February 2017
Councillor David Pickles
2017 City of Pickering Budget
City staff and Council are presently discussing the City capital and operating budgets.  A public budget meeting was held February 16th.  The budget proposed and recommended
includes $91.1 million for operations and $45.1 million for capital.  A few Ward 3 highlights from the proposed capital budget include:
  • Westney Road (North)- Reconstruction & Paving
  • Michell Bridge - Reconstruction
  • Highway 7 - Streetlights
  • Duffin Heights Village Green East - New Park Installation
  • Duffin Heights/Brock Road - Completion of Streetlights/Sidewalk/Multi-Use Path
  • Rossland Road - Completion of Reconstruction
  • Sixth Concession Road - Completion of Reconstruction
  • Finch Avenue (South) - Temporary Sidewalk
  • Glengrove Park - Reconstruction
  • Alwin Circle - Resurfacing
  • Pickering Parkway - Resurfacing
  • Kingston Road - Sidewalks/Streetlights
  • Palmer Bridge - Bridge Replacement
  • Altona Road - Temporary Sidewalk
This results in a City of Pickering increase of 2.69% to City portion of property taxes.  However, the City portion of the total taxes is only approximately 30% of your property taxes; the Region of Durham portion makes up approximately 55% and the Province of Ontario (schools) makes up the balance (15%) of the total tax bill.  With a 2017 Region of Durham tax increase at 1.8% and no increase to school taxes, the overall total property tax increase in Pickering would be approximately 1.80%. This is below the inflation rate of 2.0% and lower than many other GTA communities.  I believe this budget represents a fair and balanced investment in our municipal facilities and services to residents.  In a future eNewsletter, I will discuss the matter of property reassessments by MPAC.
Good Neighbours
Do you have a good neighbour you want to recognize? Nominate them for a Good Neighbour Award to say thank you, and encourage others to lend a helping hand in their neighbourhood. Your story will be featured on the City of Pickering Facebook page and a certificate and letter of appreciation will be sent from the Mayor and your Ward Councillors. More information and nomination forms available online.
Recreation and Parks Master Plan
Recreation and parks facilities, programs, and services play a vital role in our community and in the lives of our residents. To provide direction to maintain these important community assets over the next ten years, the City of Pickering is preparing a Recreation & Parks Master Plan. This process will provide the City with up-to-date insight on community needs, and effective ways to provide facilities and deliver programs.  Over the coming months, there will be a number of opportunities for you to become a part of the conversation and make sure your voice is heard. Click here to see how you can get involved!
Fraud Tips for Seniors
The Durham Regional Police Service would like to advise senior citizens, of several ongoing scams that have cost local residents thousands of dollars.
Home improvement contractors have convinced citizens to provide a substantial down payment before repairing their roofs, dry walling rooms or doing other work. Once the large down payment is received, the contractor never returns.  Not only are these fraudulent business practices, they are often targeted at senior citizens, who sometimes feel intimidated or unsure of other options they have.

Normal practice usually requires a down payment of no more than 10 per cent when working with a trades person. The balance of the payment should be made once the job is complete and the homeowner is satisfied with the quality of the job. For more helpful hints, click here.

Out and About
Thanks to the Pickering Islamic Centre for organizing the One Pickering event on Sunday, February 11th.  Mayor Ryan and I were pleased to attend this great multi-faith event.
Ward 3 City Councillor Shaheen Butt and I enjoyed another fun-filled day at the Claremont Winter Festival on Saturday, February 10th. 
Councillor Butt and I in Claremont. While there, we stopped by to say hello to Daniel at the General Store and buy a lotto ticket and grab a coffee at the Cafe with Peggy!
Improving Durham Regional Transit Service
Through the 2017 Durham Region Transit Servicing and Financing Study staff is proposing enhancements that will total over 10,000 additional service hours along bus routes throughout the region at a cost of $1.4-million in 2017. In addition to replacing and realigning underperforming routes, proposed changes also include increasing capacity and
extending hours of operation on routes that are overcapacity. Improving transit service is a win-win-win: money from the government, more people on transit and less infrastructure needing to be built to support personal vehicles. However, to maintain a healthy revenue-cost ratio, modest service increases will require a modest fare increase. In Durham, between 35 and 40 per cent of total transit costs are covered by fare revenue-a ratio that the region wants to maintain. As a member of the Durham Region Transit Executive Committee, I welcome your thoughts and inquiries.