January 24, 2002

York Council approves 2002 Business Plan and Budget


NEWMARKET York Regional Council today approved its 2002 Business Plan and Budget. The $1.2 billion document includes increased spending for policing and Emergency Medical Services, substantial support for environmental protection and expansion projects at the Region's three hospitals, plus significant new resources for road capital programs and York Region Transit.

The operating budget includes a 2.3 per cent increase in the tax levy to fund Regional operations, including the hiring of new police officers and paramedics, as well as the purchase of new police vehicles and ambulances. In addition, $7.3 million will be directed to hospitals in Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Markham as part of an on-going capital funding program.

The tax impact will be approximately $32 annually per average York Region household.

"With increased responsibilities and new programs initiatives added each year, our job to manage the growth and maturation of the Region of York remains a challenging endeavour," said Bill Fisch, Regional Chair. "This budget addresses the need to provide essential community services at an affordable price."

The 2002 operating budget delivers Regional services at a total gross cost of $1.2 billion, including net expenditures of $426.7 million. The tax levy increase was shaved from a proposed 2.6 per cent following a review of the budget at all Regional Committee meetings earlier this month.

"Our challenges are numerous for 2002. We will be tackling issues ranging from police and health protection and the environment to waste management and affordable housing," said Aurora Mayor Tim Jones, Chair of the Finance Committee. "But the technical expertise we have applied to our budget, combined with leadership and hard work, will help us remain on track."

"This marks the earliest date for approval of our business plan and budget," said Alan Wells, York Region Chief Administrative Officer. "With rapid growth and additional costs, it is necessary to provide a clear financial picture for the months ahead. It is this advanced fiscal planning that helps the Region of York maintain our "AAA" credit rating."

York Region's 2002 contribution to the Ontario Government's social assistance pooling formula will be $84.8 million, the second-largest expenditure in the operating budget next to the $119.3 million for York Regional Police.

Highlights of the 2002 budget include:

An executive summary of the 2002 Business Plan and Budget, plus a synopsis of each major Regional department, is available at the Region of York Web site at www.region.york.on.ca

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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