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FAQs on the Proposed 2023 City of Burlington Budget

Budget Briefs - FAQs - TW

The City of Burlington’s proposed 2023 budget book is out and we’re building a stronger foundation for our community, not just for this term of Council, but for the next generation.

Staff are recommending an overall tax increase of 7.08% (including Region of Halton and Boards of Education). Of this 7.08%, Burlington’s portion of the overall increase is 5.90%. Click here for staff’s presentation at committee on the proposed 2023 budget overview.

The Community Services, Strategy, Risk and Accountability (CSSRA) Committee will then review the budget on Feb. 6, 7 and 9, making any recommended changes at those meetings. City Council will then consider approval of the proposed 2023 budget on Feb. 14.

We value feedback from our community. Share your thoughts on the proposed 2023 budget by:

We’ve already received some questions from the public on the budget and have compiled some frequently-asked-questions (FAQs) and sharing them below.

The City has also published a recording of the Virtual/Telephone Budget Town Hall that was held on Jan. 19 and posted the questions we received and their responses on getinvolvedburlington.ca/2023-budget. I encourage everyone to visit the webpage and learn more about the proposed budget for Burlington.

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FAQs:

  • Why is the proposed tax increase so high, especially when the rate of inflation is so high?
  • What am I getting for the increase in taxes?
  • The proposed tax increase will be a financially challenge for me/my household — what can those of us on fixed incomes do?
  • What don’t you delay the infrastructure improvements?
  • How can I share my feedback with Council?

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Q: Why is the proposed tax increase so high, especially when the rate of inflation is so high?

A: City Council is preparing to make choices as part of the budget process during budget discussions at committee on Feb. 6, 7 and 9. The budget process is one of the most important exercises the City of Burlington undertakes each year.

Through this process, our goal is to maintain an appropriate balance between affordability, service levels and financial sustainability. For the 2023 Budget, this task is challenging. The City budget is facing a number of pressures:

  • Almost three years of COVID-19 impacts have meant revenue losses and increased expenses. COVID-19 has changed people’s spending behaviours and their use of certain City programs;
  • Higher than average inflation that has led to increasing costs to maintain services to the community; and
  • Aging infrastructure — our City has not kept pace with investing in the services and amenities that our growing community needs like community centres, and ensuring our infrastructure is in a state of good repair for things like our roads, buildings and transportation.

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Q: What am I getting for the increase in taxes?

A: To address these pressures, the 2023 Budget will require us to make key community investments for much needed improvements the community has been asking for, including:

  • New state-of-the-art Skyway Community Centre;
  • Redevelopment of former Robert Bateman High School into a vital community hub; and
  • More City staff to meet the needs of our growing city in bylaw enforcement, transit, animal services, and fire-fighting.

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Q: The proposed increase will be a financial challenge for me/my household — and what can those of us on fixed incomes do?

A: We appreciate the proposed tax increase is certainly higher than what we are used to seeing or what we would like to see. The size of the increase this proposed budget is presenting to the community is not lost on Council or any of the City staff that have helped prepare this budget. We’re in a challenging place and further delaying these much-needed investments will only be a disservice to the community. Pushing these items down the road will only end up costing the community more as the price of things like construction and labour continue to go up.

While the budget presents a big challenge, it also presents a great opportunity to make our city better by making the investments the community needs and has been asking for. This budget is about protecting and improving the future of our growing city.

The City of Burlington’s Low-Income Seniors Property Tax Rebate Program offers a $550 rebate to eligible seniors on their property taxes. This amount was increased in 2021 and is the highest among the three municipalities in Halton that offer a rebate.

To qualify, you or your spouse must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be at least 65 years old, as of Jan. 1;
  • Be the assessed owner and occupant of a residential property in the City of Burlington for at least one year preceding the application;
  • Have received your Guaranteed Income Supplement (as laid out in the Old Age Security Act); and
  • Have paid property taxes in full, excluding the applicable rebate.

More information is available on burlington.ca/propertytax

Halton Region also offers the Older Adult Property Tax Deferral Program. More information is available online: Older Adults Property Tax Deferral Program – City of Burlington

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Q: Why don’t you delay infrastructure improvements and compare our priorities with our neighbouring municipalities?

A: Every municipality has different priorities that are unique and specific to their community’s and residents’ needs.

Delaying infrastructure improvements is not good practice or prudent financing as costs can increase, as can the number of things that need to be repaired, with each delay. Keeping infrastructure in a state of good repair and in a timely manner ensures the public’s safety, reduces the chance of emergency shut downs and helps to avoid costly repairs in the future.

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Q: How can I share my feedback with Council?

A: We know our citizens expect us to maintain a high quality of services as our city continues to grow and evolve and we want everyone to share their feedback with us, so we can continue to deliver on their expectations.

In the coming weeks, City Council will be reviewing the proposed budget on Feb. 6, 7 and 9, starting at 9:30 a.m. There will be opportunities to speak to Council at these meetings and members of the public that would like to delegate can register by calling 905-335-7777, ext. 7481, emailing the Clerks Department at city@burlington.ca or visiting burlington.ca/delegation.

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Administrator

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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