Halton Hills and North Halton newspapers
Preliminary tax hike pegged at $107 per homeowner
Independent & Free Press (Georgetown, ON), 18 Aug 2006, p. 1, 3

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If nothing changes in the next five months-- and it likely will-- Halton Hills residents can look forward to an average $107 increase on their 2007 tax bills. Halton Hills budget committee-- which includes all members of council-- gave staff the go-ahead at a Wednesday meeting to begin preparing the 2007 operating and capital budgets. Direction was given to staff to prepare for January deliberations, a $22.3 million budget-- a 3.1 per cent increase over this year's budget, plus 2 per cent dedicated to the pavement management program, plus another 1.3 per cent for the hiring of fulltime firefighters. This 6.4 per cent increase translates to a $60 increase of taxes for the average home assessed at $300,000. Combined with Halton Region and school board taxes, the overall increase on tax bills is 3.6 per cent or $107 ($36 per $100,000 of assessment value). Region taxes are going up $47 (again, if nothing changes between now and final approval). School taxes remain unchanged. Total taxes paid on a home assessed at $300,000 will be $3,099 ($990 for the Town, $1,317 for the Region and $792 for education). Director of Finance Ed DeSousa in his presentation to the budget committee said a long list of factors can be attributed to the increases including the potential hiring of the four firefighters ($290,000), increase in employee benefits, CPP/EI ($792,200), 10 per cent increase in the cost of asphalt, 8 per cent increase in the cost of fuel, significant increases for utilities (hydro 13%), natural gas (9%) and water (6.5%). DeSousa said there was a 1 per cent budget increase resulting just from increases in utilities. The base budget increase of 3.1 per cent represents no new staffing, equipment or expansion of programs. Staff will also prepare recommendations for committee consideration for a base budget increase and decrease of 1 per cent. "This report outlines the various pressures and what we have to do to improve the town," said Mayor Rick Bonnette, singling out the hiring of the firefighters as a result of town growth. "We have to give to fire protection to our citizens. ...A 1.3 per cent of an increase is not a waste of money, it's something we have to do to protect our community and I hope the new council (elected in November) will follow through on this." The first budget meeting, open to the public, will be held on January 9, followed by scheduled meetings, January 15, 16, 29, 30, with final budget approval set for the February 5 council meeting.

Gamble, Cynthia
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18 Aug 2006
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Bonnette, Rick
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Preliminary tax hike pegged at $107 per homeowner