Town of Milton 2013 Budget Proposed at 4.1% Increase

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.

Region of Halton Budget Available ONLINE

I thought I had posted the link before but apparently I did everything but in one of my last posts.

You can find the Region of Halton budget for 2013 online at www.halton.ca/budget

Its a large document with 570 pages to read through so as many have said to me, if you have a problem sleeping…open this up. 🙂

This budget, like most is very important to the future of the region of Halton and it contains funding for a number of initiatives such as the new 3 bag limit and blue box program, enhancements to the waste water management systems and spending for affordable housing.  Overall the budget comes in line with a 0 % increase, not including spending on the police etc.

The Town of Milton Budget wont be made available until around November 26th which gives us a grand total of 14 days to review it, get feedback from the public and discuss it (Monday December 10th at 7pm…11th also if necessary.)  I am working on getting some information if its available before then to post here online to get your feedback.

If you have any questions about the budget or anything contained in the document, please feel free to email me mike@mikecluett.ca and I can answer them for you.  Regional Councillor Colin Best is having a budget meeting on November 27th at the Milton Sports Centre at 7pm Room #4 so send me an email if you can make it.

Budget Time Is Coming

Its that time of year again.

No, not Halloween…thats over.  Not Christmas time either.  Its 2013 BUDGET TIME.

Now these words normally spread fear in the hearts and minds (and therefore changes the sleeping patterns) of elected officials but its a very important time of the year.  If youve been reading the local papers, other Halton area municipalities are beginning their budget discussions.  Just today, there was an overview of the Halton 2013 budget presented to regional council and should be made available online today www.halton.ca/budget for public view.

The Town of Milton budget will be available a little later this month on November 26th…unless they get it ready sooner.  Id much prefer to have it available earlier as to give members of council and the public time to go over some of the major projects underway.  The town does have budget call reports throughout the year as Ive posted on my blog many times and this is the final budget to be reviewed before the meeting on December 10th and 11th.

As I outlined on my Twitter feed earlier today from the Regional Council meeting, here are some of the highlights of the 2013 Halton budget overview.

* Long term plan for Halton might be increases at or around rate of inflation. Provincial cutbacks might throw curve ball in future years.

10:17 AM – 14 Nov 12

* Clr Meed Ward asking what can future years increase look like for Halton & sites her experience in Burlington with spiked tax inc’s.

10:16 AM – 14 Nov 12

* Are we preparing for more download from province of services due to their financial condition at the Region of Halton?

10:14 AM – 14 Nov 12

* Reg Clr Meed Ward is concerned about the “party being over” for 0% increases. Inflation right now roughly 1.8% now.

10:08 AM – 14 Nov 12

* Reg Clr Colin Best asks questions re MPAC to ensure speed of new assessments. #MiltonON growth closer to 8% rather than 1.5% region wide.

10:07 AM – 14 Nov 12

* Region of #Halton continues to have a triple A credit rating

10:04 AM – 14 Nov 12

* 66% of $3.9 B in growth related infrastructure all funded by development charges #Halton

10:03 AM – 14 Nov 12

* Timing of project depends on allocation programs in 2013 and beyond. #Halton

10:02 AM – 14 Nov 12

* On the Capital side $3.9 B ten year program for transportation, waste management projects etc…#Halton

9:59 AM – 14 Nov 12

$584K for new waste diversion programs to increase life of the landfill which is “the most important asset of the region of #Halton

9:55 AM – 14 Nov 12

Rate impact for #Halton ends up being zero due to GTA pooling savings.

9:54 AM – 14 Nov 12

* Assessment growth is expected to be 1.5% (new prop)#Halton MPAC assessments have been done. If you’ve incr more than avg taxes might go up.

9:52 AM – 14 Nov 12

* Region of #Halton budget to be put online in packet format to help those who use tablets as well.

9:49 AM – 14 Nov 12

SO needless to say the next few weeks will be busy reading these documents, finding out where money is being spent and getting feedback from the public on both the Region of Halton and Town of Milton budgets.  From time to time here on my blog, I will be posting reports and some feedback I have about the budgets and I hope you take time to read them.

For those of you who are interested, there will be a budget “information session” at the Milton Sports Centre on Wednesday November 28th in Room #4 from 7pm to 9pm for you to be able to ask questions and give us feedback and your thoughts on the Milton and Region of Halton budgets for 2013.  Regional Councillor Colin Best, myself and hopefully some more of our council colleagues will be there.  Send me an email mike@mikecluett.ca if youre interested in attending.