As this is my first budget process as a councillor, it was a privilege to collaborate with both staff and council colleagues to deliver the 2023 budget. The challenge was to reduce the increase over the two-month process, while maintaining exceptional service, in the face of the Province's Bill 23.

Ultimately, delivering a budget that sits at 5.55% was critically important for affordability given the current economic climate. Over the past three years, the average tax growth of East Gwillimbury has been 1.85%. This year, it equates to an impact of $107, or just under $9 more per month for the average homeowner.

Contained within the budget are investments in increased firefighters, our new aquatics center, trails and parks, as well as municipal infrastructure replacement. The latter is a critical issue for me as a town with over $2 billion in assets, it is imperative that we have an asset management plan in place for a 10, 20, and 30 year time horizon.

Municipal infrastructure investment is essential to maintaining and improving the quality of life for residents in East Gwillimbury. Infrastructure refers to the physical structures and systems that support our communities, including roads, bridges, water supply and sewage systems, public transit, parks and recreation facilities, and other essential services. The importance of municipal infrastructure investment in East Gwillimbury cannot be overstated, as it provides a range of benefits to the community, including:

  1. Enhancing Quality of Life: Municipal infrastructure investment can improve the quality of life for residents by providing access to essential services and amenities. Investment in parks and recreational facilities can promote physical activity, reduce stress, and improve mental health. Similarly, investment in public transit can enhance mobility, reduce traffic congestion, and improve air quality.
  2. Supporting Economic Development: Investment in municipal infrastructure can help support economic development in East Gwillimbury. Infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and water supply systems are essential for the transportation of goods and services, as well as for supporting businesses and industries in the community. Investment in infrastructure can also create jobs and provide economic opportunities, helping to promote growth and development.
  3. Promoting Sustainability: Investment in municipal infrastructure can help promote sustainability by reducing environmental impacts and promoting resource conservation. For example, investment in water supply and sewage systems can promote water conservation and reduce the risk of pollution. Similarly, investment in public transit can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote sustainable transportation.
  4. Ensuring Public Safety: Investment in municipal infrastructure is essential for ensuring public safety in East Gwillimbury. Infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and public transit systems must be safe and reliable to ensure the safety of residents and visitors. Investment in emergency services, such as fire departments, is also critical to ensuring public safety.
  5. Increasing Property Values: Municipal infrastructure investment can increase property values in East Gwillimbury. Infrastructure such as parks, recreational facilities, and public transit systems can increase the desirability of the community, leading to higher property values. This can benefit homeowners by increasing their equity and attracting new residents to the community.

Municipal infrastructure investment is vital to the long-term well-being and prosperity of East Gwillimbury. Investment in infrastructure will enhance quality of life, support economic development, promote sustainability, ensure public safety, and increase property values. It is essential for our municipality to continue to invest in infrastructure to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for East Gwillimbury.