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Oakville budget proposes 1.7 per cent tax increase, but new initiatives still on the table

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Oakville budget proposes 1.7 per cent tax increase, but new initiatives still on the table

The average ratepayer in Oakville will be faced with almost a $100 tax increase next year based on initial budget reports.

Early estimates show that an average home assessed at $800,000 would have to pay an additional $96.24 in taxes in 2021 compared to the previous year.

Broken down, the budget prepared by Oakville staff suggests a 2.31 per cent increase to the town’s portion of the tax bill, for an overall property tax increase of 1.7 per cent when combined with the estimated regional and educational tax levies. The proposed increase would see residential property taxes increase by $12.03 per $100,000 of assessment.

“The proposed 2021 Budget represents our town’s roadmap toward an inclusive and fiscally responsible recovery from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “The draft budget responds to Oakville’s many needs during the pandemic and uses our strong fiscal base to help see us through these times. It has been a difficult year for everyone in our community, but we have worked together as an organization to identify solutions with the best interest of our residents in mind.”

The budget report takes into consideration how the pandemic may continue to adversely affect operations. Lost revenues are projected to be around $17 million, particularly in the area of transit, recreation, parking and rentals.

To help mitigate loses, the budget proposes a reduction in spending of about $10 million. The Town says budget reductions are a temporary move in light of the service delivery constraints expected. In addition, in order to meet council’s direction to keep the overall tax increase in line with inflation, a transfer from the Tax Stabilization reserve of $3.4 million will be used.

Overall, the proposal recommends a $348.3 million operating budget that will continue to support the delivery 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.

But the draft 2021 budget isn’t just about austerity. It includes full year funding for the operation of the Oakville Trafalgar Community Centre, Fire Station #8 near Dundas St. and Bronte Rd, opening of various new parks, parkettes and trails, as well as new software enhancements related to online services.

Oakville’s budget committee also received the draft 2021 capital budget, which sees $81.1 million of spending to support several initiatives.

Some of the capital projects for 2021 include:

• Green Fleet initiatives, including 11 new electric buses and electric charging stations community wide – $14.4 million
• Various storm water and erosion control improvements — $9.5 million
• Road and bridge rehabilitation — $8.9 million
• Active Transportation: Crosstown Trail, Lakeshore Road Multi-use Trail and others — $6.8 million
• New neighbourhood parks, parkettes and trails in North Oakville – $4.6 million
• Various online and digital solutions to improve customer satisfaction — $1.6 million

The final recommended budget will go forward to Council for approval on December 21.

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