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Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Municipality prepare its budget?
Clarington has seven departments overseen by the Chief Administrative Office, including Public Works, Emergency and Fire Services, Legislative Services, Community Services, Corporate Services, Planning, and Finance. Each department prepares a budget by looking back at the past year's spending and forecasting future costs. Each department works to ensure that residents will enjoy either the same level or service and in some cases see enhanced services.
What is the operating budget?
The Operating budget outlines Clarington's spending plan for the upcoming year. It is based on Council's goals and priorities. This budget is prepared by each Municipal department and reflects that area of responsibility. It outlines the day-to-day cost of fire services, programs, facilities, parks, arenas, road maintenance, libraries and much more. It includes staffing, utilities, repairs and maintenance, fuel, etc.
What is the capital budget?
The capital budget outlines the Municipality's plan for long-term projects including infrastructure related work like road reconstruction, park improvements, fleet (ie. Fire trucks, snow plows), sidewalks and public buildings. These will provide or support services to residents in the future.
How does Council decide on the budget?
Council attends a special General Government Committee meeting dedicated solely to the budget. Councillors review the budget and discuss their priorities to make sure that the budget supports Council's vision for the upcoming year. Once Council reaches consensus the budget is officially ratified and approved at a Council meeting.
If there is a budget surplus where does the money go?
Municipal budgets are provincially legislated to be balanced. Legislation does allow Municipalities to allocate any surplus money at the end of each fiscal year to reserve funds. Clarington puts any surplus in the Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund to offset any future deficits and help even out any tax rate increases.
How is my tax money spent?
Council sets out priorities through the budget and tax dollars are spent on those items. Some of the priorities are: fire protection, road maintenance and repair, parks, facilities, programs, libraries, municipal law enforcement, long term capital projects and much more.
How are home values assessed?
The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, also known as MPAC, assesses and classifies more than five million properties across Ontario. MPAC follows the Assessment Act and guidelines/regulations outlined by the Provincial Government. The assessed value is based on property data as well as the current market value of homes in the area. This method is called the Current Value Assessment (CVA). It looks at many features that affect the market value of homes including: location, lot dimensions, living area, age of the property (adjusted for any renovations or additions) and the quality of construction. If you have questions about your assessment visit the MPAC website and go to the About My Property section. You will be able to review your property assessment notice, see the information MPAC has gathered on your property and look at other properties in the area to ensure that your assessment fits in.
How are taxes applied?
When Clarington sets its property tax rates they are applied to the assessed value of your property. Taxes set by the Regional Municipality of Durham are also applied to your assessed property value as are education tax rates set by the Ontario Government.
How is my tax bill calculated?
Your tax bill is determined by multiplying your assessed property value by the tax rates determined by the municipality, the region, and province. Please see understanding your tax bill for more details.




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