Halton has a good reputation as a well-managed region. And the latest $421.3 million budget should reflect good budgeting and planning. The new 2019 budget adds $13.1 million for various programs and services, and is accompanied by a property tax increase of 1.9%.
Despite these additional taxes, Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr reassured that the increase comes in below the rate of inflation, something the region has been committed to for the last 12 years. In 2018 the Ontario CPI showed an increase of 2.3%.
Halton also remains among the middle-of-the-pack in terms of municipal property tax rates in the GTA; below Mississauga, Burlington, Milton, and Toronto.
At the centre of the new budget is a clear focus on improving water and wastewater infrastructure, with over 60% of the new spending being put towards this area. Water and wastewater services themselves also saw a 3.7% price increase for consumers.
The remaining budget increases include allocations for road maintenance, red-light cameras, paramedic services, regional facility maintenance, as well as programs aimed at addressing homelessness, and improving resident health and safety. Also part of the increase are improvements to waste management infrastructure in response to the growing market for organics; and a joint regional program supporting the containment of the Emerald Ash Borer.
It is great to see that Halton Region is being managed well. Our regional body’s success is part of the reason why Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Halton Hills continue to be regarded as great places to live.