The proposed municipal multi-year budget for 2021 and 2022 was tabled at last night’s meeting of Council, setting the stage for a series of discussions around priorities and opportunities for the next two years. In 2020, Council approved the Town of Aurora’s first three-year multi-year operating budget; the proposed budget tabled tonight is the second one included in the multi-year budget and includes both the 2021 and the 2022 operating and capital budgets, as well as the Town’s 10-year capital plan.

“I want to thank staff for the work that has gone into the development of this budget. Council and I are very aware of how important it is for us to be fiscally responsible while at the same time ensuring that residents continue to be able to benefit from the quality of life we strive for in Aurora,” said Town of Aurora Mayor Tom Mrakas. “This has been a very difficult year for everyone in the community. It is our responsibility as elected officials to make sure we are acting responsibly with the tax dollars in our care, and with the best interests of citizens in mind.”

The proposed 2021 budget maintains all current levels of service, as well as providing for a responsible number of initiatives designed to improve the quality of Aurorans’ lives and the sustainability of the Town’s infrastructure. It also accounts for the continuing impact of COVID-19 on municipal operations across the country and incorporates savings in a number of areas.

All told, the proposed budget would see approximately a $70 increase on the average residential tax bills per year for a house assessed at $800,000, representing an increase of 2.9%. The 2021 budget was expected to come in at 3.4%; in light of the financial hardships faced by many due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Council directed a reduction in the tax levy increase, which is reflected in the proposed budget tabled last night. The 2.9% increase includes:

  • 1% increase to contribute to financial reserves, highlighting the Town’s focus on fiscal sustainability
  • 0.5% increase for Library Square financing
  • 1.4% increase for operating costs at the current level of service

The capital budget proposes a 10-year plan totalling $296.4 million. This 10-year capital plan continues to focus its investments in asset management with repair and replacement projects representing 46% of the capital plan, growth and new 52% which includes the construction of Library Square and studies and other at 2%.The proposed capital budget includes a significant investment of $30 million in Library Square. This represents just over one-third of the $85.7 million planned for 2021 making growth and new projects the largest share of the 2021 planned capital spending at 69%. As well, starting this year, Council is able to see a complete picture of Aurora’s capital plan – including new projects, active projects, conditionally approved projects, and projects to be closed.

“The 2021 budget is very much in line with what Council approved in 2019 as part of the three-year budget, with some key changes that reflect the changed environment we have encountered in 2020,” said Chief Administrative Officer Doug Nadorozny. “This has been a challenging year but one where we have worked together as an organization to identify solutions in service of our community. The 2021 budget reflects that work.”

Council will discuss the 2021 budget at a series of meetings scheduled to begin on November 9, 2020. Given the COVID-19 situation, all meetings will be virtual and available for viewing online.