../Morning Post
Posted November 13, 2009
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Holding Pattern

MARKHAM SET FOR SECOND YEAR OF ZERO TAX RATE IN 2010

Council approves 2010 budget with no tax rate increase

MARKHAM - Markham Council has approved its 2010 Budget with no tax rate increase for a second consecutive year.

Markham was the only GTA municipality to achieve a zero tax rate in 2009, attributing its success in savings to an extensive program to find efficiencies in its operations and future business practices. Council and staff continued the Excellence through Efficiency and Effectiveness program (E3) in 2009 with a continued focus on how municipal business operations and services could be improved and more cost effective.

“Once again, Council and staff have stepped up to the challenge on behalf of taxpayers,” said Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “Throughout 2009, we continued to look for ways to improve our services and reduce costs. And, this year again we have seen positive results including additional savings from the investments we made in key areas. I’m extremely proud of our accomplishment and our ability to hold the line once again on taxes during a fragile economy, and without any reduction in services.”

Markham’s 2010 budget includes a $153.8 million Operating Budget, $77.9 million Capital Budget, $67.3 million Waterworks Budget, $7.2 million Building Services Budget, $4.9 million for Planning and Design and $5.1 million Engineering Budget for a total of $316.2 million. Overall, Markham receives about 25 cents of every dollar of residential property taxes collected, with the remainder divided between education (25 cents) and the Region of York (50 cents).

Budget Chief and Ward 6 Councillor Dan Horchik said, “Markham was able to hold the line on taxes again this year through revenue enhancements and a number of important expenditure reductions. Energy efficiency programs and reduced fuel costs alone provided $0.65M in savings. We also saved $1 million through an innovative pavement preservation strategy that preserves the life of our roads, employs green technologies and recycles aggregates and asphalt; and an additional $300,000 by extending the lifecycle of our fleet vehicles. These expenditure reductions, along with revenue enhancements, such as increased investment income, provided a budget with no tax rate increase in 2010.”

Mayor Scarpitti remarked, “We began E3 over two years ago when we detected a worsening economy. This way of doing business is now an integral part of our annual business planning process. The fact we are able to achieve these cost reductions and efficiencies without using our reserves, or reducing staff levels critical to service delivery, is a great testament to the power of innovation and our strong focus on continuous improvement.”

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