Wed, 18 Nov 2020
Yesterday afternoon, staff presented Oakville’s proposed 2021 operating and capital budgets, as well as the forecasted operating increase for 2022 and 2023, to the Budget Committee, achieving Council's direction to keep the overall property tax increase in line with inflation.
Town staff recommended a budget that results in a 2.31 per cent increase to the town’s portion of the tax bill, for an overall property tax increase of 1.7 per cent when combined with the estimated regional and educational tax levies. The proposed increase would see residential property taxes increase by $12.03 per $100,000 of assessment meaning that the owner of a home assessed at $800,000 would pay an additional $96.24 per year or $1.85 per week.
“The proposed 2021 Budget represents our town’s roadmap toward an inclusive and fiscally responsible recovery from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “The draft budget responds to Oakville’s many needs during the pandemic and uses our strong fiscal base to help see us through these times. I want to thank staff for all of the hard work and dedication that has gone into developing this draft budget. It has been a difficult year for everyone in our community, but we have worked together as an organization to identify solutions with the best interest of our residents in mind.”
Staff provided an update on the 2021 Operating and Capital budgets, and based on assumptions of how the COVID-19 pandemic may continue to affect operations, staff project that the impact on program budgets is in the range of $17 million, particularly in Transit, Recreation, Parking and Sportfield rental revenues.
To help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, staff has recommended one-time budget reductions of approximately $10 million. The budget reductions are a temporary move in light of the service delivery constraints expected in 2021 as a result of the ongoing pandemic. In addition, in order to meet council’s direction to keep the overall tax increase in line with inflation, a transfer from the Tax Stabilization reserve of $3.4 million has been used.
In the town’s Draft 2021 Operating Budget, staff is recommending a $348.3 million operating budget that will support the delivery of a wide range of programs and services including maintenance of roads and community facilities, fire services, transit, parks and trails, recreation and culture, senior services, libraries, and a host of other important services.
The draft 2021 Budget includes full year funding for the operation of the Oakville Trafalgar Community Centre, Fire Station #8 near Dundas Street and Bronte Road, opening of various new parks, parkettes and trails, as well as new software enhancements related to on-line services.
The Budget Committee also received the Draft 2021 Capital Budget, which sees $81.1 million of funding to support infrastructure renewal, growth, strategic priorities, and enterprise initiatives. In addition, as noted in the July budget report (item 1), approximately $71 million in capital projects were deferred in 2020. These projects were the starting point for the 2021 Capital Budget submissions and staff was directed to consider highest priority needs, staff capacity to manage and complete the projects in a timely fashion and potential opportunities to reduce funding in areas where significant progress has been made in achieving desired service levels within the capital program. Some of the capital projects for 2021 include:
The annual budget process also includes the Budget Committee’s review of the town’s rates and fees for programs and services offered to the community (such as transit fares and recreation and culture program fees), and the estimated costs of administering and enforcing the Building Code Act and the Planning Act. The majority of the proposed changes to the 2021 Rates and Fees are in line with inflation as directed by Council in July (item 1).
“Town staff have been working to create a fiscally responsible budget that is in line with Council’s direction to keep the overall property tax increase in line with inflation all while responding to the incredible impacts the pandemic has had on our community and municipal operations,” said Ward 6 Councillor and Budget Committee Chair Tom Adams. “Over the next few weeks, the Budget Committee will be reviewing the budget before making a final recommendation to Council. Public input is a critical part of our process and I look forward to continuing to engage with residents over the next few weeks.”
The final recommended budget will go forward to Council for approval on December 21, 2020. Until then, the public is encouraged to get involved through the following opportunities:
All Budget Committee and Council meetings are broadcasted on the town’s YouTube channel.
Visit the 2021 Budget page for more information.