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Burlington’s 2021 Budget Process Underway: Key Dates, Help Inform Budget Priorities

2021 Budget

*Please see below a media release issued by the City of Burlington.

Burlington, Ont. – Dec. 2, 2020 — Work to determine the City of Burlington’s 2021 budget is underway. The budget consists of both an operating budget for the delivery of services to the community and a capital budget to invest in the construction and renewal of city assets and infrastructure. An overview of the capital budget will be presented to Burlington City Council at a Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee meeting on Thursday, Dec 10 at 9:30 a.m. A livestream of the virtual meeting is available on the City’s website, along with a copy of the report being presented (F-42-20).

“The City’s annual budget process provides an opportunity to review existing operations and make investments in key City programs and services. While the pandemic will make the 2021 budget process challenging, the City will work to balance the needs of important programs and services for our city with the uncertainty more waves of COVID-19 may bring; locate opportunities to mitigate the financial challenges; and reduce any overall property tax impact to residents.” — Joan Ford, Chief Financial Officer, City of Burlington

Key meeting dates for the 2021 budget include:

Dec. 10, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.Meeting of Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee:
Capital budget overview report
Jan. 12, 2021 at 1 p.m.Meeting of Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee:
Capital budget review and approval
Jan. 19, 2021Meeting of Burlington City Council: Capital budget approval
Jan. 20, 2021Virtual budget town hall with the community
Jan. 21, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.Meeting of Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee:
Operating budget overview report
Feb. 23 and 25, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.Meeting of Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee:
Operating budget review and approval
March 3, 2021Meeting of Burlington City Council:
Operating budget approval

Proposed 2021 capital budget

The proposed 2021 capital budget is approximately $72.1 million, with a ten-year program of $786.4 million. From the 10-year capital program:

  • 70% is focused on infrastructure renewal projects, e.g. repair, refurbishment or replacement of an existing asset to extend its useful life, in accordance with the city’s asset management plan
  • 16% is for growth projects, e.g. capital to service growth in the city
  • 14% is for new or enhanced projects, e.g. increases to current service levels that are not the result of growth.

A copy of the proposed 2021 capital budget will be available at

Impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on 2021 budget process

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is placing considerable pressure on the city’s financial position with a forecast of over $18 million in revenue losses by the end of 2020. While a large portion of these losses are being mitigated with an on-going expenditure restraint program and support from senior levels of government, the City is projecting an unfavourable variance at year end of over $2.7 million. It is anticipated these challenges will continue to impact city finances until such time as a vaccine is developed and provincial restrictions are fully lifted.

To partially mitigate the 2021 impact of COVID-19 on the city’s operating budget, the planned increase to the city’s dedicated infrastructure renewal levy in 2021 (1.25%) has been temporarily redirected to the operating budget for one year. This will provide $2.18 million of one-time funding to offset the anticipated one-time COVID-19 impacts in 2021, reducing the amount of 2021 capital funding.

City seeking community input

Through the budget process, choices are made to ensure the appropriate balance between affordability, service levels and financial sustainability is maintained. In a challenging budget year where the city has fewer options for how to spend its money, community feedback about which services are a priority for residents is more important than ever.

To gather feedback from residents, the City will be hosting an online survey at, open from Dec. 2 to Jan. 8, 2021.

Residents can also share their ideas and thoughts at a virtual budget town hall on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward, the live event will provide residents with an opportunity to learn more and ask questions about the proposed 2021 budget. More details about the town hall, including a link to join the meeting will be available on in the coming days.

Links and Resources:

*Posted by John Bkila, Mayor’s Media and Digital Communications Specialist

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Media Specialist: John Bkila