Sharman will argue that Critical Staffing Additions of $2,355,289 are necessary

By Pepper Parr

November 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman has always been a big picture thinker that he supports with data.

The following are the motions ward 5 Councillor Paul Sharman has put before Councillor.

Motion for Council to Consider:

Sharman Motion 1: Remove $2,200,000.00 “Multi-year Community Investment Funding (Report CM-03-22)” from the mayor’s budget.

Reason:

Recommend that a decision on the above 2024 budget provision be deferred until staff can formally investigate the development and application of new financing tools including those as outlined in recent BLP workshop held on Sept 18th in support of future community development and deliver attainable housing.

New municipal infrastructure financing tools could potentially be utilized to support provision of major community infrastructure as part of any future plans for development of new strategic growth areas and other communities inclusive of BLP land related partnership opportunities. The development of future communities in collaboration with private sector organizations will most certainly yield significant financial benefits to participating organizations. As such, the opportunity to fully analyze, scrutinize and explore all other options should be considered prior to approving and collecting such a dedicated levy, notwithstanding the need for additional funding does exist for a number of reasons.

An option may include the targeted use of additional long-term City debt properly supported by economic analysis and a project business case to justify such investment. Other options may include creation of public private partnerships (PPP) in co-operation with developers; application of Tax Increment Financing by-laws as allowed for by the Province; and specific funding agreement opportunities with land owners and developers.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager:      none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Sharman Motion 2: Add $2,355,289.00 for the following critical positions to the 2024 budget:

Critical Staffing Additions
2024
Department Financial Mayor’s
/ Business Needs Proposed SERVICE
Case Position New FTE Value Budget Difference GRP
2024-031 Workday/EAMS Training Coordinator 1 $ 109,220 $  109,220 BDS
2024-032 Manager Organizational Development 1 $ 157,373 $  157,373 HR
2024-027 Firefighter (Stn 8) 4 $ 602,837 $ 301,419 $  301,419 EICS
2024-031 Application Analyst – Workday/EAMS 1 $ 136,391 $  136,391 BDS
Workday Analyst 1 $ 124,512 $  124,512 BDS
Data Engineer 1 $ 138,684 $  138,684 BDS
2024-030 Manager of Experience Strategy and Design 1 $ 190,512 $  190,512 BDS
Solicitor – General Litigation, Municipal Law, Insurance Pra 1 $ 190,512 $  190,512 LEG
M365 Product Manager 1 $ 157,373 $  157,373 BDS
Analyst – Compensation 1 $ 124,512 $  124,512 HR
Recruitment Coordinator 1 $ 130,906 $  130,906 HR
Transit Operations Supervisor 1 $ 108,470 $  108,470 CPRM
2024-032 Transit Maintenance Supervisor 1 $ 108,470 $  108,470 CPRM
Operator – Recreation Services 4 PT roles converted to FT 1 $ 100,000 $  100,000 RCC
Platform Administrator 1 $ 157,373 $  157,373 BDS
Web Designer 1 $ 119,562 $  119,562 CR&E
Total Critical Staffing Additions $2,355,289

Reason:

These positions are necessary to sustain the organization by filling critical, much delayed, staff shortages as well as to fulfill business transformation objectives.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager:      none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Sharman Motion 3: Add the following high priority positions to the 2024 budget:

Reason:

These positions are necessary to achieve V2F goals

High Priority Staffing Addition
2024-033 Analyst – Government Relations/Grants 0.5 $      63,006 $      63,006 SR&A
Engagement & Volunteer Coordinator 1 $  119,562 $  119,562 CR&E
Supervisor Customer Experience 1 $  119,562 $  119,562 CR&E
2024-032 Technologist – Field Services 2 $  210,896 $  210,896 CPRM
Traffic Operations Student (increase fro 0.6 $      29,000 $      29,000 CPRM
Urban Forestry Supervisor 1 $  145,406 $  145,406 EICS
2024-031 Product Manager Workday/EAMS 1 $  157,373 $  157,373 BDS
$  844,805

