Taxes & spending

Please see the media release below issued by the City of Burlington. Burlington, Ont. — April 26, 2019 — Burlington City Council approved the 2019 Tax Levy Bylaw at its meeting on April 25, 2019. The bylaw allows the City to bill 2019 property taxes and set payment due dates for final tax bills on …

Burlington City Council Approves 2019 Tax Levy Bylaw Read More »

The city’s 2016 capital budget is proposed at $53 million. Of that amount, $1.5 million is for new projects; $44m is for capital asset renewal; and $7.6 million is for projects related to population growth. Projects are divided into 8 asset categories, with roadways taking the vast majority of funding, at $29 million. Next is …

Capital budget proposed at $53m with 6 new funding requests Read More »

City council has approved a 1.3% increase to their salaries. Effective April 1, Council salaries will increase as follows: Councilor salary: from $53,095 to $53,785 Mayor salary: from $121,676 to $123,257 The method for determining any council salary increases was developed by the Citizen Committee on Council Remuneration in 2013. The formula limits increases to no …

Mayor and Council raise approved at 1.3% Read More »

Select roadway improvements in the 2015 capital budget include the following: Lakeshore Road from Maple Ave to the city limit: (Will be completed in conjunction with the Beachway Master Plan) $2.8 million, including $235k for bike lanes. Plains Road East from Fairview St to Brenda Crescent, full road reconstruction and proper storm drainage below the CN …

Road repair coming to your street Read More »

City council has unanimously passed the city’s operating budget with an increase of $5 million in spending, offset by revenues, for a 3.5% increase in the city portion of your tax bill (the capital budget was approved in February with no increase). Over two days of discussions, council shaved roughly $1 million and just over …

Budget approved at 3.5% city increase Read More »

Without an aggressive strategy of job creation, Burlington residents will see their property taxes spike, services cut or development expand into rural areas.

Here’s why: Providing all of the services required for residents – community services and infrastructure for example – far exceeds the tax revenues collected. By contrast, the “industrial, commercial, institutional” tax class – or “ICI” -pays more than double the residential property tax rate, but only costs a fraction of that to service. There can be as much as an 80% profit on industrial taxes, versus a 40% loss on residential taxes.

A balance between residential and ICI tax revenue is critical to municipal health, yet currently, residential taxes account for 82% of Burlington’s tax revenue, versus 18% from the commercial/industrial sector.
Non residential growth has essentially flatlined in Burlington over the past 15 years, while residential growth has almost tripled. Burlington used to see double digit employment growth; now, 2% annual growth is “optimistic.” When residential growth outpaces economic growth, the city is left with three unpalatable choices: cut services, dramatically increase property taxes, or expand development into the rural area.

The majority – 87% – of this year’s requests were approved, either as additions to the base budget or draws on reserves. We need to be more disciplined about saying no and focusing on need to haves, especially in light of the current economic climate.

Though the budget includes several need-to-have items – our contribution to the hospital redevelopment, money for infrastructure, the new Alton community centre and library, and enhanced transit service – it also includes almost $2 million in “nice-to-haves”.

We must do better than a 6.5% increase, and that will require some tough choices.

In March, city council approved a budget that increases our funding for infrastructure and our hospital, resulting in a city tax increase of 3.29%.

My Take: During the election campaign, many of you told me you wanted the city to rein in spending, focus on priorities, and more closely align spending to economic realities. City taxes have increased by a whopping 75% since 2000 – about 5.6% per year, while our population has only grown by 18%, and inflation by 23%. This budget signals a new focus on fiscal restraint while maintaining or enhancing core priorities for our hospital and seniors.

I have learned from a downtown church leader that the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation is targetting some places of worship to assess their community gathering spaces (eg. parish hall) for the purpose of assessing property tax. This has already been done in churches throughout Ontario to disastrous effect.

Many churches offer their community space to local groups; if places of worship will now have to pay property tax on those spaces, the cost will be prohibitive to the church and the community group, and these important activities in our community places of worship will end.

The Ticats are exploring Paletta-owned lands in Aldershot between King and Waterdown roads for a $130 million, 22,000 seat stadium that would also be used for Pan Am games. Just after Christmas, Ticat officials approached Burlington to partner.

There may be public and private funding of about $100 million, leaving a potential “funding gap” of up to $30m for capital costs.

City Hall is increasing taxes at 3 times the rate of inflation to pay for nice-to-have capital projects like the pier. City Hall needs to limit spending: and ideas on how we could rein it in.