My City at Work

The City of Richmond Hill is committed to providing excellent service and we are proud to serve the people and businesses in our community.

"Each member of City staff work hard on the front lines and behind the scenes to provide the services, facilities and care that our citizens deserve. We are dedicated to serving the community while carefully managing our resources to ensure tax dollars are spent wisely."       ~Mary-Anne Dempster, City Manager

Spotlight On... Corporate Asset Management

Richmond Hill has approximately 300,000 assets such as roads, sidewalks, recreational facilities, watermains, stormwater management ponds and sewers. Corporate Asset Management uses data collected from teams across the City to track, analyze and report on our assets. When City assets are maintained and updated at the optimal time, it can extend their life for the community to enjoy and save money too. 

Andrew Nichols, Project Manager Corporate Asset Management at his desk. The City’s newly-approved Asset Management Plan outlines the different approaches to maintain assets in a safe and cost-effective way, to ensure our community stays safe and services are maintained.

To help staff manage the City’s infrastructure across many service areas, the Corporate Asset Management and Information Technology teams developed the Enterprise Asset Management System. This web-based system helps staff use data on City assets and forecast the investment needed to maintain them for up to 100 years.

“The Corporate Asset Management team’s focus is to help Richmond Hill maximize the value of its assets over time. We take great pride in getting the most from the City’s assets and protecting tax dollars.”  - Andrew Nichols, Project Manager Corporate Asset Management

Did you know? Richmond Hill’s main infrastructure assets are valued at $7.2 billion.

Putting your tax dollars to work

Each dollar of Richmond Hill’s operating budget breaks down as 15 cents for Fire and Emergency, 6 cents for road maintenance, 5 cents for winter maintenance, 3 cents for waste collection, 1 cent for Access Richmond Hill, 12 cents for recreation and events, 6 cents for municipal facilities (arenas, pools, etc.), 5 cents for public library, 4 cents for parks and trails, 2 cents for environment services, 18 cents for administration and other services, 7 cents for planning and development, 7 cents for asset renewal and capital programs, 6 cents for information technology, 3 cents for by-law enforcement.

In 2021, Richmond Hill will keep about $0.27 for every dollar of property taxes we collect from residents. We receive about $0.16 for every dollar of commercial/industrial taxes collected.

The rest of your taxes are sent to your school board and York Region to fund regional services such as public health, social services, children's services, policing, paramedical services and regional roads such as Bayview Avenue, Major Mackenzie Drive and Leslie Street. 

This graphic shows how each dollar of property tax that stays in Richmond Hill is divided.  

Property taxes pay for a variety of Richmond Hill services residents rely on – fire protection, public libraries, parks and playgrounds, recycling, organics and waste pick-up, snow and windrow removal, local roads, land planning and so much more.

Here’s how each dollar the City receives from your property taxes is allocated.

Fire and Emergency Services - 15 cents

Provides fire suppression and medical response, fire prevention and public education, specialty rescue response, training and dispatch services to keep the community safe. In 2020:

  • Responded to approximately 5000 incidents
  • Communications Centre answered approximately 25,000 calls
  • 6 fire stations plus headquarters and Training centre with multi-level fire training tower for training City firefighters plus renting out to other municipalities.
  • Richmond Hill Fire and Emergency Services staff participated in 31,000 hours of training.

Did you know? The City’s Fire and Emergency Services Communications Centre dispatches calls for Aurora, Newmarket, East Gwillimbury, Stouffville and Georgina in addition to Richmond Hill. They dispatch to approximately 15,000 incidents each year.

Road Maintenance - 6 cents

Maintains roads and sidewalks as well as stormwater ponds to ensure they are in good condition and safe.

  • Inspect, monitor and repair 1079 km of local roads including road surface, curbs, storm drains, catch basins
  • Responsible for 16,879 street lights and 800 km of sidewalks
  • Operates more than 85 stormwater ponds, 650 km of storm sewers and 18,000 catch basins

Did you know? Richmond Hill maintains all sidewalks in the City, but York Region maintains regional roads like Major Mackenzie Drive, Leslie Street, Bathurst Street, Elgin Mills Road, 16th Avenue and portions of Yonge Street.

 Spotlight on Potholes

Richmond Hill's Road Maintenance staff keep the City's roads and sidewalks safe and enjoyable for walking, driving, cycling and riding transit. 

Roads Operator Len Giacalone with ROVER pothole detection technology

One of their many responsibilities is identifying and repairing potholes in Richmond Hill local roads. In 2019, the team repaired over 1000 of them.

In 2020, Road Maintenance staff piloted new artificial intelligence technology (called ROVER) to enhance the inspection of road infrastructure. The ROVER technology, housed in a windshield-mounted smartphone camera (pictured at left), uploads photos and details about potholes such as location and severity.

