It’s yearly budget planning and work to determine the Town’s 2021 budget is well underway.
Last year, this Council approved our multi-year budget covering 2020 to 2022. Multi-year budgeting is essential to understanding the longer-term view of Aurora’s needs and helps plan for stable service delivery and infrastructure investment. This budget included the identification of all the resources, funds and staff needed to deliver the Town’s core services, manage growth and implement the new initiatives for each year based on future growth.
A multi-year operating budget must be reaffirmed by Council on an annual basis. This means that as part of the 2021 budget process, Council will be asked to review and approve the budget for 2021 and 2022, to ensure its continued relevance and alignment with the Town’s priorities. However, the focus will be any changes to the previously approved budget, rather than a line-by-line review of all previously approved aspects.
The 2021 budget also brings the Town’s operating and capital budgets together as a single package: including both the 2021 to 2022 operating and capital budgets, and the Town’s 2021 10-year capital plan.
Aurora Town Council has worked hard to be fiscally responsible and mindful of taxpayer dollars. We fully recognize there is only one taxpayer and any increase in taxes puts added pressure on your household budget.
Through the work of the Finance Advisory Committee, we developed a budget policy that limits any increase to our tax levy to inflation plus 1%. This policy allows Council and the public to know exactly what will be coming, so residents and businesses can plan without worrying about fluctuations in the tax rate.
Using the above budget principle, we set the tax rate increases for the entire term; 2021 – 3.4%, 2022 – 2.9%. However, given the pressures from COVID, I have asked staff to prepare an alternate version for Council’s consideration that reduces the planned 2021 rate increase target to 2.9% with no impact to services.
Our official budget kickoff is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, October 20 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. This is when the 2021 budget will be tabled. The review of the budget will take place over a series of Budget Committee meetings in November, with a final review by Council scheduled for December 15.
I encourage everyone to attend a meeting, whether in person or virtually through our livestream, to see this process firsthand. The budget meetings schedule is available at aurora.ca/budget.