York Region will continue to build and operate a fibre network designed to attract and retain businesses in a $3.3-billion budget that will cost the average household an additional $75.
That increase is based on the average assessed value of nearly $750,000 for a residential property. The 2020 budget includes a net tax levy increase of 2.96 per cent, which includes 1.7 per cent to maintain regional services and a 1.26 per cent contribution to reserves.
Highlights include preparing for construction of the Yonge subway extension into Richmond Hill/Langstaff Centre. The budget also includes record levels of spending on arterial road improvements throughout urbanized areas, funding and administering more than 6,700 social housing units owned and managed by Housing York Inc. and other community housing providers, and providing consolidated access to York Region services in Newmarket, which will result in long-term lease savings.
Initiatives in the $2.5-billion operating budget include $658 million to support Community and Health Services, which covers the cost of implementing a new provincially-mandated seniors’ dental care program to eligible seniors aged over 65. The $826-million capital budget, meanwhile, includes $448 million for transportation services, which covers the cost of accelerating 14 roads capital projects to address transportation needs in the region’s busiest areas.
The 2020 budget includes an updated 10-year capital plan, providing spending of $7.1 billion to 2029, and reflects the directions and strategies set out in the 2019 to 2023 Strategic Plan: From Vision to Results.
As part of the budget, Regional Council adopted an updated fiscal strategy, an approach that allows it to build up reserves over time so funds are available to pay for the maintenance of its assets and other contingencies without the need to issue tax-levy or user-rate debt. Reserves are expected to grow to about $5.1 billion by 2029, of which $3.6 billion will be for future asset rehabilitation and replacement, such as roads, bridges, service facilities and buildings.
Additional information on York Region’s 2020 budget, including operating and capital budget backgrounders, is available at york.ca/budget.