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What's Coming up at Council: Newmarket considers biggest tax hike in a decade

Inflation blamed for the preliminary town property tax increase of nearly 8 per cent, which would add $174 to property tax bills on average
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Newmarket’s 2023 budget talks will start at what could be the highest tax increase in years at 7.67 per cent.

Staff will make its initial budget presentation to council Jan. 27, with the proposed increase starting there.

Council will also consider automated speed enforcement and starting a process to reuse the town’s former fire hall. 

Here is what NewmarketToday will be following:

Tax increase 

Newmarket is considering its biggest tax increase in more than a decade.

Staff pinned inflation as a major reason for the initially proposed figure of the 7.67 per cent increase, which add $174 annually to the local portion of an average Newmarket property tax bill.

The budget presentation notes the construction price index ballooned by 30 per cent in 2021 and 2022, along with consumer inflation at six per cent in 2022. The budget presentation said that inflation has far outstripped the base tax increases in 2021 and 2022.

“Although the 2023 preliminary draft budget is a status-quo budget in maintaining the existing extraordinary service levels, the budget pressures being faced in the 2023 budget have never been higher,” a staff report said. “These inflationary increases have significant financial implications to both the operating and capital budgets.”

Staff indicated the number comes after some refinement and additional revenue opportunities, reduced from a 13 per cent increase. 

Council still has to review the budget and will have the opportunity to make changes. Deliberations and public engagement is scheduled to take place from now into March, with final approval in April.

During the 2022 budget process, Newmarket staff initially suggested a 2.99 per cent tax rate increase, before a council resolution asked for a target 1.99 per cent increase. The budget was ultimately passed with a 1.99 per cent increase.

Automated speed enforcement

Local drivers could soon have to be wary of more cameras catching them speeding and fining them accordingly.

Council will consider the adoption of an automated speed enforcement program. The program would use technology to confirm the registered owners of speeding vehicles on camera, with tickets sent to them. 

Staff said the programs have resulted in an average 30 per cent speed reduction where implemented. The program has been piloted in York Region, including around Newmarket High School on Mulock Drive, which saw a 12 km/h reduction. 

Council will be asked whether to develop a program as part of Toronto’s joint processing centre or create a town-specific processing centre.

Operations centre reuse

Newmarket is starting a process to find a new use for its old operations centre at 623-625 Timothy St.

Now that it has been vacated by Central York Fire Services, the town is planning a request for proposals for a firm to figure out the best new use for the old facility. 

The process would be done in phases, to determine the best use for the new facility and then develop a business plan around it. Although the staff report does not presuppose an exact use, it does say the project will identify its potential of it as an “arts focal point within Newmarket.”

The town will also seek to have minimal contribution to redevelopment costs and no impact to its operating budgets. Instead, it will look to provide a flexible or possible zero-dollar lease to the successful proponent.

The two committees of the whole meetings will be streamed at, with the budget presentation at 9 a.m. and the other matters to be addressed at the regular committee meeting at 1 p.m. You can also attend in person at 395 Mulock Dr. A deputation can be arranged or a letter sent by email to [email protected].

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Joseph Quigley

About the Author: Joseph Quigley

Joseph is the municipal reporter for NewmarketToday.
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