Oshawa City Council has approved the 2023 City Budget, which levies a 4.98 per cent increase to the overall city tax levy.
This represents an increase to the Oshawa portion of the residential tax bill of approximately $101.53 (or $8.46 per month) on a property assessed at $356,000 (Oshawa’s median house assessment value as published by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation), said a city statement.
It said the increase on the Oshawa portion of the total tax bill is an increase of 3.625 per cent. The city’s increase will be combined with the Region of Durham’s budget outcome, determined in early 2023, which will finalize the tax levies for 2023.
The Town of Whitby recently announced a budget increase of 6 per cent. Clarington is proposing a 3.75 per cent rise.
The 2023 budget is reflective of the continued impact on municipal finances, including continued financial impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic and the continued economic impact of significant inflationary pressures and supply chain issues. Additionally, the 2023 budget:
- Maintains the base levels of service;
- Addresses volume growth;
- Includes inflationary increases;
- Addresses contractual labour increases; and,
- Incorporates the outcomes of various continuous improvement initiatives.
The statement said the city’s financial strategy comprises two components: operating and capital. The operating budget covers the costs of delivering services to the community, including snow removal, waste collection, fire services and recreation programs, as well as the ongoing maintenance of sidewalks, city roads, on-street cycling lanes, trails and multi-use paths, parks, playgrounds, splash pads, sports fields, community facilities, and more.
50+ new hires
The approved budget also includes an increase of 52 permanent staff positions as well as additional temporary staff. The new approved staff positions include 20 firefighters which were approved by council to support the recommendations of the Fire Master Plan, as well as positions in numerous other branches. This is aligned with a strategic workforce review completed in 2021 to respond to the growth of and development of the city currently and to meet service levels in future years.
Additionally, the budget includes funding for agencies, including the Oshawa Public Libraries and the Oshawa Senior Community Centres.
New recreation centre
The 2023 capital budget of $79.915 million invests in vital infrastructure, including roads, bridges, other core city assets and growth related resources. A new recreation centre on Thornton Road North was approved in the amount of $31.27 million. Also included are approximately $3.3 million in projects specifically for city parks and trails.
The 2023 capital budget supports the green economy through electrical vehicle charging station installations at City Hall, replacement of mechanical equipment to more energy efficient systems and an upgrade to the lighting program at various locations. These approved projects will reduce the city’s carbon footprint, the statement said.
It pointed out that the City of Oshawa is part of a two-tier government system and collects property taxes on behalf of the city, the Regional Municipality of Durham and the province for local school boards. For every dollar collected, approximately 43 cents is distributed to the region and 16 cents to local school boards – the city keeps 41 cents for every dollar collected.
The approved 2023 city budget will be available online in the coming weeks at Oshawa.ca/budget.