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Georgina council approves 2024 budget, with 5.51% tax hike

Estimated property tax increase for average home will be $140

Georgina council has approved a 2024 budget, which includes a 3.51 per cent increase for operating expenditures and two per cent increase for an infrastructure levy for a total tax levy increase of 5.51 per cent.

The annual infrastructure levy for capital reserves is necessary to ensure the town can continue to invest in the capital infrastructure that residents rely upon, according to town news release. The increase translates into an estimated property tax increase of $140 for an average home with an assessed value of $448,000.

“The 2024 budget represents a continued strategic investment in Georgina. It is a plan for the future that focuses on balancing what is needed now and for years to come,” said Mayor Margaret Quirk.

One of the largest projects in the town’s history, the Multi-use Recreation Complex, will open in 2024 and there is no tax increase in this budget for the operation of the facility, Quirk said.

"I want to thank my council colleagues, our town’s senior leadership team and staff for their hard work on this budget. We remain committed to improving the quality of life for our community and building a strong future for everyone,” she said.

This marked the first time Georgina’s budgets were presented under strong mayor powers. In accordance with the Municipal Act, Quirk provided the budget to council, the town clerk and public on Nov. 7. The budget was deliberated on Dec. 5 and approved after council passed a resolution to end the 30-day period for council amendments, and the mayor signed a decision to end the 10-day mayor’s veto period.

“Despite being given strong mayor powers, the budget process has always been a collaborative effort with input from all members of council as we focus on the priorities for the entire community. Our goal is to make investments that maintain economic sustainability while minimizing the tax burden on residents and businesses," Quirk said.

The budget, which includes an operating budget and capital investments, builds on the priorities identified in the new 2023-2027 strategic plan, the town stated. 

Highlights of the 2024 budget:

  • $4.5 million on road repairs and reconstruction under the pavement management strategy — funded by grants
  • $1.6 million for building condition assessment program (facility improvements) — funded by the facilities, repair and replacement reserve
  • $1.5 million for vehicle and equipment replacement strategy — funded by discretionary reserve
  • $1.4 million for Ainslie Hill Park and trail development — funded by development charges and cash-in-lieu parkland reserve
  • $1.2 million for water service connections — funded from the water infrastructure repair and replacement reserve
  • $775,000 for parks repair and remediation program, this includes tennis and pickleball court resurfacing, Holmes Point washroom improvements, and playground replacement at Highcastle Park and West Park — funded by grants and discretionary reserves
  • $250,000 for a climate change action plan — funded by discretionary reserve
  • $225,000 for a health-care strategy and action plan — funded by discretionary reserve
  • $120,000 for Lake Drive improvements Phase 1 — funded by discretionary reserve.

Council also approved the 2024 water and wastewater budget, which will see an increase of 8.9 per cent. This budget is funded by the water users and is not funded by the property tax levy.

“Throughout the year, staff closely monitored the budget-to-actual spending to ensure the municipality is on track to sustain current levels of service and respond to the budgetary pressures associated with continued growth and prosperity,” said deputy CAO and treasurer Rob Wheater in the news release.

“Staff worked to reduce costs wherever possible to deliver the most efficient and effective services to residents and businesses. Within the recommended tax rate increase, the town has the fundamental building blocks of a well-considered balanced budget that encompasses all the key goals and priorities.”

The town promoted several opportunities to encourage public engagement and received resident input into the 2024 budget from a survey and dedicated email.

The total 2024 blended property tax levy increase for all levels of government is estimated to be 4.14 per cent. The final blended increase will be determined following the tax rate setting by York Region and the Ministry of Education for their portion of the property tax bill.

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