With this technology, staff can identify potholes more easily, which keeps Richmond Hill roads safer through faster repairs.  

Richmond Hill received a Founding Member award from Visual Defence Inc., the creator of ROVER technology, recognizing its leadership, innovation and collaboration in using artificial intelligence to help keep roads safer.

“Working in Roads Maintenance, we have pride in the work we do to keep the roads and sidewalks in great condition for the community."   - Len Giacalone, Roads Operator III

Ontario Good Roads Association Award

Richmond Hill was honoured to win an Ontario Good Roads Association (OGRA) 2020 John Niedra Better Practices Competition award for our innovative use of artificial intelligence to find and analyze potholes! The awards “showcase the ingenuity of municipal employees and recognize innovations and achievements that improve the efficiency of our municipal transportations through public works, services and operations.”  Our joint submission with Visual Defence and the City of Markham highlights our success with automatic pothole detection.

 

Winter Maintenance - 5 cents
Provide winter maintenance, including plowing, salting and anti-icing for roads (excluding Regional roads), sidewalks, City facilities and select trails.
  • Includes citywide snow windrow clearing service to all local, residential driveways 
  • For each winter event (snowfall):
    • 1079+ kms roads salted/plowed
    • 800 kms sidewalks salted/plowed
    • 43,490 windrows cleared
    • 32 km trails salted/plowed (16.5 km added in 2021)
  • The City has 141 staff trained for winter events, plus 24 road plows, 35 sidewalk plows and 35 windrow machines.
Did you know? The City measures road temperatures through specially fitted trucks and also through sensors in the road that are monitored remotely. 
Waste Collection - 3 cents
Administer garbage, recycling, organics, yard waste and large appliance collection to over 54,000 households and 14,000 apartments. The City strives to work with the community to reduce the generation of solid waste and create a more sustainable environment. In 2020: 
  • Maintained waste collection service throughout the pandemic
  • Temporarily increased the garbage limit during the initial phase of the pandemic
  • Introduced garbage tags and bins online purchase and curbside pick-up
Access Richmond Hill - 1 cent

Provide assistance for general inquiries, responds to questions or concerns regarding City programs and services, including an online portal to report a problem with a service and translation services. In 2020:

  • Transitioned to a fully virtual environment for phone and email service while City buildings remain closed
  • Extended service to 7 days per week for the initial months of the pandemic to address significant increases in public inquiries due to COVID-19
  • Assisted over 79,350 residents over the phone
  • Responded to over 15,940 emails and 4,330 web inquiries

 

 Spotlight on Access Richmond Hill Services
 

Access Richmond Hill Advisor Lisa Rotman

The Access Richmond Hill contact centre serves as a single point entry for customer service inquiries and resident concerns about City programs and services. In addition to phone, email and in-person (currently unavailable due to COVID-19) services, they also manage requests through our online service portal, where you can notify the City about missed garbage collection or if a streetlight is out, and can help you schedule specialized services such as large appliance collection. 

Throughout the pandemic, the staff in Access Richmond Hill continued to support the community by transitioning to a virtual environment. In 2020, they delivered accessible and consistent service to 79,350 residents over the phone and responded to over 15,940 emails and 4,330 web inquiries.

"The advisors on this team can take over 100 calls each on a busy day! Whether it’s a question about tax or water bills or an inquiry about recreation programs, I am most proud when I am solving their concerns and providing the information they need to enjoy living in Richmond Hill." – Lisa Rotman, ARH Advisor

Did you know? The advisors in Access Richmond Hill also offer translation assistance for residents who need services in languages other than English.

Recreation and Events - 12 cents

Help to bring the community together through local and citywide events, plus recreation programming across the city. In 2020:

  • Provided fun, safe, virtual events to celebrate Canada Day and First Night
  • Hosted drive-thru Santa Claus parade and drive-in concerts to entertain the community safely
  • Created popular activity kits to keep residents’ creative minds busy
  • Continue to offer virtual programs and online fitness classes plus free resources for ideas on how to stay active at home during the pandemic
Buildings (Arenas, Pools, etc.) - 6 cents

Provide a wide variety of facilities for community use including unique options such as The Wave Pool, Eyer Homestead Ropes Challenge and the Richmond Green Sports Dome.

  • Operate 11 community centres, with pools, fitness centres and meeting space
  • Offer 5 arenas, including the new NHL-sized ice pad at Ed Sackfield Arena
  • Present wide variety of shows at Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts

*facilities were closed or operating at limited capacity for portions of 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions

Public Library - 5 cents

Richmond Hill Public Library provides in-person and digital services for the entire community through four locations, as well as access to learning apps, eBooks and more through our catalogue and website. 

