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Published on Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Town committee preparing 2018 town budget

Council continues CPI-based limit on total tax rise

Town committee preparing 2018 town budget
Oakville committee prepares for 2018 property tax year
— Metroland Media
By Nathan Howes Oakville Beaver

The Town’s first Budget Committee meeting was held Monday, June 26, where the first order of business was to select a councillor to chair the committee.

For the 10th consecutive year, Ward 6 Regional and Town Councillor Tom Adams was chosen.

With Adams once again ensconced in the familiar role, the committee moved on to discuss budget guidelines as well as forecasts for 2019 and 2020.

The committee’s guideline, based on a preliminary forecast, is that the Town look at a property tax hike of 3.41 per cent hike — which when softened by combining it with lesser increases by Halton Region and the local school boards, would impact property taxes with a hike somewhere between 1.8 and 2.34 per cent.

The proposed 2018 hike, Adams’ selection as committee chair and a report on optimizing the Delivery of Town programs and services will go before Town Council Monday, July 10.

“Our key focus for this budget is to meet our goal of keeping overall property tax increases in line with inflation, while building and renewing infrastructure and maintaining high quality services for the community,” said Adams, in a media release

“Public input is a critical piece of our annual budget process and I look forward to engaging with residents over the next few months.”

The Bank of Canada is forecasting general inflation to be in the two per cent range for 2018. Inflation is currently running below this rate, according to the most recent data released by Statistics Canada.

On May 19, the April year-over-year rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 1.6 per cent, so based on current trends, the Town recommended its target for the overall increase be set at 1.8 per cent.

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The figure factors in the Region of Halton’s forecast of a 2.3 per cent increase and zero increases in education tax rates.

While residents pay property taxes to the Town, the money collected is shared between the municipality (Oakville), regional municipality (Halton), and whichever school board, Catholic or public, a property owner elects to support.

The Town’s proposed portion of the tax bill (3.41 per cent) is slightly higher than the increase forecast in the 2017 budget due to the impact the Province’s proposed minimum wage increase would have on wages and revised revenue projections for Oakville Transit.

These impacts would be partially offset by a reduction in benefit premium rates for 2017-18.

To achieve its forecasts, the Town must find $1.9 million in reductions.

Key budget pressures were outlined Monday by Nancy Sully, deputy treasurer and director of Financial Planning, including $1.4 million to implement the increased minimum wage announced recently by the Province and $1.3 million in costs related to growth in the town.

This includes the operation of new transit vehicles, the cost to maintain new parks and roads and costs associated with operating the new Trafalgar Park Community Centre (re-developed Oakville Arena) and a proposed library.

The Town will be looking at transforming the way services are delivered in order to respond to budget pressures in 2019 and 2020 relating to Trafalgar Park and the opening of the Southeast Community Centre, a new fire station in Palermo, as well as other funding needs.

Council has directed staff to keep overall property tax increases in line with inflation in 2019 and 2020.

Over the next two months, staff will be finalizing their budget submissions and reviewing them with the Financial Planning Department with a view to meeting the Budget Committee’s guidelines.

An overview of the recommended budget will be presented to the Budget Committee Nov. 21, with final recommendations (after public consultations) coming back Dec. 12, followed by Council approval Dec. 18.

Meanwhile, the preliminary forecast for 2019 has a proposed Town tax levy increase, before assessment growth, of 6.21 per cent and 3.55 per cent in 2020.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News




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