Whitby residents say they’re happy with services, but not with cost

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Published October 12, 2021 at 3:04 pm

Whitby Town Hall
Courtesy of the Town of Whitby

Whitby residents have had their say in the Town’s 2022 budget process, with the results showing citizens are mostly happy with their services, but not with high property taxes.

Whitby asked residents what their feeling and priorities are toward taxes and spending over the summer. The consult was operated through the town ConnectWhitby website.

Compared to the 2021 budget consultation, this year saw an earlier and longer engagement period. As a result, almost 2,000 residents participated in the consult, much more than the previous year.

The survey showed “positive feelings” among Whitby’s citizens – nearly 75 per cent of respondents ranked their quality of life either “good” or “excellent.”

Almost half of the participants felt they were comfortable with current taxation and services levels. They cited community safety, access to other regions and green spaces, and an enjoyable town as their biggest reasons.

Respondents felt the town could better serve the community by creating more local jobs, expanding green spaces and revitalizing the downtown core, still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects,

Citizens also wanted the town to consider more multi-use path infrastructure, similar to Ajax’s ongoing project.

About nine per cent of taxes go to the municipal level, with Whitby getting a third of that to work with. The rest goes to the Region of Durham.

Zoocasa ranked Whitby 19th among 35 Ontario municipalities from lowest to highest property tax rates. In Durham Region, only Oshawa has higher rates.

Town staff will present the consultations finding to Town Council on October 18, at which point they’ll decide on a budget target. The final budget will be decided in February.

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