Durham Regional Council has let its residents down this budget season.
By approving a two per cent property tax guideline, the region is saying those who have lost their jobs or are suffering financially during the COVID-19 pandemic are on their own.
As previously reported by The Oshawa Express, with the two per cent increase to their property taxes, residents with a home estimated at $483,100 will see an increase of $56 on their yearly residential taxes.
A few councillors from across the region pointed to the region’s more than $1 billion reserve fund as a way to avoid raising taxes, with Oshawa’s Ward 5 City and Regional Councillor Brian Nicholson pointing out it is a “rainy day.”
While regional staff may have argued there are significant challenges in increasing the budget by two per cent, Nicholson notes the pandemic is a crisis, and says the pain should be shared by residents and government alike.
Ultimately, regional council let its residents down by voting in favour of the two per cent guideline.
During a time of pandemic and crisis, while some councillors stood tall and spoke on behalf of their residents, others did not.
This is not the time for increases to residential taxes. The world as a whole is facing a crisis in health, economics, and politics.
By June, Ontario alone lost more than one million jobs. That was several months ago now, and while some businesses have returned to work, we are now hitting a second wave which will see job losses again.
Ontario is seeing more and more new cases of COVID-19 every day, and the provincial government has already restricted social gatherings again.
While it is important to maintain a healthy budget at the region, councillors ultimately have let their residents down this budget season.