The Carr Report - March 2009

Call for a regional tax freeze for 2010 – have your say

Welcome to the first issue of The Carr Report. I hope you enjoy reading this new quarterly online newsletter which is designed to update you on Regional issues that affect our community.

Perhaps there is no greater issue affecting our community, and the world, than the current financial crisis and the resulting recession in the Canadian economy. There is no question we are living in a period of financial turmoil, the likes of which has not been seen in decades.

In its budget for 2009, Regional Council and staff at Halton Region worked hard to deliver solutions that addressed the anticipated impacts of the current economic conditions like the increased demand for key social and public health services.

Unanimously approved by Council on Wednesday, December 17, 2008, the 2009 budget balanced the needs of the community with fiscal responsibility, raising Regional property taxes by 1.7 per cent.

I am proud to say that over the past three years, Halton Region has consistently had one of the lowest tax increases for Regional programs and services in the Province of Ontario. From 2007-2009, the combined average tax increase is less than one per cent. This three-year average is one of the lowest tax increases in the entire Province of Ontario.

Maintaining Halton’s level of services and breadth of programs while alleviating the burden from the shoulders of our taxpayers continues to be one of Council’s main priorities, as demonstrated in 2007 when the budget had a property tax increase of 0.9 per cent and again in 2008 when the budget had a property tax reduction of 0.6 per cent for Regional programs and services.

Keeping this focus top of mind, I have recently tabled a “Notice of Motion” for the first Council meeting in April which asks staff to bring forward a plan to achieve a tax freeze in 2010.

With recovery from the recession not anticipated until 2010, it must be acknowledged that taxpayers in Halton are facing significant financial pressure and, in this new economic reality, I believe we need to take appropriate action.

The Notice of Motion will ask Halton’s CAO and staff to report back to Council at the end of April with details of the appropriate measures required to implement a tax freeze for the 2010 Regional tax budget. Preparing the budget directions well in advance, will allow us to prepare and plan for the tough fiscal year ahead and ultimately bring forward a budget that will ensure financial relief for your families in a time when it is needed most.

What do you think about this direction for 2010?
I would like to hear from you. Please send me an email at gary.carr@halton.ca.

Get full details of the 2009 budget.

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