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Regional budget passes with 1.89 per cent increase

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Residents in Durham Region will be seeing a 1.89 per cent increase on their regional tax bills for 2019.

Based on the average single-detached home costing $454,000 in Durham, residents can expect approximately $51 more in taxes.

A maximum increase of 2.2 per cent was set by regional council in February.

Clarington Mayor and finance committee chair Adrian Foster oversaw the deliberations of the budget.

“[Staff] brought us a budget that has come in below guidance, and below the rate of inflation, at minimum cost. It brings programs and enhancements to programs that are of huge value to our community,” he said.

One particular element of the budget Foster was proud of is increased support in battle against human trafficking.

“Consider how important that is. Protection for girls, children who aren’t often old enough to go to Grade 9, are being coerced into the sex trade, and that’s right here in Durham,” he said.

This year’s increase is down slightly from 2018’s budget, which saw a 1.9 per cent increase.

In 2017 it was an increase of 1.8 per cent, and 1.65 per cent in 2016.

Some items included in the regional budget are:

  • $1.5 million towards an increase in staff for Durham Region Police Services in order to meet an increase in demand for police services around the region.
  • There will be 26 new police officers, eight new paramedics, and five 911 operators.
  • The region will be providing $7 million for two new and nine replacement ambulances.
  • Starting in May, Durham Region Transit will now allow children 12 and under to ride for free if they are accompanied by a fare-paying adult.
  • $100,000 will be invested into the scales at the Oshawa Waste Management Facility.
  • $700,000 will be given to community agencies which address homelessness.
  • $42.1 million will go towards road expansion projects, including widening of Harmony Road in Oshawa between Coldstream Drive and Conlin Road.
  • There will be $300,000 put towards the Primary Care Outreach Pilot which started in 2018.

 

Oshawa residents will be receiving the 1.89 per cent tax increase on top of the city’s 1.88 per cent increase, with taxpayers paying an additional $40 in city taxes on average in 2019.

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