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager:      none

 

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The flow of water from 17 creeks drops 250 metres over a distance of 12 km; much of it passes through the Millcroft community

By Staff

November 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Millcroft Greenspace is an early, state of the art example of Green Infrastructure for stormwater management in Burlington, Ontario.  The floodplain, known as the Millcroft Golf Course, is currently designated as Major Parks/Open Space and was engineered to integrate creeks and naturalized ponds, allowing natural drainage from the nearby escarpment. The greenspace acts as a buffer before runoff continues through southern Burlington to Lake Ontario. The fairways are designed to be 2.5 metres below the rear lot lines of the neighbouring homes, which now benefit from decades of tree coverage and vegetation growth to slow the flow through the channels.

The infrastructure that drains this water in a controlled manner would be seriously disrupted, if not permanently damaged if additional development took place on a community that is currently a flood free place to live.

 

Preserving the mature tree canopy and turf of this greenspace, as well as preventing changes from a proposed infill development to grading and hardening of the surfaces, will help manage the increasing climate change impacts in the area, such as increased precipitation and wind damage. If protected,  this green infrastructure will also continue to manage erosion and clean storm water runoff before it enters Lake Ontario. The Millcroft Greenspace provides a carbon sink with a mature parkland tree canopy for the surrounding roads, rail line, and proposed high density housing development. Furthermore, the  lands have become a wildlife refuge.

The City of Burlington is a major infrastructure corridor (QEW, Hwy 407, CN, CP and GO transportation, Hydro and Enbridge Gas Pipeline).  Wedged between the top of the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario, significant stormwater drainage passes through the City in its 17 creeks. The area is also characterized by a significant drop in elevation of over 250m in only 12km.

Stormwater management and green infrastructure are essential strategies to address flooding issues identified by the Intact Centre for Climate Adaptation (University of Waterloo).  Currently, approximately 10% of Burlington homes experience flooding and the city  experienced one of the five worst Canadian floods in 2014.

 

Click HERE to donate

Related news stories:

Two groups; same objective

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Governments have several options at their disposal to stabilize rents

By Ricardo Tranjan

November 19th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

Governments have several options at their disposal to stabilize rents. They can remove profit from the equation, regulate the market so that increases don’t outpace inflation or give incentives to the private sector and hope that enough construction will bring down costs to tenants.

The last approach is costly and the least sure to succeed. Yet that’s the one the federal government has chosen. Again.

Relying on the private housing sector is a well-established tradition in Canada. Historian John C. Bacher documented how Canadian governments half-heartedly experimented throughout the 20th century with some of the non-market models successfully implemented in Europe, but always favoured incentives to private developers.

The upshot is that the share of all non-market housing in Canada is four per cent – one of the lowest among countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (the OECD).

Vancouver-based real estate investment firm CPI Capital and its team of 14 is currently overseeing the development of 71 detached single-family homes that are being built to rent.

Urban geographer Alan Walks of the University of Toronto and his colleagues have argued that Canada has played a more active role in backing mortgage loans than governments elsewhere.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC), the national housing agency, led the way on mortgage-backed securities, whereas in other countries, private financial institutions assumed these risks. This helps explain why Canada was among the few nations that did not experience bank failures during the 2008 financial crisis.

Current housing policies continue to favour the market despite uncertain outcomes.

The National Housing Strategy (NHS), approved in 2017, emphasized providing private investors with cheap loans. In return, landlords rent a share of newly built units at a discount, usually 20 per cent below average market prices, but only for a limited time – 10 to 20 years.

That hasn’t worked so well. Cheaper loans haven’t significantly boosted rental construction and the discounted units are still too expensive.

A study commissioned by the National Housing Council found that only 19 per cent of units funded through these loans are affordable to moderate-income households. Only three per cent are within the reach of low-income households.

We now have a new federal housing minister, Sean Fraser, but the government’s fundamental approach to policy remains the same.

