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Published on Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Committee sees 1.75% overall tax rise

Traffic safety, gypsy moth program get big funding in Oakville budget

Committee sees 1.75% overall tax rise
File Photo
Budget Chair Tom Adams, Town and Regional Councillor for Ward 6
By David Lea, Oakville Beaver

Additional funds for pedestrian safety and aerial spraying to combat gypsy moths were among the last-minute items approved by the 2018 Oakville Budget Committee on Tuesday, Dec. 12.

The group completed its deliberations and recommended approval of a 1.75 per cent residential property tax increase.

The recommendation would actually see a 2.58 per cent total increase to the Town of Oakville budget.

However, the 2.58 per cent increase will be reduced to a 1.75 per cent overall hike, once the town’s increase is combined with a proposed 1.9 per cent increase in Halton Region taxes and an expected zero per cent hike in education rates.

The recommended budget increase, which must still be approved by council on Dec. 18, is smaller than the 3.04 per cent rise previously proposed.

Town staff attributed this to larger than anticipated assessment growth.

Some of the items approved by the committee during the Tuesday meeting included $90,000 in funding for the 2018 RBC Canadian Open; $25,000 for the Cultural Grants program; $90,500 for the construction and operation of a bocce ball court at Glenashton Park; $25,000 in funding for five additional radar speed display signs; $204,000 for the Flashing 40 km/h Zone Sign Program; $200,000 in funding for the Pedestrian Safety Program; $40,000 for Oakvillegreen’s Backyard Tree Planting Program; and $205,000 for the gypsy moth aerial spraying program.

“We have gone through a great deal of consultation with the community on the budget process this year. We have heard from community leaders across all of Oakville. We’ve had very good feedback as to where we’re at as a community,” said Ward 6 Coun. and budget chair Tom Adams.

“This motion responds to a number of the issues that we have heard. As a council, we certainly hear about speeding on our local roads a fair bit and this provides our staff with some additional tools to deal with that. It puts the payment toward the Cultural Grants that this council and the cultural community has been looking for for a long time … It provides funding for the art we see, the Canadian Open and it does provide funding for the Oakvillegreen Backyard Tree Planting program.”

The town is currently looking for $189.6 million from the tax levy.

Not every proposal that came forward received approval.

While the committee did not outright reject a request from the Bronte Business Improvement Area (BIA) for around $88,000 to fund its Canada Day festival, it did vote to have town staff work with the BIA to find an approach to Canada Day that is appropriate for 2018.

The committee also voted to provide the BIA with a $15,000 event grant, $25,000 worth of support and $1,500 worth of fee waivers for the Canada Day event.

The proposed $2.2 million council chamber renovation was also a subject of discussion, with Ward 4 town and regional Coun. Allan Elgar reiterating his concerns about the expense.

Town staff said the room needs to be expanded to accommodate the two additional councillors who will come when council grows to 15 members following the 2018 municipal election.

They said the chamber’s information technology (IT) system and heating and cooling systems also need be replaced, and the room needs to be brought up to Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) standards.

Elgar argued much of the council chamber is already accessible and said what is not could be altered for a lot less than $2.2 million.

“I have a huge issue with the amount of money we are allocating, especially since 100 per cent of it is on the taxpayer’s tab,” he said.

“We’re asking for a Cadillac we don’t need.”

Ultimately, the committee decided to have town staff take another look at the design and costing of the council chamber renovation.

Town staff previously proposed a $321.5 million operating budget and a $128 million capital budget.

Some of the main projects for 2018 include:

• $21.1 million to complete the Trafalgar Park/Oakville Arena revitalization project;

• $10.8 million to start construction on the South East Community Centre (as part of the Former Hospital Site Project);

• $9.6 million for the town’s Road Resurfacing and Preservation Program;

• $7.1 million for road maintenance work along Speers Road between the Bronte GO Station and Fourth Line;

• $4.9 million for road maintenance work along Sixth Line between Threshing Mill Road and Dundas Street;

• $4.6 million for Kerr Street widening and grade separation;

• $3.9 million for new dockage for the Bronte Outer Harbour;

• $3.7 million for the Emerald Ash Borer Management Program;

• $2.7 million for replacement buses;

• $2.7 million to purchase land for the new Fire Station No. 9 in the Burnhamthorpe Road and Sixth Line area;

• $2.6 million for a new library branch in North Oakville.

The budget will go before council for final approval on Monday (Dec. 18) at town hall at 7 p.m.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: Property Tax

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