The year 2000 was one of fiscal achievement. For the third consecutive year, Regional Council adopted a budget with no tax levy increase, even with the added responsibility of services transferred to York Region from the Province. Additionally, in reflection of the Region's buoyant economy and prudent financial management, York Region proudly maintained its AAA credit rating from Moody's Investor Service.
The Finance and Administration Committee oversaw the financial management of York Region's gross expenditure budget of $823.7 million and a Regional staff compliment of 1,560 employees (excluding police). It also provided policy direction and guidance to support the management of the Region's finance, information technology, human resource, legislative and record keeping services, with outstanding results.
York Region is Canada's fastest growing municipality. Effective growth management goes "hand-in-hand" with effective financial management. In 2000, York Region continued to implement many leading-edge fiscal accountability programs, clearly reflecting its leadership in this area of municipal program delivery. Further, in response to the Multi-Year Corporate Plan, Information Technology Services expanded services and accessibility for employees, including e-mail accounts for all staff with computer access.
The progressive shift from calendar-based annual budgets to multi-year business plans gave Council clear financial forecasts of program, service development and delivery. To support this, the Service-Based Business Planning Model was developed to integrate objectives, work initiatives, performance indicators and financial reports for each service delivered. Additionally, to support the Business Planning and Budget process, the mid-year Business Plan report model was developed for Regional Council in order to ensure management accountability for actual performance versus planned expenditures.
This service excellence did not go unnoticed. Not only did York Region maintain its top credit rating in 2000, the Region also received recognition of excellence from the Public Sector Quality Fair for the 2000 Business Plan and Budget.
The Finance and Administration Committee oversaw not only the financial accounts, but also the continued development of a skilled and professional staff administration to support Regional efforts. Great strides were taken in 2000 to provide the best services to our residents and corporate citizens, while providing a positive work environment for employees. Alternate work arrangements were introduced, including the concept of compressed work week and "flex-time." A corporate training and development program was introduced to enhance employee skills, knowledge and competencies. Effort was also placed on establishing a compensation system that remains competitive with the external environment and equitable internally to Regional staff.
The Committee also oversaw operation of the legislative and record keeping services of York Region. The Region, in partnership with the area municipalities, successfully administered the prosecution of offences under the Provincial Offences Act and generated revenue of $2.6 million through its newly acquired Court Administration program. New by-laws, including the York Region No-Smoking By-law, Purchasing By-law and Sign By-law were implemented and, taking a lead-role in customer service excellence, the new state-of-the-art information kiosk was opened for business at the York Region Administrative Centre.