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What You Need to Know Before Burlington’s 2020 Budget Talks

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Budget time for the City of Burlington is here with an overview of the 2020 Budget having been presented to the Committee of the Whole earlier this week.

Upcoming key meeting dates include:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 (7:30 p.m.) — 2020 Budget Telephone Town Hall hosted by me (more details provided below);
  • Tuesday, Dec. 10 and Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 (9:30 a.m.) — Budget review and approval at Committee of the Whole; and
  • Monday, Dec. 16, 2019 (6:30 p.m.) — City Council to consider approval of proposed 2020 budget at Council Meeting.

More 2020 Budget details are available on the City’s website.

Backgrounder Proposed 2020 Budget

  • The proposed 2020 budget book consolidates the city’s operating and capital budgets and is presented in a service-based format, identifying the revenues and expenditures by City services.
  • The key areas of focus for the proposed 2020 budget include:
    • providing strategic investments aligned to the City’s four-year work plan, Vision to Focus, and Burlington’s 25-year Strategic Plan;
    • maintaining existing service levels;
    • ensuring City assets are maintained in a good state of repair;
    • making key investments to address climate change impacts; and
    • managing risk and addressing corporate priorities while ensuring competitive property taxes.

Proposed tax increase

The proposed 2020 budget results in a 4% increase to the City’s portion of the tax bill, for items such as:

  • 81% to maintain services;
  • 25% for infrastructure renewal;
  • 55% to address climate change impacts; and
  • 39% to address risk management and other corporate priorities.

Proposed capital budget

The proposed 2020 capital budget is $85.8 million, with a ten-year program of $809.7 million. Some highlights of the proposed 2020 capital budget include:

  • Revitalization of the Skyway Community Recreation Centre;
  • Resurfacing of New Street, between Walkers Line and Burloak Drive;
  • Road reconstruction of the Coldstream Drive area; and
  • Upgrades to Tuck Creek and West Aldershot Creek.

Proposed Property Tax Impact for Residents

  • When combined with the estimated Halton Region and education tax levies, the overall projected tax increase for a Burlington homeowner is 2.44% or $19.38 per $100,000 of assessment.
  • For example, homeowners with a home assessed at $500,000 would pay an additional $96.90 per year or $1.86 per week.

Budget Pressures for 2020

  • Some of the pressures impacting the city’s 2020 budget include:
    • Labour Market and Workforce – Challenges related to attracting and retaining the human resources Burlington relies on to deliver the range and quality of services that residents expect, as the result of: eligible retirements; competing job opportunities within a one-hour commute of Burlington; and a compensation system that is less competitive within the market;
    • Fluctuations in the foreign exchange and changing economic conditions – Purchases made in US dollars for things like fire trucks and software maintenance are subject to fluctuations in foreign exchange. As well, many materials and supplies the City uses in construction are driven by market conditions and, more recently, higher tariffs. This results in the construction price index increasing higher than the rate of inflation, having a significant impact on the capital program; and
    • Managing the needs of maintaining and renewing City infrastructure assets – Forces impacting increasing costs for the renewal of City infrastructure include: escalating construction costs; reductions to capital funding made during the 2019 budget process; changing climate conditions impacting the lifecycle of City assets, such as roadways; and an increase in service and design standards, such as accessibility and environmental, when renewing infrastructure.

Competitive Property Taxes

  • Burlington’s residential property taxes remain below the average when compared to similar homes in municipalities across the Greater Toronto Area.
  • In a comparison of property taxes in municipalities in the Great Toronto Hamilton Area, Burlington’s property taxes are the third lowest for a residential single-family detached home, after Milton and Halton Hills.

2020 Budget Telephone Town Hall

  • An opportunity for public input on the proposed 2020 budget will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. during a telephone town hall hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward.
  • The live, call-in telephone town hall provides residents an opportunity to listen in and ask questions to the Mayor and City staff about the proposed 2020 budget priorities.
  • Burlington residential phone numbers will be randomly selected to be part of the telephone town hall. Please email if you would like to make sure your phone number is included on the call list.
  • More details about the number to call will be available on in advance of the town hall event.

Where can the public find information about the proposed 2020 budget

— Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

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

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3 thoughts on “What You Need to Know Before Burlington’s 2020 Budget Talks”

  1. What about the state of Plains Road which is gradually rattling buses to pieces as they carry their overcrowded passengers to and from Hamilton?
    What about expanding transit so that residents can actually go out for an evening at the movies or in Toronto and actually take a bus home instead of driving and parking somewhere, or so that students and shift workers can actually get home from a weekend or 3 to 11 shift?

    Instead of nickel-and-diming in fear of angry taxpayers, how about putting forward a costed proposal to IMPROVE city services and infrastructure?

  2. We all understand that changing habits isn’t easy. Climate changes require changes in our ways of consuming energy, of transportation, etc. While these changes involve cost increases, there should be savings as well that are generated from a drop of whatever polluting product or service… Are these savings being quantified as well as the cost increase for new “habits”?

  3. For many past years’ annual tax increases ( the City’s ) have been close to double the inflation rate . That fact now seems to be repeated for the 2020/21 fiscal year as inflation has been forecasted at 2 % for the ensuing year. Why are the proposed infrastructure costs not capitalized with expenses amortized over a longer period and with the necessary funds raised via a bond issue capturing today’s low interest rates. The infrastructure projects will benefit future taxpayers which may suggest that they should help to pay for them via the amortization and inclusion in future budgets. The Region blosts of its Triple A credit rating, could we not use it for our financial advantage?

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