Councillor Unionville Ward 3
…for a better Markham!
Looking back at February and forward to March there is a great deal happening in Markham. Through February the city budget committee met several times and finished our review of the capital and operating budgets – infrastructure investment and day to day expenses respectively. At the moment it appears that total expenditures will be approximately $653M, of which about $179M will be funded from taxes. The capital spending budget will rise by over $100m relative to 2021. But capital spending does not rise smoothly from year to year and is tied to particular projects which may be large or small depending on future growth projections, timing and other concerns. Only a tiny fraction of capital spending is funded from taxes. Most capital spending is funded from development charges and the life cycle reserve (money set aside to maintain and replace assets up to 25 years in the future).
At the moment we are also looking at a 5% tax increase, 3% for increased operating expenses and 2% to cover a sliver of the potential 80% future tax increases related to Bill 23. However the 2% may be removed for now until we have a better sense of what the ultimate fate of Bill 23 will be. You may also recall that the initial proposal included a further 1.4% rise to restore the city’s Corporate Rate Stabilization (emergency) Reserve that was used to keep the tax increase at 0% in 2021. However it has now been agreed to spread that payback over 4 years.
As noted above, the projected tax impact from Bill 23, if there is no relief from the province or if the city does not reduce service levels, is projected at 80%. Add the usual cost increases and that leads to a 99% tax increase over the next 3 years. That number has rightly caused a great deal of consternation in the community. Council is scheduled to decide on the final budget for 2023 on March 22.