By Gisele Shaw
Friday, November 18, 2016 8:00 am ·  0 Comments
On November 15, 2016, town staff presented Oakville’s proposed 2017 operating and capital budgets to the Budget Committee, achieving Council’s direction to keep the total property tax increase in line with inflation. Town staff recommended a 2.8 per cent increase to the town’s portion of the tax bill for an overall property tax increase of 1.83 per cent when combined with the estimated regional and educational tax levy. The proposed increase would see residential property taxes increase by $15.14 per $100,000 of assessment meaning that the owner of a home assessed at $700,000 would pay an additional $105.98 per year or $2.04 per week.
“The draft budget is consistent with Council’s commitment to keep property taxes in line with inflation,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “It provides the funds necessary to enhance the town’s infrastructure and deliver the high-quality services our residents expect, while keeping our financial future strong, stable and healthy.”
In the town’s Draft 2017 Operating Budget, staff is recommending a $308.5 million operating budget to provide a wide range of programs and services including maintenance of roads and community facilities, fire services, transit, parks and trails, recreation and culture, senior services, libraries, and a host of other important services.
Some program enhancements recommended for 2017 include improvements to by-law enforcement, traffic calming measures, and implementation of changes to the private tree by-law to strengthen tree protection.
The Budget Committee reviewed the town’s Draft 2017 Capital Budget which sees $122.8 million of funding in 2017 and just over $1 billion for capital requirements over a 10-year period with a focus on transportation, infrastructure renewal and other elements related to growth. Significant capital projects for 2017 include redevelopment of the Oakville Arena and Trafalgar Park community centre, demolition of the former Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital in preparation for the new Southeast Oakville community centre, reconstruction of the bridge at Lakeshore Road at Sixteen Mile Creek, road resurfacing projects across Oakville, and Phase 2 of the LED Streetlight Conversion Project.
In addition, every year as part of the annual budget process, the Budget Committee reviews the town’s rates and fees charged for programs and services offered to the community as well as the estimated costs of administering and enforcing the Building Code Act and the Planning Act. These programs and services include transit fares and fees for recreational and cultural programs. The majority of the proposed changes to the 2017 Rates and Fees are in line with inflation.
“Council continues to work to build fiscally responsible budgets that make strategic investments in our community, while maintaining services for our residents. Our decisions will be made in the context of keeping overall tax increases in line with inflation,” Budget Committee Chair Tom Adams said. “The Budget Committee will be reviewing the budget over the next few weeks before making a recommendation for Council consideration on December 12, 2016. I encourage residents to get involved by providing feedback to us on the proposed budget during our open and public process.”
Councillor Adams also noted some residents have raised concerns that the rising value in their home’s assessment may increase their property taxes. Adams explained that taxes don’t automatically go up just because the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) property assessment went up.
“The town does not collect any additional property tax revenue as a result of assessment increases,” Adams said. “Overall tax rates are reduced to compensate for the increased assessment values. Oakville saw a 30 per cent average assessment increase. If your assessment increase was below 30 per cent, you will get a reduction in property taxes due to the assessment change. If your assessment change was over 30 per cent, you will see an increase due to the change in property assessment phased in over four years.”
Customized key performance indicators now available
To coincide with the 2017 Budget process, the town is also launching a new, customized Livable Oakville Performance Dashboard which features 29 unique measures in eight categories: good government, environmental leadership, economic growth, fiscal sustainability, outstanding service, community well-being, getting around and public safety.
The town’s key performance indicators (KPIs) were first created in 2008 as part of program-based, performance-based budgeting (PB2), with results reported to Council on a yearly basis. The new dashboard takes key KPIs and translates them into an interactive and visual format, giving residents an easy-to-access snapshot of the town’s progress towards achieving our vision to be the most livable town in Canada.
“Measuring outcomes and monitoring progress is key to achieving Council’s strategic goals,” Mayor Burton said. “By making it easier to measure Council’s successes we are working to strengthen our commitment to accountability and transparency.”
Budget process ongoing
The final recommended budget will go forward to Council for approval on December 12, 2016. The public is encouraged to get involved through the following opportunities:
Budget Open Houses
Saturday, November 19, 3026 at Glen Abbey Community Centre from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Monday, November 21, 2016 at Central Library from 7 to 8 p.m.
Budget Committee and Council Meetings
All meetings take place in Council Chamber at Town Hall, located at 1225 Trafalgar Road. Residents can also watch meetings via live stream on the town’s YouTube channel.
Visit the 2017 Budget page for more information.