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Burlington’s 2022 Budget Invests in our Community While Managing Impacts of COVID-19

Burlington 2022 City Budget

This has been another difficult budget year due to COVID-19, reduced revenue and rising costs. After three days of deliberations, Council shaved off nearly 1% from the initial proposed tax rate, while still protecting city services and infrastructure investments that matter most to our community. We’re investing more in roads, parks, free transit for seniors, and community space, while adding to our reserves, bringing them to their highest levels ever, and using selective funds to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

Council spent three days of budget deliberations going through Budget Amendment Requests (BARs) brought forward by members of Council. At the start of budget discussions, we sat at a proposed 5.45% increase in the City’s portion of the tax rate, that would translate to an overall tax increase of 3.18% when combined with the Region’s and education tax rates.

After approving several amendments on Nov. 30, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, the increase was 4.62% (City portion), for an overall tax rate of 2.87% (when combined with the Region and Education portions). Council approved this 2022 Budget by a 6-1 majority vote on Dec. 14.

I did work hard alongside my council colleagues to bring the increase down where appropriate.

Of the total reductions council approved of $1.56 million, $1.26 million were based on motions I brought or co-sponsored with another member of Council.

My review and amendments to the budget flowed from several strategic principles, including managing the “now” needs of our City while taking steps towards our long-term strategic goals, and while holding costs until known revenue comes in. My goal was to maintain an appropriate balance between affordability, service levels and financial sustainability, taking into consideration public feedback, ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and protecting and enhancing services of value to our community. Read my two budget memos here, providing the rationale for the changes:

Click here to view all the BARs brought forward by myself and other members of Council, including motion amendments I brought forward/co-sponsored (in blue) and those that were approved (in green), failed (in yellow) or withdrawn (in grey): F-36-21-1 Appendix B – Consolidated BAR Forms.

While we did our best to bring the tax impact down, I recognize it is higher than many residents were hoping for, and higher than I would have liked.

However, we are facing new realities and, in recent months, have received new information from staff about risks to City services that we must plan for. That makes this budget unique from any other before it. Some of the factors leading to this year’s budget include:

  • Ongoing COVID impacts, with reduced revenue due to capacity limits and closures, as well as increased costs due to cleaning, safety measures and extra staffing. The Province has downloaded many costs to municipalities, for example, checking vaccine status at City facilities as required by Provincial legislation. This alone has cost the city close to $400,000. Additionally, municipalities are required to enforce Provincial regulations, so we’ve added more bylaw officers. We support these measures, and are willing to do our part, but there is a cost to the city;
  • Inflationary pressures: inflation currently sits at 4.65%, so this year’s budget has come in below inflation;
  • Increased service needs: with more residents at home during the past two years, more people are renovating their homes. That has led to a 200% increase in building permits. We’ve added staff to accommodate;
  • A growing city: we all take pride in Burlington being the best city in Canada to live, work, play, raise a family and retire. As such, we’ve had strong interest in building homes and businesses here. We have almost 50 applications currently being processed in our planning department. We’ve added 15 staff to accommodate, using fees for service;
  • Growth revenue hasn’t caught up to growth: Burlington surpassed our growth projections for 2031 several years ago, with more people living in existing units. We must serve that population growth with added services and amenities. At the same time, given the complexity and ‘time-to-build’ of these projects, we won’t see the revenue from new developments for several years in terms of new property taxes (assessment growth) and development charges to help pay for required infrastructure like transit, community amenities. Some of my amendments push pause on investments until this revenue materializes;
  • Service reviews: For the first time in my three terms on council, we received detailed reviews by City department of operations, risks and challenges, so we can begin proactive planning and investing for the future. Those services reviews took place over several days in September and October. Starting with this budget, and phasing in over the next five years, we are including “risk mitigation” measures related to this new information; and
  • Investing in human resources: COVID-19 and labour shortages in many sectors have permanently changed the labour market in Burlington and beyond. With people increasingly being able to live further from where they work, we have to do some catch up to remain competitive so we can retain and attract talent to Burlington.

I believe this budget addresses these challenges and plans for the future, by appropriately phasing in costs over multiple years.

I want to thank everyone who joined the conversation about the budget. Your feedback helped guide City Council in our choices throughout the budget process. I would also like to thank my council colleagues and City staff who worked hard to bring forward their very best recommendations to City Council. This budget is a true collective effort of Council and staff in service of our community to deal with our current needs and plan for our future.

For more details and information, please click here for a news release from the City of Burlington, click here for a news release from the Region of Halton on the 2022 Regional Budget, or scroll down for both.

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Burlington City Council Approves 2022 Budget: 2.87% Overall Tax Increase to Maintain City Services & Infrastructure, & Address Continued Pandemic Impacts

Burlington, Ont. – Dec. 15, 2021 — Burlington City Council has approved the city’s 2022 budget. The property tax bill is made up of three portions, the City of Burlington, Halton Region, and the Boards of Education. Combined with a budget increase from Halton Region and no change to education taxes, the overall tax increase is 2.87 per cent or $22.36 per $100,000 of a home’s current value assessment. For example, homeowners with a home assessed at $500,000 would pay an additional $111.80 per year or $2.15 per week.

In comparison to neighbouring municipalities, when looking at a similar type and size of property, the taxes paid in Burlington remain below the group average.

Each year, the City budgets for expenditures in two areas:

  • Spending for the capital budget is based on a ten-year plan and translates to services that have a direct impact on resident daily life, such as developing new parks, renewing existing roadways or revitalizing recreation facilities. The 2022 capital budget is $77.38 million, with a ten-year program of $829.56 million.
  • Spending for the operating budget is for the City’s day-to-day costs, of delivering services such as fire protection, transit, maintenance of parks, and providing recreational programming. The 2022 operating budget is $191.5 million.

