Milton Council has approved its 2019 operating budget. The 5-4 vote followed a second night of discussion at its February 4, 2019 meeting.
The budget calls for a municipal tax increase of 8.3% or $20.11/ $100,000 residential assessment. When blended with estimated changes at the Region of Halton, and education fees it becomes 3.67% or: $25.65/$100,000.
“I believe underinvesting got us to where we are,” Ward 1 Municipal Councillor Kristina Tesser-Derksen said. The budget includes plans for a core services review to support informed strategic decision-making about service levels and service delivery; a process that could last six months. Other investments included the rehabilitation of Fire Station 1, as well as the beginning of construction on Fire Station 5.
At their January 14 meeting, council rejected a budget with an approximate 8.75% increase. They instructed staff to return with a new set of recommendations. which included the elimination of an infrastructure reserve fund, a winter control reserve fund, and the delay in opening the Sherwood branch Library. “The 2019 Budget attempts to balance the cost pressures associated with growth and the need to set aside funds for future infrastructure renewal,” Budget Chair Zeeshan Hamid said.
The budget passed in a recorded vote. Voting in favour were Councillors Mike Cluett, (Ward 3, Regional,) Rick Di Lorenzo (Ward 3, Municipal Councillor) Sameera Ali (Ward 4, municipal), Zeeshan Hamid, (Ward 4, Regional) and Kristina Tesser-Derksen (Ward 1, Municipal). Voting against it were Councillors Rick Malboeuf (Ward 2, Regional), John Challinor (Ward 2, Municipal), Colin Best (Ward 1, Regional) and Mayor Gord Krantz.