Newmarket residents are facing a 2.96 per cent tax rate increase from York Region, including one per cent for the Yonge subway line extension.
York Region tabled a $3.7 billion 2022 budget Nov. 25, including both capital and operating. The region indicated it is facing pressures from the pandemic, inflation and funding its $1.1 billion contributions to a massive subway extension into Richmond Hill over the next 10 years.
For an average Newmarket household, the increase represents an extra $61 on an annual tax bill, $21 of which is for the subway line.
“While staff have responded to these challenges, they have also remained keenly focused on delivering the strategic priorities,” CAO Bruce Macgregor said. “The result is a 2022 draft budget that delivers on your expectation for the transit and effective delivery of regional programs and services, and also ensures a tax levy that's affordable and reasonable in the current economic climate.”
The region’s expenditures are expanding $96 million compared to last year, with the tax levy increase also higher than last year’s 1.54 per cent. The budget is driven in part by a $1.7 billion increase in the 10-year capital plan to $9.5 billion, and continued pandemic costs projected at $158.7 million in 2022, with less upper-government funding to offset it.
The region said the regular tax levy portion is about one per cent lower than suggested in a multi-year budget through $15 million in efficiency savings and drawing from $57.9 million from a pandemic management reserve fund created in 2020.
On the transit side, the region is planning to gradually use a levy to help fund the $1.1 billion for the Yonge subway extension, representing 20 per cent of the estimated $5.6 billion costs. The region plans to raise $350 million through the special tax levy, increasing again by one per cent in 2023 and 2024, with another $770 million coming from development charges. The final funding split will be determined through a development charges bylaw update in 2022 and provincial negotiations. The region plans to have a special levy in place for 10 years.
“The proposed 2022 budget delivers on the key priorities of the regions’ strategic plan, supports the region's continuous response to COVID-19 while addressing the very real fiscal challenges posed by the pandemic,” commissioner and regional treasurer Jason Li said.
On the capital side, the budget also includes more than $1 billion in road expansion and $716 million in pavement renewal. Another $400 million is allotted to build affordable community housing.
The budget will be discussed further at committee of the whole meetings Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, before getting finalized on Dec. 16.
The document is available through the York Region website.