Work on the 2019 budget began with the Committee of the Whole (COW) – Budget meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17 with an overview of the 2019 operating and capital budgets to committee.
City staff has proposed a $1.67 million operating budget for 2019 with a city tax increase of 3.99 per cent (1.97 per cent to maintain services, 1.25 per cent for infrastructure renewal, and 0.77 per cent for service enhancements). When you combine the estimated regional and education tax rates for 2019, the increase for a Burlington homeowner will be 2.45 per cent — so, if you own a $500,000 home, you would be paying an additional $99.95 per year, or $1.92 per week.
Take a look at the 2019 operating budget book for a breakdown and more details here: Proposed-Operating-Budget-Book-web
The proposed 2019 capital budget, which also sets out a 10-year forecast, is $96.8 million with a 10-year proposed total of $819.3 million. Take a look at the 2019 capital budget book for a breakdown and more details here: Proposed-2019-Capital-Budget-and-2020-2028-Forecast-web
The City of Burlington also has a dedicated webpage to the Budget available at burlington.ca/budget — there you’ll also find a great video on Budget Basics the City has put together to help you better understand where your money goes (just head to close to the bottom of the page).
Also, be sure to take advantage of the City’s new Open Budget online tool: an app to display the city’s budget data in accessible, easy-to-understand charts, tables and graphs.
MOTION AT COMMITTEE
At the Thursday meeting, I brought forward a motion that was carried unanimously by committee to direct our City Manager to review our current committee meeting cycles and put in (at regular opportunities) meetings where council and staff can discuss and consider government relations matters more proactively and strategically at the Regional, Provincial and Federal levels when the City of Burlington is concerned and for the City Manager to report back at the March 7 COW Workshop Meeting with a plan on how we can accomplish this. (See the end of this blog post for MY TAKES on this motion and the budget.)
OPPORTUNITIES FOR PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
There will be plenty of ways for residents to voice their comments to the 2019 operating and capital budgets, you can:
- register to speak as a delegate at the Thursday, Feb. 7 Committee of the Whole – Budget meeting, which starts at 9:30 a.m. The deadline to register as a delegate for this meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 6 at noon (12 p.m.);
- listen and ask questions during the 2019 Budget Telephone Town Hall that I will host on Feb. 7 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. More details to follow;
- attend in-person the 2019 Budget Town Hall that I will also host on Monday, Feb. 11 at Central Arena, 519 Drury Lane, from 2-3:30 p.m.
- visit www.getinvolvedburlington.ca, where you can take a quick poll, view the Open Budget online tool or ask a question; or
- contact myself at firstname.lastname@example.org or your ward councillor.
UPCOMING KEY DATES
City meetings for the 2019 capital and operating budgets are scheduled for the following dates at Burlington City Hall, 426 Brant St., in Council Chambers, on the second floor:
- Thursday, Feb. 7 at 9:30 a.m. — COW – Budget meeting, delegations from the public on capital and operating budgets;
- Thursday, Feb. 21 at 9:30 a.m. — COW – Budget meeting, proposed capital budget review and approval;
- Monday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. — Council meeting to consider approval of the proposed capital budget;
- Tuesday, Feb. 26 and Thursday, Feb. 28 both at 9:30 a.m. — COW – Budget meeting, proposed operating budget review and approval;
- Monday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m. — Council meeting to consider approval of proposed operating budget.
MY TAKE (ON BUDGET 2019):
Burlington Council will be able to bring our Budget Action Requests (BAR – which are our proposed changes to the budget) in February. I am looking to get this budget under 3 per cent for the city portion without compromising what I believe are city-essential services.
MY TAKE (ON MY MOTION):
We want to be well-positioned to respond to residents’ concerns through government relations at all levels. We have a federal election coming up and we need to be positioned to put Burlington’s requests on the floor. We need to make sure Burlington’s unique needs and voice is represented at all levels of government — and it is so much stronger when it comes through a resolution through one vote here and I have the backing of council behind me. We need to make sure our residents get a share of the money we put out, back in our community. We will have a strategic plan in March on how we will tackle this.