As the second largest-growing city in Canada, Brampton requires the right investments in order to meet the rising needs of a surging community.
The newly released 2019-2021 proposed budget aims to discuss some of those investments, and give the public and community some general insight.
“Getting our service mix and quality levels right is a considerable achievement for the City and translates into a 2019 budget that includes significant increases in revenues and decreases in the cost of delivering existing services,” said Treasurer David Sutton. “We are proud to be doing more with less.”
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Transit is, of course, a major part of proposed budget.
There are plans to increase transit fleet by 16 per cent over three years, which will add 46 conventional buses alongside 25 Zum buses.
“Consider Transit, a remarkable growth story in the country, with ridership growing at 18% and 14% in 2017 and 2018 respectively, in comparison to the national average of 1.5%,” said Acting Chief Administrator Joe Pittari.
Support for transit improvement comes from all three levels of government, with the federal and provincial governments providing $11.8 billion to be allocated for public transit improvement, from a 10-year, $22 billion deal called the Integrated Bilateral Agreement.
Another plan in the works is a one per cent Transit Dedicated Levy, which is equivalent to $23 on the average annual tax bill. This will attempt to provide a dedicated, stable source of funding for future Transit growth needs.
Bramptonians are being told not to worry, as the city suggests that even with proposed Transit Levy, the net budget increase of 0.8% on the City’s portion is the lowest in almost 20 years, and will end up providing a dedicated, stable source of funding for future Transit needs.
Changes to several recreation centres are also planned, with revitalizations coming to Chris Gibson, Howden, Balmoral Recreation Centres, as well as upgrades to Chinguacousy Wellness Centre.
Riverstone Golf Club is also planned to be converted entirely into a 34,000-square-foot Community Centre.
An investment of $3.3 million is also proposed, for improved Fire Services, key Economic Development opportunities and increased support for the Arts and Community Recognized Events.
For instance, a new fire station in North-West Brampton is planned for construction, while updating fire apparatus’ and equipment for more reliable response force is also in the works.
To incentivize economic sectors identified by the city’s Economic Development Master Plan, a New Marketing and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Program and Community Improvement Program are also in development.
In addition, the city is also working towards establishing a Centre for Innovation and Connected Learning, as well as an Environmental Assessment and Urban Design Master Plan of Riverwalk as part of a Transit Masterplan which is required to accommodate the rising growth.
Taxpayers should take note of the combined property tax increase on their tax bill, which will be 1.4 per cent in 2019. This includes tax increases by the City (0.3%), Region of Peel (1.1%) and the School Boards (0%).
The City of Brampton says they welcome all input and feedback. Everyone is encouraged to submit comments on a feedback form or call Service Brampton at 311.
What are your thoughts on the proposed budget, Brampton?