Frequently Asked Questions 2010 Budget
Recognizing that these are uncertain economic times, the focus of the Town's 2010 budget is to cut spending wherever possible while continuing to plan for the future.
The strategic priorities of this year's budget are as follows;
• Complete existing programmed capital projects and initiatives
• Update infrastructure as affordable
• Maintain core service levels
• Seek savings and efficiencies
• Establish a contingency fund
• Establish a service review process focused on tax funded areas
• Aim for a tax rate of 3.81% with options to reduce to 3%
This year, the Town faces a number of budget challenges while continuing to deal with an unstable economy.
Further significant reduction in revenues
This year, throughout the organization there has been a considerable reduction in the Town's revenue sources. For example, planning fees are down $45,000 since last year's budget and the Town's revenue from interest is down $65,000 since last year's budget. Recreation fees have decreased by $198,000. The total lost revenues of $471,000 is equivalent to a 1.26 per cent tax increase.
Continued economic climate uncertainty
• Lower demands resulting in lower revenues
• Development slowing and transitioning from green fields to intensification
The Town continues to respond to legislative changes both federally and provincially. One example is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) which was passed by Ontario legislature in 2005 with the goal of creating standards to improve accessibility across the province. The goal is to have a fully Accessible Ontario by 2025. Under the Act workplaces must meet accessibility standards and ensure compliance through reporting and enforcement in 5 key areas; Customer Service, Transportation, Information & Communication, Employment and the Built Environment.
Customer Service standards must be in place by January 1, 2010 and municipal workplaces are required to demonstrate they are taking steps to meet compliance by that date. As a result, the Town has undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of its current customer service practices and has developed policies and put in place processes to meet the standards. These include a comprehensive training program for staff, volunteers, contractors and any other person who interacts with the public on the Town's behalf. No funds were provided by the province to assist municipalities with this undertaking.
The Harmonized Sales tax (HST) is scheduled to become effective on July 1, 2010. At this time, the impact on municipal budgets cannot be estimated. It is supposed to be revenue neutral but initial estimates indicate that this may not be the case.
The Town must fund its share of the many infrastructure programs that are helping to stimulate the economy. As well, development will intensify along Davis Drive and Yonge Street with the construction of dedicated VIVA Next rapid ways.
Some examples of Newmarket's growth include;
• Three new parks
• Two kilometres of new trails
• New subdivisions
• Full event and program schedule
The Town of Newmarket's primary funding source is property tax at 50 per cent. User charges account for 39 per cent and the remainder comes from a variety of sources including fines and penalties, contributions from developers, investment income, penalties and interest.
Municipalities do not have access to the levels of revenue sources of other governments such as income tax, lottery, sales and liquor taxes.
For example, a study was completed by the Province of Ontario, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the City of Toronto called the Provincial-Municipal Fiscal and Service Delivery Review. The outcome of this review is a $2.7 billion dollar or 250 per cent increase in support to municipalities by 2018. This additional funding will be directed at the upper-tier (York Region) level of government, rather than the lower-tier (Newmarket).
The total projected tax increase for 2010 is 1.35 per cent or $48.81 based on the assessment of an average Newmarket home ($314,609).
The following chart outlines how the 2010 tax increase is broken down.
Your tax bill is divided between the Region of York (43%), the Town of Newmarket (35%) and the Public and Separate School boards (22% combined).
The Regional portion of your tax bill goes towards services such as: police services, regional planning and growth management, regional roads, transit, water supply and treatment, recycling and solid waste disposal, community development, Emergency Medical Services, public health, social assistance and social housing services.
Municipal services include: fire and emergency services, local water distribution and collection, library services, municipal roads, waste collection, parks construction and maintenance, recreation facilities and programming, tax collection, local community planning, bylaw enforcement, zoning and building inspection, and lottery, taxi and marriage licensing.
The following outlines how much it costs the average household in Newmarket per month for the programs and services provided by the Town.
The 2008 Municipal study released by BMA Consulting Inc. revealed that:
• Newmarket has the lowest per capita municipal tax levy in York Region and was below average compared to 82 municipalities across Ontario
• Newmarket's property taxes are below average in the GTA
• Water and sewer costs per household are $40 below average ($626 for Newmarket compared to the average of $666)
Newmarket's major proposed capital projects for 2010 are as follows:
• Community Urban Space Project (CUSP)
• Old Town Hall revitalization
• New Operations Centre
• Further development of the Dave Kerwin Trail
• Magna Centre parking lot
• Infrastructure replacements and improvements
o Kingdale Road shoulder rehabilitation
o Tapestry Lane Boardwalk
o Road improvements (Denne Ave, Amelia St, Janette St, Jefferson St, Tecumseth St, Hamilton Drive)
• Unprecedented opportunities
• Replenish reserves (e.g. Asset Replacement Fund, capital fund, etc.) and establish contingencies
• Resourcing and people management
o Central York Fire Services - Master Plan considerations
o Managing a changing workforce
o Staffing considerations
o Business continuity planning
• Declining Hydro Dividend
• Facility openings (Community Urban Space Project (CUSP), Old Town Hall)
• HST impact
• Mandatory requirements
The Town will continue to hold regularly scheduled budget meetings. All members of the public are welcome to attend these meetings. There will be opportunity for public input at the end of each meeting.
November 30: Special Committee of the Whole - Public Budget Meeting
Council Chambers (395 Mulock Drive), 7 p.m.
December 7: Committee of the Whole - Budget Report
Council Chambers (395 Mulock Drive), 1:30 p.m.
December 14: Council - Budget approval
Council Chambers (395 Mulock Drive), 7 p.m.