Yesterday evening (March 3), Burlington City Council ratified the City’s operating budget for 2021 (click here for the City of Burlington news release).
This budget, like all budgets, is not owned by any one individual but is rather a true collective effort of council and staff in service to our community.
The 4.14% city-portion tax increase translates to a 1.85% increase to the total tax bill. When combined with the approved Halton Region increase and the Boards of Education, the overall tax increase is 2.5% or $18.99 for every $100,000 of Current Value Assessment for a residential property.
I did not support this budget at the committee meeting last week as I felt we hadn’t completed our discussions to find additional savings. I also believed then, as I do now, that we can do better. We had reasonable options to get the city increase under 4% and leave more money in the pockets of our residents in a very tough year and I consider that a missed opportunity.
With that said, we have done some very good work along the way both individually and collectively.
I appreciate the unique contribution each member of council and staff has made to this budget and want to extend my sincere thanks for that hard work in service of our residents; this budget will provide the resources our staff need to get the job done for our community.
This budget truly focuses on delivering the services our residents count on. We have focused on mitigating risk, including that of COVID-19. We’ve added services in areas where demand has increased: planning and development, tree maintenance, community engagement, snow clearing, and extending free transit for seniors to name a few. We did that while also finding $1.5m in savings, delivering an overall increase of 2.5% in the toughest budget year we’ve ever seen.
Those savings are a direct outcome of aiming to be under 4%. Although we didn’t achieve that goal, it is better to set higher goals and come close — which we did — than set easier goals and meet them. Success is measured more by how much progress is made and how close you get to your target than whether you land exactly where you thought.
I hope our city’s residents will see the value in the resources they entrust to us with this budget. I absolutely do.
For more details about what was approved in the 2021 Operating Budget, please click the link to the City’s news release.
- Burlington City Council approves 2021 operating budget: 2.50 per cent overall tax increase to deliver the city services residents and businesses value
- Burlington Council Approves 2021 Capital Budget with Investments in Renewal of City Assets and Infrastructure