Welcome to the Mayor’s Mailbag – February 2023 roundup.
The Mayor’s Monday Mailbag is a weekly initiative Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward and the Mayor’s Office has launched to share answers to questions from the public we’ve received through our main email inbox at email@example.com or the Mayor’s social media platforms.
At the end of the month, we publish a roundup of those most pressing questions we’ve received in the weeks prior.
Mayor’s Mailbag – February 2023 Roundup
- “What are the City of Burlington service levels for snow-clearing roads, and the use of salt and sand?”
- “How does the City of Burlington help seniors of fixed incomes with their taxes?”
- “Does the City of Burlington help families afford access to recreation programs and other activities?”
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CITY SERVICE LEVELS FOR SNOW-CLEARING & USE OF SALT/SAND
“What are the City of Burlington service levels for snow-clearing roads, and the use of salt and sand?”
Every winter season, the City of Burlington provides snow removal services throughout the city. Our fleet of snow-clearing equipment and crews strive to clear roads and sidewalks as quickly and efficiently as possible. We maintain 1,900 km of roads and 850 km of sidewalks in all.
As snow begins to accumulate, our snowplows clear roads in a priority order based on road classification:
- Primary and secondary roads are plowed when snow accumulation reaches five cm (or two inches); and
- Local residential roads are plowed when snow accumulation reaches 7.5 cm (or three inches) and when primary and secondary road plowing has been completed.
Depending on weather conditions, snowplows and our snow-clearing equipment may need to return to primary roads to keep them clear of snow. We aim to have all roads in the city plowed within 24-hours after the snow has stopped falling.
If residents would like to make a snow-clearing request, we ask they please wait 24 hours after a snowstorm has ended before contacting the City. Our snow-clearing staff concentrate on primary and secondary routes before reaching residential roads. Residents can reach the City during regular business hours by phone at 905-335-7777 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter Response Standards
Burlington, as well as the majority of other municipalities, follow Provincial standards for winter response and snow-pack is permitted under these standards for local roads.
Providing a bare pavement level of service to all local residential streets would be a significant budget impact as it also would require additional equipment resources and result in a considerable increase in the amount of salt used to achieve this change.
The City of Burlington, as well as other Canadian road agencies are required to mitigate salt-use, and increasing its use to achieve bare pavement on local roads would counter this initiative and result in a notable environmental impact.
Sanding vs. Salting
As previously mentioned, the increased use of salt would provide major impacts to the environment and the City’s annual budget.
The City mitigates the use of salt through a number of best practices that include using sand instead or a sand/salt mix where appropriate. The use of sand is an industry-wide practice and its use can be very effective to ensuring safe road conditions.
If residents believe their roads are still slippery after sanding, please contact Service Burlington at email@example.com to report it and staff can go out to investigate the safety conditions and determine what further appropriate actions need to be taken to make the road safe for travel.
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TAX SUPPORT FOR SENIORS ON FIXED INCOMES
“How does the City of Burlington help seniors of fixed incomes with their taxes?”
We appreciate the proposed 2023 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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SUPPORT ACCESSING RECREATION PROGRAMS
“Does the City of Burlington help families afford access to recreation programs and other activities?”
The City of Burlington strives to remove as many obstacles as possible to help all families and children access recreation programs and other activities — and three programs currently help do that.
The City offers financial assistance to individuals or families who qualify when registering for recreation programs. Non-profit community organizations can also apply for fee assistance on behalf of their participants. Fee assistance can be used for:
- Registered programs; and
- Passes and memberships.
To qualify for recreation fee assistance, you must:
- Be a resident of Burlington and provide proof of residency, such as a driver’s license, Ontario photo ID card, utility bill, property tax bill or tenant agreement;
- Have a total net individual or combined family income below the low-income cut off (LICO) and provide current official documentation that shows combined family income, such as a Notice of Assessment T451 form for adult all family members, a Canada Child Tax Benefit Notice or proof of an Ontario Disability Support Program; or
- Be a refugee within your first year of settlement and provide proof of permanent residency and Burlington residency.
Ukrainian newcomers and visitors with federal documentation also are eligible to apply for Recreation Fee Assistance funding. Please call 905-335-7738, ext. 8501 to leave a voice mail, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to start the application process.
Non-profit community organizations focused on social services may also apply for fee assistance on behalf of their participants, for example a local women’s shelter seeking swim passes for residents.
To apply for recreation fee assistance, you can complete the online Fee Assistance Application Form. You will receive notification when your application has been processed.
For more information or questions about applying for fee assistance, call us at 905-335-7738, ext. 8501 to leave a confidential voicemail message. You can also use a fee assistance calculator at burlington.ca/feeassistance to help determine your eligibility. The calculator will help determine whether a family is eligible to apply for the fee assistance.
The Burlington Public Library offers a Community Access Pass. With your library card, you can borrow passes to gain free general admission entry to various local and provincial tourism destinations, such as the Art Gallery of Burlington; Conservation Halton; Joseph Brant Museum; Ontario parks; and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Passes are available at all library branches and it is recommended to always call ahead to the participating organization before your visit to find out if any restrictions are currently in place related to the Community Access Pass.
For more details, please visit bpl.on.ca/services/CAP
Burlington residents in the Grade 5 and Grade 6 can take advantage of the City of Burlington’s Active5 Pass to help them stay active throughout the year.
The pass gives free access to drop-in recreation activities including:
- Open gym time;
- Skating; and
- Recreational Swimming.
You can visit any recreation customer service location with your child to get them an Active5 Pass. You’ll be asked to complete a membership application and for proof of their grade, age and Burlington residency.
For more details and information on applications and any exemptions, please visit burlington.ca/active5
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1 thought on “Mayor’s Mailbag – February 2023 Roundup – City Winter Service Levels, Tax Support for Seniors on Fixed Incomes, & Support Accessing Recreation Programs”
I am a Senior on a fixed income and would like to be able to support the local businesses in Burlington but can’t afford the parking fees so wind up going to Shopping Malls for that reason.