Regional council approves tax increase of 1.98 percent

Regional council has signed off on the 2021 budget, approving a net property tax increase of 1.98 percent.
That represents an increase of roughly $55 for the owner of an average residential home in Durham (assessed at $483,100).
“Despite the fiscal pressures facing the Region due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional departments have presented a budget for 2021 that upholds our high-quality programs and services, supports key priorities and maintains taxpayer affordability,” said Regional Chair John Henry in a media release.
“We recognize the financial impact the pandemic continues to have on our local economy and continue to evolve and adapt while supporting residents and businesses through these challenging times.”
“The 2021 Business Plans and Budget reflect our current economic climate; addressing the issues and priorities important to Durham Region residents – such as community safety, protecting the vulnerable, and climate change – while balancing the delivery of essential services to sustain our region’s high quality of life,” added Nancy Taylor, the Region’s commissioner of finance.
Highlights include:
– The implementation of body worn cameras by Durham Regional Police (year one of a three-year phase-in of the program);
– Investments to enhance the level of care and supports for residents of Durham’s long-term care homes;
– Opening the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) office to provide a dedicated focus to the Region’s anti-racism initiatives, including the development of a community based anti-racism task force;
– Investments in climate and environmental sustainability including the development and implementation of a Corporate Climate Change Master Plan, and the launch of an innovative Durham Home Energy Savings program to help homeowners reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions and pilot a bio cover application on the former Oshawa landfill site;
– myDurham311 modernization initiative to transform the Region’s customer service delivery;
– Advance the deployment of broadband infrastructure to underserved areas pending successful outcomes of the Region’s various grant applications;
– Continue to advance the Municipal Comprehensive Review of the Region’s Official Plan;
– Prepare a Transit Oriented Development implementation strategy to capitalize on the economic and community building benefits associated with rapid transit investment;
– Significant social housing commitments towards supportive housing developments;
– Work with the province and Lakeridge Health to provide three additional nurses for the mental health support unit;
– Provide funding for Grandview Children’s Centre, Lakeridge Health Bowmanville, Durham College Whitby and Trent University Durham for their capital building projects under the Region’s Community Investment Grant program;
– Advance Durham Region Transit’s service recovery plan as ridership increases, including the introduction of more frequent service on existing routes, the reintroduction of scheduled services to areas currently served by OnDemand, and network enhancements including service to the new Amazon facility in Ajax;
– Ongoing development of a new Long-Term Solid Waste Management Master Plan.
– Increase waste diversion through the advancement of the Region’s Pre-Sort and Anerobic Digestion facility; and,
– Provide for the ongoing operation, maintenance, renewal and expansion of the Region’s infrastructure including roads, bridges, fleet, equipment and facilities.

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