Brampton residents will see a 2.7 per cent property tax increase in 2018, as outlined in the budget recently approved by city council. The rise includes increases for municipal, regional and provincial taxes used for school board funding. The rate hike translates to an increase of about $126 for an average residential home assessed at $471,000. Council cites feedback from residents for providing guidance in laying out the budget for 2018-2020.
“We hear from our community through multiple channels every day, from calls and queries that come into our staff, to interactions at events, surveys and other engagement opportunities,” said Grant Gibson, regional councillor and budget committee chair.
“Brampton is investing for long-term impact,” adds Mayor Linda Jeffrey, as the city prepares to offer increased value to residents and businesses through the enhancement of core services.
Among the services benefitting from added funding are transit initiatives, which will see the bus fleet grow by 31 to serve growth areas. Fire services will receive support through the addition of new fire trucks and firefighters as well as a fully centralized fire campus, which will include a fire station, training facility, an emergency operations centre and new headquarters.
Residents will also see the launch of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) engineering and robotic recreation programs for ages three to 14, as well as an expansion and improvement of community centres. In addition, funding will allow a new Bram West (Embleton) interim library location pending the new community centre and library planned for the location in future.
Based on feedback from residents, a secondary unit task force to focus on and manage illegal second-unit housing, lodging houses, and group homes will also be established.
In support of Brampton’s effort to plan for the future, strategic priorities are another key component of the budget and, as described by Mayor Jeffrey, focus on “improving quality of living and securing a stronger future for our youth.”
An investment of up to $50 million over ten years for a university in Brampton plus up to $100 million for a centre for education, innovation, and collaboration (CEIC) are expected to bring transformative benefits to the entire community. Increased employment, reduced “brain drain,” resulting when youth leave to pursue opportunities elsewhere, and the availability of more affordable schooling closer to home are some of the many benefits cited in past studies.
Regional connections, including the expansion of Züm, to improve connectivity to regional transit services such as the Malton GO Station near Pearson Airport will serve to both enhance commuting options and reduce congestion.
Also included is an emphasis on reshaping urban centres. The objective of an invigorated downtown, along with a new streetscape, aims to bring pedestrians and cyclists together in a safe and sustainable manner.
Photo: Brampton City Hall courtesy of City of Brampton.