Fraser’s main policy plank so far is to double down on incentives to the private sector. In September, he announced a GST rebate on the construction of apartment units at a cost of $4.6 billion over six years. That’s an average of $770 million annually. This is significantly larger than current investments in non-market housing.

A 2023 parliamentary budget office report says a one-time investment of $1.5 billion in the government’s Rapid Housing Initiative would create 6,000 units for vulnerable populations at risk of homelessness. This crucial program funds the most expensive units needed in the housing system. Still, Ottawa could create an additional 3,080 units annually, on an ongoing basis, with the $770 million it’s foregoing annually via the GST rebate.

The same report indicates that a $500-million one-time grant, coupled with a $1-billion loan, would result in 6,000 new co-op units. These units are cheaper because co-ops repay the loan over time. The same $770 million a year could help build more than 8,000 co-op units annually (including the estimated cost of administering the loan).

Ricardo Tranjan, PhD, is a political economist and senior researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. He is the author of two books: a scholarly analysis of Participatory Democracy in Brazil (2015) and the national bestseller The Tenant Class (2023). A frequent media commentator in English and French, he lives in Ottawa.

 

 

 

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Councillor Stolte wants $4.5 million for Strategic Land Acquisition Reserve Fund

By Pepper

November 18th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

The following motions were submitted by Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stolte as amendments to the Mayor’s Budget.

Motion for Council to Consider:

Add the Data Engineer and Solicitor positions under the Burlington Digital Services (2024-030) with a total value of $329,196 to the 2024 Budget.

Reason:

These positions are the most critical for the Burlington Digital Services team at this time.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk:  none

City Manager:  none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Add 2 additional Firefighter positions (for a total of 4) for Station #8 (2024-014) with a total additional cost of $301,419 to the 2024 Budget.

Reason:

These positions are the critical for the Burlington Fire Department at this time.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk:  none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Increase the provision to the Strategic Land Acquisition Reserve Fund by a further $4,500,000 in the 2024 Budget.

Reason:

Land is a strategic and valuable asset to the city that is leveraged and planned for based on existing and future Council and community expectations.

As the City continues to grow, and expand levels of service, land is the enabler to enhancing community benefit, expanding city operations and effectively managing community growth and development opportunities.

We are in a Housing Crisis in Burlington with residents unable to afford adequate housing.

An integral part of the success of the Attainable Housing Strategy is the commitment to make strategic land acquisitions and work with community partners to create more attainable housing options.

The Strategic Land Acquisition Reserve Fund relies on the operating budget to replenish the reserve fund.

The existing uncommitted June 30 balance in this reserve fund is $1,427,218.00 The provision to the reserve fund for 2024 is $370,000.

This funding is pivotal in contributing to future strategic land purchases as it is the city’s primary reserve fund to plan for strategic land acquisitions.

Land purchases require large upfront investment, and this reserve fund does not have the capacity to handle large one-time cash transactions. An increased annual provision will make a considerable difference in building the City’s only land acquisition (not related to parks) reserve fund.

The guiding principles of our long-term financial plan of, responsible debt management, and efficient use of reserve and reserve funds have always been maintained in developing creative, and effective financing strategies that have not put undue pressure on our capital or operating budget or our debt capacity.

This increased provision to the Strategic Land Acquisition Reserve Fund will match the existing commitment to the Asset Management Levy as well as allow for the funds allotted to the Multi-Year Community Investment Plan to be focused on delivering enhanced community benefits related to community, recreation and cultural facilities, site amenities to address projected community growth to year 2051 (including the provision of City services related to future development) as well as projects necessary to fulfill other vital Master Plans such as new fire halls and active transportation amenities.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk:none

City Manager:  none

 

Motion for Council to Consider:

Add the Application Analyst and Training Coordinator positions under the Enterprise Business Service Support (2024-031) with a total cost of $245,611 to the 2024 Budget.

