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Mayor Column January 2017

I would like to extend to everyone best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Once again, we hosted a terrific New Year’s Eve celebration in EG and it was great to see so many families in attendance to enjoy the activities and share the entertainment. This year was a particularly special celebration as we not only welcomed 2017, but we also launched a year of celebrations in recognition of Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation. You can follow the Town on Facebook and Twitter or watch our page in the EG Express for more information about these special events throughout the year.

As we begin 2017 fresh, we know there are many exciting projects that will be happening this year. At the end of December 2016, Council passed the Town’s 2017 budget. The approved budget required a tax increase of 2.8 per cent which amounts to approximately $45 for the average homeowner. When East Gwillimbury’s increase is combined with the York Region and school board increases, the total annual increase for the average homeowner in East Gwillimbury is expected to be 2.2 per cent. 

We understand many residents are experiencing pressures, as the Town is experiencing them as well. However, Council continues to work hard to ensure we operate under a responsible and balanced budget. The Town remains one of the few debt-free municipalities in all of Ontario, while still maintaining our exceptional service delivery and programs for residents. It is important to note that East Gwillimbury residents pay the lowest relative taxes in York Region.

The budget increase will support Council’s focus on community safety as it includes the hiring of an additional full-time firefighter in 2017. This is part of a multi-year plan which works towards a full-time crew of 20 firefighters in 2020. 

The budget also accounts for the maintenance of existing programs and services at the Town’s current service level. This required an increase to offset increased hydro costs. Although this was an unforeseen cost, the Town continues to look for efficiencies and cost savings to help offset the increases. 

Part of the budget, specifically deals with development-fee related funds and expenditures. Council has a long standing commitment to ensure that if a cost is growth related it will not be paid for with current resident’s tax dollars. For example, the Town will be hiring additional building and fire inspectors, and completing extensions to the existing trail systems next to the new subdivisions. These costs will be covered by development fee related funding such as Development Charges and Community Capital Contributions. These are fees paid for by builders who develop land within the municipality.  

Although growth can be a challenge, it is also one of our biggest opportunities. By incorporating these fees into the budget process it is just one way we are managing growth. If you would like to learn more about the Town’s budget please visit www.eastgwillimbury.ca/budget