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Proposed City of Burlington 2023 Budget: Investing Now to Improve & Protect the Future of our Growing & Changing City

2023 Budget graphic - TW

“This budget invests in the services our growing community needs – while playing catch-up. Growth never fully pays for growth, and the province’s Bill 23 cuts municipal funding for things like community centres, transit, libraries and parks.

Nevertheless, we’re committed to ensuring you get the services you need, now and for the future. We also continue to face ongoing challenges of inflation, revenue loss due to the pandemic and a very competitive labour market. We’ve accounted for that in this budget.

We’re building a strong foundation for our community, not just for this term but for the next generation.” — Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

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

Burlington, Ont. – Jan. 03, 2023 — The proposed 2023 budget is focused on planning ahead and protecting our city’s future.

In presenting the proposed budget, City Manager Tim Commisso and Chief Financial Officer Joan Ford are advising Council that we need to make key community investments now that improve service to residents. While our community continues to grow, our investments in enhancing City services and amenities have not kept pace. We need to maintain and repair city infrastructure. For key services like bylaw enforcement, we are simply not meeting community expectations. The time is now to invest in needed improvements. The 2023 and 2024 budget will both be “catch-up” budgets. This will enable the city to make investments that protect and improve our future.

The proposed 2023 budget recommends an overall tax increase of 7.08% (including Region of Halton and Boards of Education). Of the 7.08% increase to the property tax bill, Burlington’s portion of the overall increase is 5.90%.

On Monday, Jan. 9 at 9:30 a.m., City staff will present the 2023 Budget Overview Report (F-01-23) to the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee of Burlington City Council. A copy of the report and more information is available on burlington.ca/budget

Budget pressures

The 2023 and 2024 budgets will both be challenging.

Today in Burlington, almost three years of COVID-19 impacts have meant revenue losses and increased expenses. Our city has not kept pace with investing in the services and amenities that our growing community needs. This means we need more amenities like community centres to support our residents. The city must continue to invest in our infrastructure such as our roads, buildings and transit busses. Many people feel this impact every day.

Provincial legislative changes (Bill 23) will download the costs of growth to Burlington. This new provincial legislation reduces the City’s ability to collect fees from developers for future growth-related capital costs such as parkland, roads, transit and recreation facilities.

The 2023 proposed budget before City Council will:

  • maintain service levels while recognizing higher than average inflation;
  • address the continued financial impacts of COVID-19;
  • dedicate funding to ensure our $5.2 billion of assets are maintained in a state of good repair;
  • include community investments for the next 50 years such as two new community centers planned to open over the next few years;
  • stabilize and enhance city services and address the immediate need for an updated non-union compensation program that keeps salaries market competitive; and
  • provide more city services to residents and businesses online digitally.

The 2023 proposed budget also directly addresses feedback heard from residents. This includes the need for more bylaw enforcement staff, more animal services staff and education to support our coyote management strategy. It also includes automated speed enforcement to deal with local traffic concerns, additional firefighters and more transit operators. There are key investments in these areas, among others, to better service residents. Learn more at burlington.ca/budget

“The proposed 2023 Budget, that we are presenting to Council for their consideration in the coming weeks, includes many important investments needed now to improve City services and protect the quality of life that Burlington residents enjoy. In addition to dealing with higher inflation and the continued impacts of the pandemic, the City has fallen behind in a number of service areas and requires that immediate additional funding be directed towards infrastructure like roads and parks that  cost more each year to maintain; improving city services like bylaw enforcement, animal control, transit and  fires services; new city services including two new community centers and automated speed enforcement; and ensuring we remain market competitive to attract and retain talented City employees.

As City Manager, I anticipate 2023 and 2024 will be very challenging for Council and I also appreciate these budgets include unprecedented levels of investments that we are asking the community to support.  All City staff have worked extremely hard to prepare a responsible budget for Council to consider and the reality is we need to invest more now to maintain and improve the city services that residents expect in the future. Overall, our proposed 2023 budget results in a total tax increase that is in line with current inflation in Ontario.” — City Manager Tim Commisso, City of Burlington

Opportunities for public engagement

Members of the public can learn more about the proposed 2023 budget and share their feedback in the following ways:

  • Join the virtual 2023 Budget Town Hall, hosted by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward on Thursday, Jan. 19, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Visit getinvolvedburlington.ca to join in and watch the meeting on Jan. 19, or in advance to submit your question.
  • Register to speak to City Council at the Feb. 6 meeting of the Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee where the proposed budget will be reviewed, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Members of the public who would like to speak at the meeting as a delegation can register by calling 905-335-7777, ext. 7481 or visiting burlington.ca/delegation. The deadline to register is noon on Feb. 3, 2023.

“This is a challenging City budget. We are balancing ongoing COVID-19 impacts, facing significant inflationary pressures, maintaining our infrastructure in a state of good repair, and addressing the needs of our growing community which are not fully supported by growth funding. Services and amenities have not kept up with the growth in our community. We are now having to play catch up with our budget.

Our 2023 budget decisions need to focus on community priorities. Our budget is more than dollars and cents. It impacts residents directly through the many City programs and services you receive. Each time you have your road plowed, use a City park or trail, or cool off in a municipal pool or splash pad, you are seeing your tax dollars at work.” — Joan Ford, Chief Financial Officer, City of Burlington

Key dates and milestones for the 2023 Budget

City meetings for the 2023 Budget are scheduled on the following dates at City Hall in Council Chambers, located at 426 Brant St., second floor. All meetings are hybrid and may be attended in person or watched by livestream online at burlington.ca/calendar

Date2023 Budget Item
Monday, Jan. 9 at 9:30 a.m.Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee: Overview of proposed 2023 Budget
Thursday, Jan. 19 from 7-8:30 p.m.Virtual 2023 Budget Town Hall — watch the meeting and ask your questions at getinvolvedburlington.ca/2023-budget
Monday, Feb. 6 / Tuesday, Feb. 7 / Thursday, Feb. 9 at 9:30 a.m.Corporate Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability Committee: Review and committee recommendation of proposed 2023 Budget, including delegations from the public
Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 9:30 a.m.Meeting of Burlington City Council: City Council to consider approval of proposed 2023 Budget

Burlington is a city where people, nature and businesses thrive. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at burlington.ca/subscribe and follow @CityBurlington on social media.

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3 thoughts on “Proposed City of Burlington 2023 Budget: Investing Now to Improve & Protect the Future of our Growing & Changing City”

  1. Burlington transit is very much needed but it might be time to think outside of the box for the Burlington bus system.
    To this end please forward me the last 5 years by year of the capital and operational costs for the bus system.
    Also for the last 5 years by year the income from the Burlington Bus system.
    Please confirm receipt of this request.
    Paul Petit

  2. Peter W. Sangster

    Once Again I remind everyone that Burlington WAS referred to as the Nicest City in Canada to live in.
    WHY can we not continue to be considered that by seeing that our atmosphere is improved by the use of at least one City Bus that runs on Hydrogen.
    Edmonton just announced that it will have a Hydrogen Powered Bus on the Streets by February of this year.
    If Canadian Tire can produce Hydrogen to supply their five warehouse lift trucks with Hydrogen, surely we can supply enough Hydrogen for One City Bus.
    ALSO please replace the Canadian Flag on the former Robert Bateman School that the City has purchased, as a Second Seniors’ Centre and Campus for Brock University.

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Administrator

A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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