Reason:

These positions are the most critical from a staff support basis to the Enterprise Business Service.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk:  none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Add 5 positions (Transit Operations Supervisor, Transit Maintenance Supervisor, Urban Forestry Supervisor, Coordinator IT Contracts and one Traffic Operations Technician) under the Human Capital Investments initiative (2024-032) with a total cost of $604,184 to the 2024 Budget.

Reason:

These positions are the most critical regarding the Human Capital Investments Initiative.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk:  none

City Manager:  none

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Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns submits six Motions to revise the Mayor's Budget

By Pepper Parr

November 18th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The following are the Notices of Motion submitted by Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns

Motion for Council to Consider:

Add the following 6 positions with a total cost of $970,845 to the 2024 Budget.

Manager Experience Strategy and Design $190,512 Key Investment – Burlington Digital Services
Data Engineer $138,684 Key Investment – Burlington Digital Services
Platform Administrator $157,373 Key Investment – Human Capital Investments in Stabilizing Operations
Application Analyst – Workday / EAMS $136,391 Key Investment – Enterprise Business Services Support
Product Manager – Workday / EAMS $157,373 Key Investment – Enterprise Business Services Support
Solicitor – General Litigation, Municipal Law, Insurance Practice $190,512 Key Investment – Burlington Digital Services

Reason:

All items if left not accommodated will result in the following: Digital transformation stagnation, workforce enablement challenges, service delivery inefficiencies, underutilized investments, security and compliance risks, impaired organizational performance, reduced engagement in service design and improvement, deterioration of employee experience, difficulty in adapting to technology changes, challenges in system maintenance and upgrades.

Motion Seconded by: Not Required

Share with Senior Staff

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Remove item Multi-year Community Investment Funding (Report CM-03-22) with a value of $2,200,000 from the 2024 Budget.

Reason:

Recommend that a decision on the above 2024 budget provision be deferred until staff can formally investigate the development and application of new financing tools including those as outlined in recent BLP workshop held on Sept 18th in support of future community development and deliver attainable housing.

New municipal infrastructure financing tools could potentially be utilized to support provision of major community infrastructure as part of any future plans for development of new strategic growth areas and other communities inclusive of BLP land related partnership opportunities. The development of future communities in collaboration with private sector organizations will most certainly yield significant financial benefits to participating organizations. As such, the opportunity to fully analyze, scrutinize and explore all other options should be considered prior to approving and collecting such a dedicated levy, notwithstanding the need for additional funding does exist for a number of reasons.

An option may include the targeted use of additional long-term City debt properly supported by economic analysis and a project business case to justify such investment. Other options may include creation of public private partnerships (PPP) in co-operation with developers; application of Tax Increment Financing by-laws as allowed for by the Province; and specific funding agreement opportunities with land owners and developers.

Motion Seconded by: Not Required

Share with Senior Staff

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Add a Seasonal Downtown Beautification Coordinator position with a total cost of $27,807.80 to the 2024 Budget.

Reason:

A gap in maintenance has occurred during the high season in downtown Burlington that will require a coordinated effort between the BIA and Staff. Ongoing construction projects, micro garbage areas, increasing frequency of vandalism and a noted increase in discarded drug needles is requiring a proactive and collaborative approach to cleanliness between the BIA and Staff. The BIA will also be seeking additional outsourcing for private property graffiti removal. Increasing challenges with unkept construction signage is eroding the downtown experience. See Appendix A.

Monitor public areas and report any issues to appropriate regional or municipal authorities, including but not limited to: illegal dumping, overflowing garbage receptacles, weeds, flooding, tripping hazards, etc.

Conduct daily micro-litter cleaning throughout the district, tracking and measuring the amount of garbage collected.

Assist with identification of tagging, graffiti and related vandalism across the public realm downtown.

Provide outdoor activation assistance to partner organizations and BIA-led projects that animate the public realm.

Work with staff to create and implement tactical work plans that ensure activities have measurable objectives, timely tactics and outcome-driven measurement.

