal or school board portions of your property tax bill. The region’s debt now stands at $2.7 billion, down from a high of $2.9 billion in 2017. Members of council will review the proposed budget at two meetings in February and are expected to ratify the increase on Feb. 28.