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Given the current economic climate, why is there a tax increase?
Peel serves a growing and increasingly diverse population.  We anticipate a population increase of 21,000 in 2010.  New residents mean increased service needs in areas such as Social Services, Health, Transportation and Paramedic Services.

The recession has negatively impacted many residents who have had to rely more on our services, e.g. Ontario Works, Social Housing, Children’s Services.  The Region’s priority is to continue to provide services to those most vulnerable in the community.

Every effort was made to minimize the impacts on all residents – tax and rate payers.

What is the Region’s total 2010 Budget?
The Region’s 2010 budget:  $1.6 billion for operations and $527.6 million for capital projects.

What is the change from the 2009 to the 2010 Operating Budget?
There is an increase from 2009 of $89.4 million.

What Regional programs and services does the budget support?
The budget supports: Police Services, Ontario Works, Social Housing, Children’s Services, Waste Collection and Recycling, Water and Wastewater, Conservation Authority, Roads, Accessible Transportation, Peel Heritage Complex, Public Health, Paramedic Services, Long Term Care, Emergency Planning and 911.

How was Peel able to arrive at a 1.9% tax increase and a 5% utility rate increase?
The Region of Peel actively seeks out process improvement opportunities to drive efficiencies and quality improvements.

Throughout the past six months the Executive Management Team and staff reviewed and prioritized budget demands.  Service levels were frozen at 2009 levels and number of other program efficiencies in the amount of $11 million contributed the 1.9% tax rate. 
There were very few program enhancement requests.

The 5% utility rate is primarily due to a decrease in water consumption and weather patterns, i.e. rainy summers.

What is the dollar value impact on households with the proposed 1.9% tax increase?
Using an assessed property value of $357,600, the average household would pay $1,672, equating to the equivalent of an increase of $32 per year or less than $3 per month.
What is the dollar value impact on households with the 5% average utility rate increase?
The proposed 2010 average utility rate increase of 5% equates to a $21 increase to the average residential household for Water and Wastewater services per year.

Will we see a reduction in current services or will the services stay the same?
The 2010 Budget proposes maintaining essential service levels during these difficult economic times and enhancing some priority services such as Ontario Works, Public Health and Paramedic Services.

How will the Region of Peel ensure services meet the needs of the community?
The foundation of the Region of Peel’s proposed 2010 Budget is Strategic Plan V, approved by Council in 2007. 

Service quality and quantity is measured annually and Council is informed on a regular basis of the economy and other conditions impacting Peel’s residents. 

Regional Council plays an active role in providing direction on programs and policy throughout the year and where appropriate, Council directs adjustment to services to reflect the changing needs of the community and their constituents.

If there is no new spending by the Region, why is there a tax increase at all?
The tax rate is impacted by both expenditures and revenues.  Some expenditure increases are included based on contracts with external vendors and subject to changes in inflation rates and to meet population growth (e.g. Waste Management providing service to new houses).  Revenues also change due to a variety of reasons, including changes in funding provided by senior levels of government, assessment growth, weather patterns (e.g. water consumption) and economic conditions.  The combination of changing expenditures and revenues results in a change in the tax rate.

What enhanced programs and services the 2010 Budget will support? 
New funds are required to address growing service demand in Paramedic Services to improve response times, address legislative requirements in Public Health, and growing pressures in Human Services.

In addition, the new funds will support planned service growth through delivery of an increased number of Accessible Transportation trips provided by the Transportation division, as well as legislative requirements in Waste Management.

How has the Infrastructure Stimulus Funding (ISF) and other Federal-Provincial grants affected the 2010 Budget recommendation?
The stimulus funding has primarily benefited the Utility Capital program.  As a result of stimulus funding, Council was able to implement a one-year suspension to increase capital funding for Water and Wastewater programs. Without this funding, the utility rate would have further increased by 3%.

The ISF is being applied to 26 capital projects totalling about $150 million, and is estimated to create over 2,000 jobs locally.

Council also took regard to the impact of the ISF and reduced the tax rate by 1%, reducing the annual contribution to capital reserves.

The Region of Peel serves 1.2 million residents and approximately 85,000 businesses in the cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the town of Caledon.  Peel is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada and continues to experience significant population growth.  In 2010, it is projected that the population will grow by 21,000 new residents. The Regional Municipality of Peel was incorporated in 1974 on the principle that certain community and infrastructure services are most cost-effectively administered over a larger geographic area.

For more information on the Region of Peel and the 2010 Budget, please visit www.peelregion.ca.

Revised: Thursday January 28 2010


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