Tasks:

Pickup up micro-litter and debris from sidewalks, curbs and park edges, tracking and measuring the amount of garbage collected

Regular light weeding of tree wells and sidewalks

Inventory instances of graffiti/vandalism and assist in remediation measures through BIA

Assist with coordination of public realm activations by funded partners, including daily installation and/or removal of tables & chairs

Motion Seconded by: Not Required Share with Senior Staff

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Add 2 additional Firefighter positions (for a total of 4) for Station #8 (2024-014) with a total additional cost of $301,419 to the 2024 Budget.

Reason:

 Council endorsed the Fire Master Plan (2022) BFD-03-22 with instruction to the Fire Chief to incorporate the investments recommended into the 2023 Budget and multi-year financial simulation.

Chief to submit requests for increased resource needs as part of the City’s annual budgeting established processes. The recommendation for eight firefighters were to be phased in across two years – 2023 and 2024. (Fire Master Plan Section 8.11.1, 8.12.1)

  • Hiring eight firefighters to increase the existing total career suppression complement from 172 to 180 firefighters (support minimum staffing needs at Station 8) (Immediate Priority phased over two budgets)

Operational efficiencies are achieved when training is conducted as a quad.

Overtime actuals have greatly surpassed overtime budget materially trending upward since 2018, with the investment in four firefighters the trend is expected to reverse.

Improved employee health and well-being through appropriate staffing levels.

Assists in closing the gap on recommended 1FF:1000 Pop resulting in improved safety & response time, fire suppression, public safety and hazard mitigation.

It is the conscientious to do

Motion Seconded by: Not Required Share with Senior Staff

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager:      none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Add the following 7.1 high priority positions with a total cost of $844,805 to the 2024 budget:

Reason:

These positions are necessary to achieve V2F Goals.

High Priority Staffing Addition
2024-033 Analyst – Government Relations/Grants 0.5 $      63,006 $      63,006 SR&A
Engagement & Volunteer Coordinator 1 $  119,562 $  119,562 CR&E
Supervisor Customer Experience 1 $  119,562 $  119,562 CR&E
2024-032 Technologist – Field Services 2 $  210,896 $  210,896 CPRM
Traffic Operations Student (increase fro 0.6 $      29,000 $      29,000 CPRM
Urban Forestry Supervisor 1 $  145,406 $  145,406 EICS
2024-031 Product Manager Workday/EAMS 1 $  157,373 $  157,373 BDS
$  844,805

Deputy Mayor identified risks to Community Engagement & Partnerships:

Re: Engagement & Volunteer Coordinator if not accommodated would support only 1.25 positions across the corporation dedicated to engagement. This approach does not allow for backfill, sustainability or the ability to conduct both the engagement and volunteer portfolios – one would require elimination. Customer service would recognize the most impactful decline in (internal and external) due to a loss of engagement opportunity currently rated as a high standard. Continuity of operations ensuing critical priorities continue to be supported, or a consistent, reliable approach that departments expect.

In 2023 staff in engagement and volunteers area had a direct role in 62 projects YTD. The current contract position supports some of the busiest departments such as

Recreation, Community and Culture, Roads, Parks and Forestry, Finance, Clerks, Transportation and Transit. In addition to these departments, significant projects such as the Resident Roster, One Brand, ward boundary review, complete communities, Food for Feedback, Former Robert Bateman High School and many others that are scheduled for 2024. In addition to this, this position plays a key role in maintaining the city’s engagement portal and calendar. There is a risk of projects such as the Resident Roster being deferred or less than optimal standards of engagement for the client department and the other larger projects should the position not be approved.

The above would be occurring in light of the renewed Community Engagement Charger activities.

Motion Seconded by: Not Required

Share with Senior Staff

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk:  none

City Manager:      none

Motion for Council to Consider:

Redirect $50,000 of funding from the City Bench program in 2024 to the Infrastructure Renewal Reserve Fund and request that the Mayor consider inclusion of City Bench program in the 2025 Budget.

