The Town of Milton has passed its annual operating budget but it was not a clean, unanimous decision, at least according to member of council.
Council passed a tax increase of 2.86 per cent, based on Milton’s budget increase of 5.63 per cent. According to Regional Coun. Zeeshan Hamid, council was able to reverse cuts to tree plantings, delays in park construction, protect the community fund and saving Saturday transit while continuing to set money aside for infrastructure reserves.
Hamid also touted that Milton still maintains the lowest property taxes in the GTA, only matched by the City of Toronto.For an average single detached home, this would mean an additional $88.21 per year on the tax bill, which translates to roughly $7.35 every month.
But not all of council were in agreement with the increase. Milton Mayor Gord Krantz, Regional Coun. Colin Best and Regional Coun. Rick Malbeouf wanted to see further cuts to bring the local share down from 5.63 per cent to 5 per cent.
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The budget spends $78 million in various capital projects, with increased funding put towards maintenance and rehabilitation of existing road ways. Those capital projects are as follows:
Thompson Road from Britannia to Louis St. Laurent Avenue.
Louis St. Laurent Avenue from Fourth Line to James Snow Parkway.
Fifth Line from Highway 401 to Derry Road.
Bronte Street from Main Street to Steeles Avenue.
Other measures mentioned in the budget include:
A fifth fire station planned for intersection of Regional Road 25 and Louis St. Laurent.
The Sherwood Community Centre, which just passed one year of operation.
A pilot project in 2020 focusing on youth-specific spaces and programming at facilities.
Bringing in the Bowes Neighbourhood Community Park in four years time.
Adding windrow cleaning for all seniors and people of disability who were on a waiting list
“This budget makes important investments in both services and infrastructure in our community,” said Regional Coun. Mike Cluett, who also serves as Budget committee chair.
Coun. Rick DiLorenzo said he was greatly encouraged that they withstood the temptation to dip into reserve funds to continue funding operating costs, and Hamid said the budget maintains Milton’s tax advantage while protecting services.
Council passed the final budget on a vote of 6-3.