It is my distinct pleasure to present the Town of Aurora’s 2024 to 2026 Operating Budget and 10-Year Capital Plan.
This Budget prioritizes maintaining current services and making strategic investments, all while respecting taxpayer dollars.
Like all organizations and businesses across Canada, the Town has faced significant inflationary pressures over the last year, resulting in rising costs to deliver the programs, services, and projects our community relies on.
At the same time, residents have seen their own costs go up, from groceries to gas to mortgage payments.
Considering both these, it was important that this year’s increase was moderate and stayed roughly at the projected 2023 overall inflation rate – that’s why this Budget proposes a 3.9 percent increase on the tax bill in 2024, followed by 3.5 percent in 2025, and 2.9 percent in 2026.
This increase ensures everything from our incredible recreational programs to road work to Town-led events are maintained at current levels . . .
And that we are able to continue to provide the support our key partners need, including the Aurora Public Library, Central York Fire Services, and the Aurora Cultural Centre.
This year’s budget process is different due to recent changes in Ontario legislation.
The Ontario Government’s Bill 3, Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, granted “Strong Mayor Powers” to many municipalities, including Aurora.
These new responsibilities given to mayors are largely aimed at accelerating the housing and development process at the municipal level.
But it also changes the budget process too.
Traditionally, the municipal budget has been presented by the Chief Administrative Officer – the new legislation now requires mayors to present the budget.
And I want to be very clear: presenting the Budget is a responsibility I take very seriously.
But it’s also important to note that all councillors have the opportunity to propose amendments to this Budget, which is a critical part of the process.
I look forward to their feedback and I am committed to working collaboratively with all of Council to ensure this Budget works in the best interests of all Aurorans and we can continue to get things done.
Importantly, this Budget proposes that we continue to move forward on key projects and programs that enhance the quality of life for Aurorans . . .
Like finishing Aurora Town Square, and ensuring it has the right funding in place to provide Aurorans with top-notch arts and culture programming . . .
Or the 7,500 square-foot expansion to the Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex . . .
And the replacement of aging playgrounds at Fleury Park and Evans Park, and the playground and splash pad at Town Park as we move to make our playgrounds truly accessible…
To respond to the growing demands for more pickleball opportunities, this budget proposes court improvements at both Edward Coltham and Trent Park . . .
While also constructing a second artificial turf field at Sheppard’s Bush, in partnership with the Aurora Barbarian rugby team and an artificial turf at the new Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School on Bayview Ave and,
To encourage and support active and healthy lifestyles, this budget proposes more multi-use trail construction to make it easier for residents to get around town on foot, bike or scooter…
And we are responding to the needs of some our most vulnerable community members by funding new programs like our Windrow Removal Pilot Program that clears the snow at the end of the driveway for seniors and those living with a disability.
To ensure Aurorans can get around Town quickly and safely, we’re making major investments to improve sidewalk and road conditions . . .
Including the reconstruction of Poplar Crescent, and the rehabilitation of the road surfaces on Avondale Crescent, Centre Street and Earl Stewart Drive, to name just a few.
Importantly, we’re also making investments in new technology projects to make it easier for residents to access our services, including managing their tax and water bills online.
This is just a snippet, but taken as a whole, this budget helps ensure Aurora remains a safe, healthy, dynamic and modern Town that has an incredibly high quality of life and that makes key investments for future generations.
This Budget is the result of a tremendous amount of teamwork, with staff, residents and businesses all providing input on priorities during our pre-budget consultations.
This Budget is for the people, it has been developed to ensure that we are being fiscally responsible providing for the needs of our community not just for the present but for future generations. . One that will continue to build on the investments to revitalize our downtown and support the growth of our economy.
I want to thank everyone for their input and their commitment to helping make Aurora one of the best places to live, work and raise a family in the entire GTHA..