Reason:

 This project is to implement the placement of new benches throughout the City. New bench locations will be determined annually by Council members. Bench location requests are often solicited in the early part of the year and installed in the late summer. There are a number of limitations on where a bench can be installed per report ES-40- 21 Appendix A.

Whereas this can be viewed as one way to engage with community members, in a year with significant pressures on capital and staff capacity I believe these should be considered net new infrastructure as this is above and beyond the City’s bench installation and replacement plan.

It is important to note that Hydro Corridors were not candidates in the 2023 Councillor’s Bench program and are under review. It is also important to note that while a choice of Black or Pride Rainbow are both options for benches, there are many ways to signal support to the LGBTQIA2S+ Community across the city.

A pause on this program can also assist Staff with improved well-being and corporate culture as it is a significant effort to communicate, administer, engineer, site visit and procure this initiative through Engineering Services Landscape Architect staff.

Lastly, I view this as an increase in service or capital investment as these are above and beyond what Staff recommend. The Budget Town Hall reported only 22% support for increase in city service.

Question #2- Would you like to see City service increased, stay current or decrease?   362 votes

  • Increase- 22%
  • Stay- 67%
  • Decrease- 11%

Motion Seconded by: Not Required Share with Senior Staff

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk:  none

City Manager:      none

 

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Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith submits six Motions to amend Mayor's Budget

By Staff

November 18th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

Ward 1 Councillor Kelvin Galbraith

The following are the Notice of Motions Councillor Kelvin Galbraith, Ward 1 has submitted

Motion for Council to Consider:

Reduce the dedicated infrastructure renewal levy funding in the 2024 budget by $1,000,000.

Reason:

We are making significant investments in infrastructure already, but considering the high budget that we are facing, I think we can start to increase this up to 2% more gradually than hitting that target this year.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

 Reduce the Multi-year Community Investment Plan funding in the 2024 budget by $1,000,000 (item 2024-015).

Reason:

I am fully supportive of the master plans that this fund supports, but I am hopeful that many of the new applications and development charges that come with them will support the new infrastructure – especially around the new MTSA’s. I am expecting many of these new applications to be approved and begin within the next 2-3 years.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

 Remove item 2024-020, Winter Maintenance of School Cross Walks, with a value of $88,000 from the 2024 budget.

Reason:

Continue with the current level of service.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

 Remove item 2024-022, Expansion and Customer Experience in Community Gardens, with a value of $38,200 from the 2024 budget.

Reason:

Allow for volunteers to run the program as much as possible.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

 Add item 2024-030, Burlington Digital Services, with a value of $677,081 to the 2024 budget.

Reason:

Council has been looking for data and KPI’s in all departments, so we are able to make better decisions about our HR investments into the future. The Data Engineer position has been deemed a very important piece of that data collection and we do not have the capacity to produce this without the staff to support it. Also, as we heard from our internal legal counsel, we will be spending upwards of $600 per hour for an external lawyer when we could use the assistance in-house for all legal work by having our own internal staff that have the expertise in the domain of digital contracts, subscriptions, and intellectual property rights.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk: none

City Manager: none

Motion for Council to Consider:

 Add item 2024-031, Enterprise Business Services Support, with a value of $527,496 to the 2024 budget.

Reason:

Council has approved software investments of $21 million dollars and needs to support that with appropriate staffing. Workday is the software that will give us the internal data that we need to make better decisions.

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk:  none

City Manager: none

 

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What Councillors want to do for you - or to you; take your pick - with their Motions to amend the Mayor's Budget

By Pepper Parr

November 18th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

We have begun the process of setting out what each Council member of Council  is doing for you or to you with their Notices of Motion; the process that has Council debating the changes they want to see made to the Mayor’s Budget which is now public.

This is a complex subject and the approach to getting a budget in place is just as complex.

The Notices of Motion for Kelvin Galbraith ward 1 Councillor and for Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns are about to be published; the others will follow.

