Council has approved the 2023 budget, which reflects a rise in costs and a responsible approach to managing those increases while focusing resources to continue to build a strong community. The budget includes a 4.89 per cent operating tax increase. There is also an additional two per cent infrastructure tax levy, for a total increase of 6.89 per cent. The two per cent infrastructure investment to capital reserves is to ensure the Town can continue to reduce the infrastructure funding gap and deliver on the capital projects in the 10-year capital plan. The increase translates into an estimated property tax increase of $163.88 for an average home (not waterfront) with an assessed value of $448,115.
“Georgina’s changing environment continues to present many budgetary and financial challenges,” said Mayor Margaret Quirk. “We know inflation has taken a toll on our residents and businesses. Prices have gone up for everything and we understand how hard it is to manage those costs. The Town’s budget also reflects a rise in costs and a responsible approach to managing those increases. It is never easy to raise taxes but the impact of high inflation will be felt for the foreseeable future. This budget was developed with a clear focus on improving service delivery, managing growth, and delivering services more effectively and efficiently. Our infrastructure is aging and we recognize the need for repairs and improvements, and that is why Council also approved a two per cent infrastructure levy. I want to thank Council, Town staff and our residents for their contributions to our budget process.”
Council deferred approval of the replacement Civic Centre with an updated budget of $50 million. It will come back to Council on March 1. The increase in costs directly relates to the escalations in construction costs over the past three years due to labour and material shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as other broader economic conditions. Council did approve creating a new replacement Civic Centre reserve and associated financial plan to fund the project.
Highlights from the budget include:
- $4 million on pavement management
- $2.5 million on the Emerald Ash Borer Tree Removal Program
- $1.2 million towards the Building Condition Assessment (BCA) program
- $500,000 for a development tracking solution to meet the requirements of all land development applications, approvals, permitting and inspections
- $400,000 for streetscape redevelopment on High Street
- $150,000 for playground replacements
- Funds were also approved for school zone safety upgrades, picnic table replacement and park improvements
- Several community organizations received funding including the Georgina Food Pantry, the Georgina Chamber of Commerce, the Georgina Centre for Arts and Culture, the Military Museum and Routes Transportation
Council also approved the 2023 water and wastewater budget, which will see an increase of 5.84 per cent. The water and wastewater budget is funded by the water users and is not funded by the property tax levy.
“Georgina’s financial strategies continue to evolve in order to address the most recent economic instabilities and legislative changes,” said Deputy CAO and Treasurer, Rob Wheater. “High inflation has had a significant impact on the Town’s operating costs. In addition, infrastructure delivery costs have significantly increased and are expected to remain high in 2023 due to rising commodity and energy prices. The latest provincial plans related to development charges and parkland dedication with Bill 23 – More Homes Built Faster Act – are also expected to have significant changes on the Town’s ability to deliver on its capital program. Despite the many budgetary and financial challenges, the Town maintains a strong fiscal foundation and has strong plans to ensure long-term financial sustainability.”
The Town promoted a number of opportunities to encourage public engagement and received resident input into the 2023 budget from a survey and dedicated email.
The total 2023 property tax rates for all levels of government will not be determined until early April, following the tax rate setting by York Region and the Ministry of Education for their portion of the property tax bill.