The growth spurt in Bradford West Gwillimbury comes at a cost that residents will see on their property tax bill for 2020.
Town council met to complete their first three-year budgeting process, which is being done to ensure better financial planning for multi-year projects.
The budget contains a 3.31 per cent increase on the municipal portion of the property tax bill. There is a special capital levy for the repair, replacement and rehabilitation of infrastructure like roads and facilities.
The town says the spike in the tax rate is to support a growing community, including hiring an additional by-law enforcement officer, parks staff, an additional crossing guard and providing more funds for volunteer firefighters.
Among the capital projects, there will be improvements at the water and wastetreatment plants, a Creation Centre at the library, additions and replacements to the Town fleet and ongoing investments in roads.
The town says residents who receive water and wastewater services from the Town can expect to see an overall increase for these services of 2.5%, which amounts to about $2.67 to the average bi-monthly bill.
“We are continuing to keep increases as low as possible while making the necessary investments to ensure we meet our most critical goals,” said Mayor Rob Keffer. “The safety and security of our residents is our top priority, so we are focusing over the next few years on improvements to things like water and wastewater treatment facilities, parks and roads, while also expanding our ability to provide services to the growing population.”
When the budgets of Simcoe County, South Simcoe Police Services and the Province of Ontario for schools are factored in, the overall increase for 2020 is currently projected at 3.55 per cent. A final figure won’t likely be available until the spring.
When all is said and done, this will add $163 more to each household based on an average home assessment of just over $480,000.
Looking ahead to 2021 and 2022, the tax increases are expected to be close to 5 per cent annually, with blended increases projected at just under 4.5 per cent. Some of the big ticket projects include new and replacement Leisure Centre fitness equipment, expansion of Joe Magani Park, as well as replacement of aging playground equipment, as well as investment in road infrastructure.
The budget must still be approved at a regular council meeting later this month.