  • Served the community through 1.1 million in-person visits, 1.4 million electronic visits, 709,116 social media visits (2019)
  • 59,093 active cardholders (2019)
  • Loaned 1.2 million print items, 197,369 audio visual items and 678,217 electronic materials (2019)
  • Offered 3,993 programs on a variety of subject areas and interests, which were attended by over 70,000 adults, teens and children (2019)  
Parks and Trails - 4 cents

Provide parks, trails and open spaces for Richmond Hill residents to get outside for fresh air and fun.

  • Maintain 147 parks, 150 kms of trails and 544 hectares of natural areas including 32 km of trails maintained (salted/plowed) through the winter
  • Offer the Richmond Green skate trail, a 250 metre outdoor, looped trail 
  • Maintained trails and parks for safe, physically-distanced use during the pandemic
  • Offered 15 safe and fun splash pads to beat the heat, including the 2020 opening of the new splash pad at David Hamilton Park

Did you know? Richmond Hill parks and trails are beautiful places to see the fall colours? Visit 6 Instagram-worthy Places to See Fall Colours in Richmond Hill to learn more. 

  Spotlight on Urban Forestry
 

The Urban Forestry team takes care of the trees on City property including along streets, in parks and open spaces. The annual tree care program consists of planting, pruning, removals, stumping, insect control, storm damage and more. The team also responds to more than 2,000 requests for maintenance on municipal trees each year. You can report a public tree that needs attention through our Access Richmond Hill portal.

In 2021, the Urban Forestry team is also managing a re-emergence of European gypsy moth, an insect that feeds on the leaves of trees. Long-term effects can be reduced or prevented through management techniques, such as removing gypsy moth egg masses from street and park trees. Watch the video to learn more!

“I have been planting and maintaining the city trees for over 30 years. It is nice to see the trees we have planted develop over time to form mature and healthy tree lined streets. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication the Urban Forestry crews demonstrate day in and day out.”    – Mark Davies, Supervisor, Urban Forestry

Did you know? Richmond Hill staff and contractors plant roughly 1,500 trees on public property every year! These efforts contributed to Richmond Hill being named a Tree City of the World, an international recognition for our leadership in maintaining and growing our urban forest.

Environment Services - 2 cents

Our environmental programming provides residents opportunities to learn about the environment and participate in initiatives to make Richmond Hill stronger and healthier. In 2020: 

Administration and Other Services - 18 cents

Key services like human resources, communicating City business to residents, Mayor and Council Office expenses, procurement, accounting and property tax administration all fall within Administration and Other Services. In 2020:

Planning and Development - 7 cents

Richmond Hill is in a unique position, poised for considerable residential and commercial growth now and well into the future. Planning and development ensure new buildings and land use are safe and appropriate to our growing City. In 2020:

  • Introduced online building permit and tree permit applications to modernize operations and improve customer service
  • Launched an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) System to effectively manage the maintenance of the City’s 50,000 traditional infrastructure assets, 45,000 street trees and nearly 700 hectares of natural forest
  • Implemented Phase 1 of the Planning and Regulatory Management (PRM) System to facilitate operational efficiency and delivery of e-services
  • Began work to update Richmond Hill’s Official Plan
Asset Renewal and Capital Programs - 7 cents

This small portion of your property tax bill goes toward capital projects including the repair or replacement of existing infrastructure, such as roof replacements and other repairs at various City facilities, parks revitalization (playgrounds, artificial turf replacement, etc.) and repairs and reconstruction of local roads (not including regional roads such as Bayview Avenue and Major Mackenzie Drive). In 2020:

  • Celebrated the opening of two modernized community facilities: Ed Sackfield Arena expansion featuring an NHL-sized ice rink, fitness centre and the City’s first indoor walking track and David Hamilton Park including a new splash pad
  • Launched the Lake Wilcox Boardwalk, a suspended 130 metre long and 3 metre wide crescent shaped pedestrian walkway constructed in Lake Wilcox that connects to the existing promenade 
  • Grand opening of the state-of-the-art Oak Ridges Library, a two-storey, 19,000 sq ft facility with meeting rooms, a children’s program room, computer room, Maker Space room, expanded library collection and dedicated areas for children, tweens, teens and adults
Information Technology - 6 cents

In the modern world, it’s crucial for the City to stay up-to-date on information technology, including cyber security to protect City assets and the private information of residents.

 By-law Enforcement - 3 cents

The Community Standards division upholds Richmond Hill’s by-laws to ensure the whole community can enjoy our City. In 2020:

Did you know? Richmond Hill contracts its animal services to the City of Vaughan, which is more efficient for both Cities.