October 28, 2005

York Regional Council tables 2006 Business Plan and Budget

Proposed budget takes into account revenue from federal and provincial gas tax
and anticipated growth
NEWMARKET York Regional Council yesterday tabled the 2006 Business Plan and Budget, which for the first time will incorporate the Region's share of federal and provincial gas tax money.  The $1.6 billion budget proposal includes a $537.5 million capital component for roads, water/wastewater infrastructure projects, solid waste management and transit and rapid transit services (YRT/Viva).  It also features $21.6 million in growth and enhancements for residents.
The 2006 Business Plan and Budget, which proposes a 4.6 per cent tax levy, distributes $16.2 million in federal and provincial gas tax money 50 per cent to York Region's capital expenditures and 50 per cent to operating costs.
The Business Plan and Budget represents $1,910 per household with an average assessed value of $374,000.  The 4.6 per cent levy represents a modest increase of $88 per household per year or an extra 24 cents a day.
"Regional staff have been examining several scenarios for gas tax revenue allocation, and have worked diligently over the past numerous months to bring us to this point in the budget process," said York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  "Our goal has been to introduce a budget with a three to five per cent tax levy that takes into account new Regional priorities, including public transit funding, policing and solid waste initiatives, while still providing our Regional taxpayers with the best value for their tax dollar."
Key components of the draft 2006 Business Plan and Budget include:
 Public and Rapid Transit Full-year operation of Viva and increased contractor prices for both YRT and Viva
 Regional Roads Road resurfacing and accelerated road construction
 Solid Waste Management Continued implementation of source separated organics (SSO) program and full-year operation of the new East Gwillimbury Waste Management Centre
 Emergency Medical Services A new EMS vehicle and paramedics
 York Regional Police Continued implementation of the York Regional Police five-year staffing plan
 GTA Pooling Continuing increases in costs for social housing and social assistance across GTA municipalities

"The Region's business plan and budget presents difficult challenges, especially considering new variables staff are faced with, including annualization costs from 2005 growth initiatives such as Viva Rapid Transit and increased GTA pooling costs which now exceed $90 million," added Town of Aurora Mayor Tim Jones, Chair of the Region's Finance and Administration Committee.  "A one per-cent reduction in the tax levy is equivalent to a $5.7 million budget reduction.  I am confident that as we move forward with the budget process, additional tax savings will be found for our residents and businesses."
Following Regional Council, the budget has now been referred to the following Council Standing Committees for review throughout November:
 Transportation & Works; Planning & Economic Development Wednesday, November 2nd
 Finance & Administration; Health & Emergency Medical Services Thursday, November 3rd
 Solid Waste Management; Community Services & Housing Wednesday, November 9th 
 Transit and Rapid Transit Thursday, November 10th  
Following budget reviews by Standing Committees, the Finance and Administration Committee will receive further budget recommendations at its meeting on Thursday, December 1st.
Final 2006 Business Plan and Budget recommendations are scheduled to be considered for approval and adoption by York Regional Council on Thursday, December 15th.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca
Media Contact:   Ken Turriff, Corporate Communications, York Region
- (905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1226
- Corporate Communications after hours pager 905-830-3302
- Email: ken.turriff@york.ca

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