Clarington approves 2023 budget with 4.06 per cent increase

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Published February 14, 2023 at 12:03 pm

Clarington residents will see at 4.06 per cent increase in the municipal portion of their taxes after the 2023 budget was approved Monday.

The tax hike represents about $65 more per year on a house assessed at $400,000.

“Clarington is preparing for a growing community, investing to ensure development occurs in a reasonable timeframe and preparing for the future,” said Mayor Adrian Foster.

Nearly a quarter of the tax levy increase will be used for additional capital funding to close the infrastructure gap and better maintain and replace existing assets, with 0.3 per cent allotted for new debt servicing costs for local recreation facilities.

“I want to thank Council and congratulate staff. A huge amount of work went into this budget,” Foster added. “In this budget, we are enhancing levels of service while keeping the tax increase below the rate of inflation.”

The municipal portion makes up one-third of the property tax bill, with the Region of Durham and education taxes eating up the rest. A one per cent increase to the municipal levy equals approximately $681,742 in additional tax revenue for Clarington.

The municipal budget will support Clarington’s growth with several new positions in Planning and Infrastructure Services to process the influx of development requests, with Foster saying the municipality is taking “steps forward” to create better efficiencies and save tax dollars. “We’ll be able to report on those savings next year.”

The tax levy of $72.4 million funds the operating budget and capital investments made within the community. The municipality’s operating budget includes maintenance of roads, parks, community services, emergency and fire services, programs, and facilities.

The capital investments include new equipment and much-needed repairs for Clarington infrastructure, including trails, bicycle lanes and improvements to the community halls.

Facing rising inflation – the Consumer Price Index in December for Ontario was six per cent – Clarington used the tax rate stabilization reserve, which comes from taxes that were levied in previous years, to lessen the inflationary impact on residents in 2023.

Trevor Pinn, Clarington’s Treasurer, praised staff for creating budgets that provided the levels of service and capital investments that residents needed during the “uncertain economic times” of the pandemic, with the 2022 budget coming in with a tax increase of less than two per cent.

“However, as we exit the COVID pandemic and return to normal operations, the costs of providing those services have escalated, and we are utilizing the reserve funds to mitigate the impact on taxpayers.”

Budget Highlights:

  • $8.3 million to be spent on roads, sidewalks, bicycle lanes and trails, of which $3.4 million will be for rural road resurfacing and $2.9 million is for pavement rehabilitation.
  • $325,000 to protect the Camp 30 cafeteria building.
  • A new Fire rescue vehicle, replacing an aerial Fire truck, a new snow plow, and several other vehicles and pieces of equipment.
  • Design work for a new Operation Centre to meet the needs of a growing community.
  • Park upgrades for Rhonda Park, Solina Park, Argent Park and Elephant Hill Park.
  • Repairs to the pool deck in Diane Hamre Recreation Complex.
  • Installation of electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations at five new locations.
  • Accessibility upgrades for the grounds between the Sarah Jane Williams Centre and Waverly Place.
  • Repairs and improvements to accessibility at various community buildings, including the Municipal Administration Centre, Orono Town Hall, the Newcastle Community Hall, veterans square at the Municipal Administrative Centre, Tyrone Community Hall, Newtonville Hall and more.
  • Climate change initiatives.
  • New staff positions in several departments to support the growing municipality.
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