This coming Monday December 10th Milton Town council will be debating the proposed budget for 2013. This budget is a result of a number of budget call reports, meetings with staff and councillors and of course you the public. You will remember earlier this year I held my Budget Input Sessions at Milton Sports Centre to gauge your opinions on what the towns priorities should be.
To summarize those discussions, phone calls and emails I found:
- spending on parks maintenance especially during the spring/summer time,
- weed removal if possible,
- prioritize transit spending (ie is it growing too fast)
- maintain goal of increases around the rate of inflation
Of course when you look at the report it shows that the projection is for a 4.1% increase in spending but there are some items that staff proposed to be removed as well as individual councillors going through the budget line by line.
I am hopeful that this council can work through these items to come up with a lower increase for the town portion of your tax bill. This does not include the Halton Region portion that, including Police Services, will be roughly 1% increase and the education tax bill.
The last two budgets came in over the rate of inflation and I could not support either one of them. There are a lot of financial challenges we face in this year and in coming years at both the town level and the Region of Halton. Business growth needs to be a focus of both levels of government. What can we do to get more companies to move to Milton, so that we as Miltonians can have an opportunity to both live and work in town. Right now those opportunities arent there.
This is why projects like the Milton Education Village are critical to that job growth. We have challenges due to regional development charges being appealed which further puts behind much needed projects like MEV and the Derry Green Corporate Business Park (401/James Snow Parkway area)
The Boyne survey which is slated to bring in a reported 50,000 more people to town (I feel its going to be much higher and we need to raise the expectations from a planning point of view so that area isnt underserviced when its built) and the need for infrastructure is imperative. Thankfully the Region of Halton has made a number of road projects priorities for Milton and hopefully we can get them started.
Steeles needs to be completed at James Snow Parkway as its a major route for large truck traffic coming into and leaving Milton as well as the completing of extending James Snow Parkway to Hwy 25. Once that is completed in early 2013, you will be able to see a reduction in the amount of truck traffic on our regional and town roads.
I could spend forever outlining projects that need to get the green light from both the regional and provincial level. In order to get the MEV going, the provincial government needs to step forward and say the magic words….GO. Laurier University is ready to start this project and is committed, along with Sheridan College, to build a state of the art educational facility that can be self sustaining as well as an area for businesses to start, grow and prosper to create jobs for this area. The more businesses we have in town, the lesser the impact on the residential tax base at this time of year.
Target will be opening soon, bringing forth lots of job opportunities and dare I say, much needed revenue for the town. Its a great start and thank you to Target for making Milton your new home. You’ll be hearing more about the opening soon and I know that the Town of Milton is very excited to get things started. But its only a first step.
We have to continue to be an affordable place to live and to do business. Thats why keeping our taxes as low as possible, while providing the much needed services for residents is vital to our success. If property taxes and red tape get out of hand, you can say goodbye to these opportunities.
Needless to say between now and Monday night some councillors heads will be buried in the budget reports, emails from residents, meeting notes with staff. As always I am available by phone, email or in person if you’d like to discuss more in detail.
Until then, here is an article on the 2013 budget from Julia Le at the Milton Canadian Champion
Town taxes could rise a little over four per cent
Milton residents could see a 4.1 per cent tax hike on the municipal portion of their property tax bill next year.
According to the proposed 2013 capital and operating budget and related staff-prepared reports that were handed out to councillors at last week’s council meeting, the average Milton rural resident and urban resident could pay an extra $12.21 and $13.16 per $100,000 of assessment on 2013 property taxes respectively or $42.74 and $46.06 on a home worth $350,000.
Councillors are currently reviewing capital and operating budget documents, which represent a combined investment of $160 million in the community, in preparation for budget committee meetings this Monday and Tuesday. The budget will go before council for final approval December 17.
The reports show a number of different tax hike scenarios from a 1 per cent increase to a 5 per cent increase.
The capital budget projects a $65 million investment in about 100 projects related to new infrastructure and the rehabilitation of existing assets like facilities, roads, bridges, parks and equipment.
Nearly two-thirds of that budget, about $41.7 million, would focus on the development and redevelopment of roads and traffic infrastructure. This includes projects like the continuation of the Main Street grade separation near Ontario Street, the construction of the CN crossing on Louis St. Laurent Avenue between Tremaine Road and Bronte Street and the asphalt overlay and surface treatment on various roads to prevent deterioration of the roadway and protect against major reconstruction.
The projects would be funded by development charges, reserves and reserve funds, GTA pooling funds (which end next year), debentures, the general tax levy and other funding sources.
The operating budget, which looks after the delivery of services required to meet the needs arising from growth in the community and to support the quality of life that residents expect, is projected at around $95 million. It’s divided among the departments at the Town, with engineering services, community services and planning and fire departments providing the most direct services to the community.
The operating budget would allot $22.9 million (25.4 per cent) to engineering services, $16.8 million (18.6 per cent) to community services, and $7.8 million (8.6 per cent) to fire services.
The Town’s portion of the property tax bill is 30 per cent. When combined with regional and educational components of residential taxes, accounting for 43 per cent and 27 per cent respectively, Miltonians could see an overall tax increase of 1.59 per cent in the urban area and 1.54 per cent in the rural area on their 2013 property tax bill.
Residents can view the proposed budget by visiting www.milton.ca/en/townhall/budgets.asp.