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Clarington Council plans 2018 Municipal budget

Posted on Tuesday November 21, 2017

Clarington November 21, 2017/- Planning for the Municipality of Clarington’s 2018 Budget is well underway. During a Special Budget Committee meeting on Friday, Council had a first look at the proposed budget. The education workshop is organized by the Director of Finance Nancy Taylor to present Council with a preliminary overview and forecast for the 2018 budget.

As Council heard during the workshop, Clarington remains an affordable place to live as compared to other municipalities. The comparison is drawn from a BMA Management study. That study looks at municipalities across Ontario and compares tax rates, cost of living and affordability. According to the study, the average household income in Clarington is $112,000, this is classified as high when compared to other areas. Clarington’s property taxes account for just 3.7 per cent of the average household income, that’s in the low end of the mid-range.

“Clarington has a history of sound budget planning. Council has many varied priorities to consider in the coming weeks,” said Nancy Taylor, Director of Finance.

A one per cent tax increase is an additional $535,000 that the Municipality can use to pay for services. 

This year, Clarington conducted a survey asking residents to help Council set out some budget priorities. Residents were able to choose if they wanted to increase or decrease the budget by five per cent for a particular service, or simply maintain the same funding. Many of the services the Municipality offers are mandated and cannot be removed. The survey ran from October until November 15, 2017. A total of 78 people responded. The services that Clarington residents value the most include Emergency and Fire, road maintenance, road winter maintenance, recreation, parks, bike lanes and trails. Overall survey respondents opted to maintain the budget for services outlined in the survey.

As Council considers Clarington’s budget it will look at the day-to-day operating costs of providing services as well as capital needs to pay for long-term projects including parks development, repair of aging parking lots, rehabilitation of aging bridges, and improvements to the transportation network, just to name a few. Council will also consider budgeting for repairs to Clarington’s aging road network. The Municipality has 880 kilometres of roads, of that, 448 kilometres are rural roads. Clarington is dealing with the costs of maintaining this aging road system while accounting for external factors like weather, growth and development, larger and heavier farm equipment, as well as increased traffic speed. All these contribute to the erosion of roads and parking lots.

“Clarington Council has been presented with a list of base requirements and optional requests, they will deliberate and vote to ratify the final budget on February 5, 2018,” said Director Taylor.

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Basia Radomski
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