Key investment priorities of the 2022 budget

The 2022 budget is focused on:

  • Maintaining and enhancing city services
    • Funding to make the free transit service for seniors pilot a permanent program
    • Operating expenses to support the new Orchard Community Hub, the City View pavilion at City View Park and a new splash pad at Tansley Woods Park
    • One-time funding to support a Gypsy Moth spraying program in 2022.
  • Ensuring the city’s assets are in a state of good repair
    • From the 2022 capital budget:
      • 69% is for infrastructure renewal
      • 10% goes toward growth-related projects
      • 15% is for new/enhanced projects
      • 6% goes towards green projects which support the City’s climate goals.
  • Addressing the continued impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
    • Funding to make the bus cleaning pilot program permanent.

A copy of the approved budget for 2022 will be available online at

“This has been another difficult budget year due to COVID-19, reduced revenue and rising costs. But after three days of deliberations, Council shaved nearly 1% off the proposed tax rate, while still protecting city services and infrastructure investments that matter the most to our community. We’re investing more in roads, parks, free transit for seniors, community space, while adding to our reserves, to the highest levels ever, and using selective funds to mitigate the impacts of COVID.

Thank you to everyone who joined the conversation about the budget. Your feedback helped guide City Council in our choices throughout the budget process. I would also like to thank my Council colleagues and City staff who work hard to bring forward their very best recommendations to City Council. This budget is a true collective effort of Council and staff in service of our community to deal with now needs and plan for our future.” – Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“The 2022 budget mitigates the financial impacts of COVID-19 with temporary cost savings and a one-time funding plan. It maintains city service levels and ensures our assets are in a state of good repair. The budget is forward looking to ensure long term financial sustainability and considers affordability and competitive property taxes to ensure residents continue to receive the programs and services that provide a high quality of life in Burlington.” – Joan Ford, Chief Financial Officer, City of Burlington

Quick Facts:

  • As part of the 2022 budget,the City identified $5.55 million of COVID-19 impacts. These one-time COVID impacts have been fully offset with the one-time COVID funding and do not result in a tax impact. The COVID-19 funding includes $2.64 million Burlington was thankful to receive from the Federal government’s Safe Restart agreement funding program to help municipalities with the impacts of COVID-19, and $2.91 million from the City’s tax rate stabilization reserve fund.
  • The property tax bill is made up of three portions, the City, Halton Region, and the Boards of Education. The city’s budget increase is 4.62 per cent.

Links and Resources:

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Halton to keep taxes low in 2022 while investing in critical services, infrastructure and ongoing COVID-19 response

The Regional Municipality of Halton
For Immediate Release
December 15, 2021

On December 15, 2021, Halton Regional Council approved Halton’s 2022 Budget and Business Plan. The Budget details how the Region will invest in its programs, services and infrastructure, maintain service levels and keep property taxes low in 2022.

“Halton’s 2022 Budget and Business Plan will support the remaining objectives in our 2019-2022 Strategic Business Plan by funding critical enhancements to essential programs and infrastructure. Its investments will help ensure that we can continue to assist residents and businesses through the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. The Budget also delivers on our commitment to keep the property tax increase for Regional services at or below the rate of inflation while preserving our top credit rating and the high quality of life in our community.” —  Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr

The 2022 Budget presents a multi-year financial plan to address the key service priorities identified by Regional Council. It includes a 2.0 per cent property tax increase for Regional services and a 2.5 per cent increase for the Halton Regional Police Service. Combined, the overall Regional property tax increase is 2.2 per cent. It also includes a rate increase of 2.8 per cent for water and wastewater services. In keeping with Halton’s fiscally responsible approach to financial planning, the 2022 Budget identifies savings and efficiencies to provide maximum value for tax and ratepayers.

Some of the key investments include:

  • COVID-19 Response: $13.9 million for additional costs in Public Health, Paramedic Services, Long-Term Care, Children’s Services and Housing, as well as facility and technology-related costs. The majority of this investment is funded by the Federal and Provincial Safe Restart Agreement and COVID-19 Recovery Funding for Municipalities, and additional Provincial funding, resulting in a net cost to taxpayers of $711,000.
  • Public Health & Long-Term Care: $2.0 million to provide needed capacity in Public Health and Long-Term Care, partially funded by anticipated provincial funding resulting in a net cost to taxpayers of $751,000.
  • Halton’s Digital Strategy: $1.3 million to enhance digital services by transforming business processes and services to ensure complete, high-quality online service delivery.
  • Strategic Investments: $2.7 million to maintain service levels and support the objectives, outcomes and actions identified in the Region’s 2019–2022 Strategic Business Plan.
  • Housing Services: $2.1 million increased investment in the Halton Rental Assistance Program to support an increased number of rent supplement units. This investment includes one-time funding resulting in a net cost to taxpayers of $573,000 in 2022.
  • Employment & Social Services: $300,000 to increase food security for Ontario Works recipients and their families.
  • Halton Region Community Investment Fund (HRCIF): $250,000 to meet new and emerging community needs and to continue with recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • State-of-Good-Repair Program: $6.4 million increase in transfers to support the water and wastewater state-of-good-repair capital program.

To learn more about Halton’s 2022 Budget and Business Plan, please visit the Budget and Business Plan page on

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Marianne Meed Ward

Marianne Meed Ward

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

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