December 5, 2005

Regional Finance Committee finds additional budget savings and forwards draft 2006 Business Plan and Budget to York Regional Council for approval

 

Committee approves 2.9 per cent tax levy that includes $35.9 million in enhancements

 

NEWMARKET – York Region’s Finance and Administration Committee has decreased a proposed 2006 Regional tax levy by 1.7 per cent – forwarding a residential tax levy of 2.9 per cent to York Regional Council for approval next week on December 15th.

 

The budget increase has been reduced substantially over the past several months, including a 4.6 per cent levy originally proposed to Regional Council on October 27th.  The proposed 2006 Budget contains more than $35.9 million in service enhancements and new programs that will benefit York Region residents and businesses. This amount also includes full-year costs (annualizations) for services that began throughout 2005, including the September launch of Viva Rapid Transit.

 

“This is an extremely responsible budget that keeps the tax levy for Regional residents relatively constant to the current rate of inflation while providing new Regional services and enhancing many of our existing programs,” said York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “Unfortunately, GTA Pooling continues to represent a major budgetary pressure for York Region, and our taxpayers should not be continually saddled with tax increases to pay for another jurisdiction’s services.”

 

The major components of the $1.6 billion 2006 draft budget include the following:

 

“The 2006 draft Business Plan and Budget is one of the most heavily scrutinized documents in recent memory and was closely examined by our standing committees to ensure that budget priorities were being met while minimizing the affects to our taxpayers,” said Town of Aurora Mayor Tim Jones, Chair of the Region's Finance and Administration Committee.  “York Region residents will continue to benefit from increased financial dollars to EMS, public health, policing, improved roads and public transportation.”

 

A 2.9 per cent levy represents a modest increase of $50 per household with an average assessed value of $374,000.  This represents an extra 14 cents a day to a York Region taxpayer.

 

The 1.7 per cent tax levy reduction, representing approximately $10 million in savings, was achieved by the following Committee resolutions:

 

1.      Capping of GTA Pooling costs at three per cent over 2005 payments.  In 2006, York Region will only collect $84.2 million instead of the estimated $90.8 million request from the Ontario Government – representing a 1.2 per cent or $6.6 million tax levy reduction.

 

2.      Changing the allocation of the combined federal-provincial gas tax revenues to direct 70 per cent toward operational expenditures and 30 per cent toward capital expenditures from the previously proposed 50:50 ratio – representing a 0.5 per cent or $2.84 million tax levy reduction.

 

3.      Changing the fuel contingency to five cents a litre from 10 cent a litre – representing a 0.1 per cent or $655,000 tax levy reduction.

 

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For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and the services our Region offers, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca

 

Media Contact:       Ken Turriff, Corporate Communications, York Region

                                 Phone:  (905) 830-4444 / 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1226

                                 Corporate Communications after-hours pager (905) 905-830-3302

                                 Email: ken.turriff@york.ca

 
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