There are a number of links below that will help you get the background information you might find useful.

Related news stories:

Mayor’s Budget

How the Strong Mayor powers work

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Staff submit a Motion to amend the Mayor's Budget

By Staff

November 18th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

This first Motion to amend the Mayor’s Budget was submitted by the Finance and Transit departments

2024 Budget Amendment

FROM:                       Transit & Finance Departments

Motion for Council to Consider:

Amend the 2024 budget for the Conventional Transit Service to reflect a $238,000 increase in fare revenue, a $200,000 increase in advertising revenue and a $200,000 increase in diesel expenditures resulting in a net decrease to the 2024 budget of $238,000.

Reason:

Since the time staff finalized the draft 2024 Budget for the Conventional Transit Service additional analysis has been undertaken and new information has come forward.

Based on strong ridership trends in the latter half of 2023, staff are now forecasting 2023 revenues to meeting the 2023 budget of $5.4M. As a result, it is recommended that the 2024 Budget for fare revenues be increased by $238,000. This reduces decreased transit fare revenues identified on page 722 of the Financial Needs and Multi-Year forecast book from $353,000 to $115,000.

Subsequent to the time the draft budget was prepared a competitive bid process has been finalized to secure a new bus shelter advertising partner. While the results of this procurement are still being finalized, they are nearing completion. Based on the preliminary results, staff are recommending that the budget for advertising revenues be increased by $200,000.

Staff have recently undertaken a further review of diesel expenditures. Based on recent trends and forecasted elevated fuel prices into 2024 it is recommended that the 2024 Diesel budget be increased by $200,000.

Motion Seconded by: Not Required Share with Senior Staff

Approved as per form by the City Clerk,

Reviewed by the City Manager – In accordance with the Code of Good Governance, Council-Staff Relations Policy and an assessment of the internal capacity within the City to complete the work based on a specific target date (quarter/year).

Comments:

City Clerk:          none

City Manager: none

 

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Procedure for passing a budget with Strong Mayor Powers being used.

By Pepper Parr

November 18th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Now that the setting a budget process is being determined by the Strong Mayor powers that Mayor Meed Ward is going to use, here are the rules that City Council has to follow.

It should be said that the using of Strong Mayor powers is something Mayor Marianne Meed Ward chose to use – there was no requirement for her to do so even though she continues to say that she is required to do so.  A number of municipalities have decided not to use the Strong Mayor Powers; Guelph is one example.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

The head of council is required to propose the budget for the municipality each year by February 1.

The head of council must share the proposed budget with each member of council and the municipal clerk, and make it available to the public. If the head of council does not propose the budget by February 1, council must prepare and adopt the budget.

Mayor Meed Ward produce her budget on GET THE DATE

After receiving the proposed budget from the head of council, council can amend the proposed budget by passing a resolution within a 30-day review period.

Members of Council have produced Notices of Motion setting out what each would like to see changed.  They will be debated on November 21st and 23rd. There are 54 Motions.

The head of council then has 10 days from the end of the council review period to veto any council amendment. To veto a council amendment, the head of council must provide written documentation of the veto and rationale to each member of council and the municipal clerk on the day of the veto. Council then can override a head of council’s veto of a council amendment with a two-thirds majority vote, within a 15-day period, after the head of council’s veto period.

There are mechanisms in place to enable council and the head of council to shorten their respective review, veto and override periods. For example, council could pass a resolution to shorten their review and override period, and the head of council could provide written documentation to members of council and the municipal clerk to shorten the veto period.

At the end of this process, the resulting budget is adopted by the municipality.

Municipalities were given Strong Mayor Powers on July 1st, 2023

The information we have provided comes directly from HERE

In-year budget amendments

The head of council is also able to initiate and prepare in-year budget amendments to raise additional amounts from property tax. The head of council may propose the budget amendment by sharing the proposed budget amendment with each member of council and the municipal clerk, and making it available to the public.

