February 17, 2005

York Regional Council approves 2005 Business Plan and Budget

$1.5 billion budget keeps pace with Region’s growth, enhances services

NEWMARKET – York Regional Council today approved its $1.5 billion 2005 Business Plan and Budget which includes numerous service enhancements for York Region residents.  With a $577 million capital budget component, taxpayers will benefit from improved community policing, transit, ambulatory, roads and solid waste management services.
“This budget ensures that our residents will continue to receive high quality and enhanced services both today and in the future,” said York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “This has been one of the most challenging budgets in recent memory and both Regional Councillors and staff are to be commended for their extraordinary efforts to bring it about.”
The 2005 Business Plan and Budget includes a tax levy of 5.3 per cent.  With an average assessed residential property valued at $336,422, the tax levy translates into an additional cost of $85 to homeowners and represents less than 23 cents a day per household.  The total Regional tax amount per average residential property for 2005 is $1,719.
“The final 2005 Business Plan and Budget demonstrates that Regional Council and staff mean business when it comes to ensuring value for every tax dollar spent,” added Town of Aurora Mayor Tim Jones, Finance and Administration Committee Vice-Chair.  “As a result, York Region’s residents enjoy some of the best services in Ontario, including policing, public works and public transit.”
The budget has been re-worked significantly by Regional Council members and staff since the first draft was presented to Council in December 2004.  Council reviewed the draft again at a workshop on January 27th, where the proposed tax levy had been reduced from 8.9 per cent to 6.1 per cent. 
Today’s final budget represents a 3.6 per cent decrease from original budget estimates.
“York Region staff have done a tremendous job and have gone the distance to help deliver this budget,” said York Region Chief Administrative Officer Michael Garrett.  “With budget approval, Regional staff now have the financial tools available to move ahead with the business of the Region.”
Services to receive new net dollars in the budget include:
• York Regional Police Services: more than $12 million ($151 million budget total) that includes 67 new police officers and 35 civilian support staff
• Viva Rapid Transit: more than $11 million ($14 million budget total) that includes a new rapid transit bus service to commence September 2005
• York Region Transit (YRT): more than $7 million ($44 million budget total) that includes the replacement of 17 conventional busses and the purchase of 11 additional conventional buses, the addition of four new terminals and 20 new bus shelters
• Roads Transportation: more than $3 million ($54 million budget total) that includes over 90 kilometres of additional lane construction, approximately 60 kilometres of lane resurfacing, improvements to 12 bridges and 29 intersections
• Solid Waste Management: more than $1.6 million ($18 million budget total) that includes the opening of a new Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and a roll-out of Source Separated Organics (SSO) program
Other highlights of the 2005 budget include:
• Directly controlled programs:
o $13 million for Health Services that includes education programs and flu vaccinations
o $22 million for Emergency Medical Services that includes one new ambulance and six additional paramedics, five replacement ambulances and two new and three replacement paramedic response stations
o $12 million for Childcare that includes $700,000 for 236 new childcare spaces
o $20 million for Social Assistance
o $31 million for Social Housing
• Special purpose bodies:
o $86.7 million in GTA pooling costs collected
o $11.7 million in Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) costs
o $7.3 million in continued hospital capital funding
o $6 million in funding to conservation authorities
o $2.7 million in funding to GO Transit
Media Contact:   Patrick Casey, Director, Corporate Communications, York Region
- 905 830-4444, Ext. 1235 or Cell 905 715-8211
- Email: patrick.casey@york.ca

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