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Regional council passes 2018 budget

Roads a high priority in budget

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

Durham residents will see a 1.9 per cent increase on their regional tax bills this year.

Regional council put the finishing touches on the 2018 budget at its Feb. 14 meeting.

Based on the average residential assessment in Durham of $424,500, the increase equates to approximately $50 more in taxes.

Oshawa Councillor Bob Chapman, who oversaw budget deliberations as chair of the region’s finance committee, says he believes a balance of an acceptable cost increase and maintaining of service levels was achieved this year.

“This budget is a reflection of the current economic climate; designed to respond to key program needs, legislative and regulatory changes and requirements, and continued investment in our infrastructure,” Chapman states. “This is an expectation of our community members, which is why council has maintained these current service levels, while striving to maintain taxpayer affordability.”

The 1.9 per cent is a small climb from 2017 (1.8 per cent) and 2016 (1.65 per cent).

Council previously set a maximum of a 2.25 per cent increase in October 2017.

Some of the items in the 2018 budget include:

– $27.7 million in road expansion projects including the widening of Harmony Road (Rossland to Taunton) and intersection improvements at Townline Road and Pebblestone Road

– $11.7 million in Highway 407-related projects including the expansion of Simcoe Street North near Winchester Road

– $683,000 for a body worn camera pilot project for Durham Regional Police Service

– $10.1 million in increased provincial funding for access to subsidized child care spaces

– $7.6 million in funding to assist households in retaining and obtaining housing and emergency shelter

– $17.1 million in capital investments for Durham Regional Transit

For Oshawa residents, the regional increase is on top of the city’s 1.79 per cent raise which was passed earlier this year – representing an average additional $46 on city tax bills.