After receiving the proposed budget amendment from the head of council, council can amend the proposed budget amendment by passing a resolution within a 21-day review period. The head of council then has 5 days from the end of the council review period to veto any council amendment. To veto a council amendment, the head of council must provide written documentation of the veto and rationale to each member of council and the municipal clerk on the day of the veto. Council then can override a head of council’s veto of a council amendment to the proposed budget amendment, with a two-thirds majority vote, within a 10-day period, after the head of council veto period.

There are mechanisms in place to enable council and the head of council to shorten their respective review, veto and override periods. For example, council could pass a resolution to shorten their review and override period, and the head of council could provide written documentation to members of council and the municipal clerk to shorten the veto period.

At the end of this process, the resulting budget amendment is adopted by the municipality.

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Burlington resident thinks a better presentation of budget numbers is necessary - Asks, How will this tax hike make my life better.

By Eric Stern

November 17th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The following opinion piece first appeared in the Hamilton Spectator earlier this week.

Albert Einstein said, “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”  If Einstein had lived in Burlington he might have said “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the property tax.”

Being fair to the city, there are two budgets for 2024. The first is called the 2024 Financial Needs and Multi Year Forecast, the second is called the mayor’s proposed budget. For me, the budgets look like a dog’s breakfast; a mix of numbers that most people could hardly make sense of. Any numbers I use here are only from the mayor’s proposed budget.

In Burlington, city, regional and school taxes are mixed into one bill and most of us just look at how much we pay. Joan Little wrote in her recent Hamilton Spectator column, “the increase to the city’s portion of the total tax bill is 4.99 per cent.” Little read this in the mayor’s proposed budget. I thought, 4.99 per cent is close to inflation, so great job everyone.

Meanwhile, in the back of my mind, my bulls–t detector was beeping like a Geiger counter in Chernobyl. After plugging the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet, I found “the city’s revenue from property taxes will increase by 10.21 per cent. It is amazing what a difference a few words can make. I decided to speak (delegate) to the city council about this increase. Long story short, a city staffer confirmed the city’s revenue from property taxes will increase by 10.21 per cent in 2024.

Is impact a unit of measure? City Staff told Stern the tax increase was going to be 10.21% more than the previous year – see the chart below.

In terms of a household budget, everyone I know looks at what they expect to earn next year and what they expect to spend. The mayor’s proposed budget doesn’t show us anything complicated like that.

When you mix a 10.21 per cent increase in with regional and school taxes you do get the mayor’s 4.99 per cent impact number. Maybe the Mayor should keep on going and mix in income taxes, GST, the carbon tax, etc. Put this way, our property taxes become a very small slice of the total taxes we pay.

Our taxes pay our councillors’ salaries. While I don’t have any hopes for our federal or provincial politicians, I thought these people, who live in our city, and may even be our neighbours, might treat us with respect.

The Town of Oakville manages to show things like increase, impact, revenue and spending. This information is front and centre in its budget document.

If you can find your property tax bills from 2022 and 2023, look at the municipal taxes you paid and work out the increase. My increase was 15.5 per cent.

So, the city’s property tax revenue increased by 15.5 per cent in 2023, and now the mayor wants another increase of 10.21 per cent for 2024.

The impact of a tax isn’t the important number – it is the amount of the tax that concerns people and in the graphic above it is clearly set as 10.21%

Please understand, I am not necessarily against these increases, we live in a beautiful city with great services. For two days I watched city staff present their budget needs to city council and I just didn’t get it; they have to find a better way of explaining how all this additional money will make life better for the people of Burlington.

We live in an age of sound bites. The headline on the mayor’s website reads “Burlington mayor’s budget proposes 4.99 per cent city tax impact.” I hope I have been able to untangle this statement. You can make up your own mind about how our mayor communicates.

In my opinion, Burlington should start sharing important budget numbers like revenue, spending, and taxation in a way the media and taxpayers can easily find and understand them. I hope this request won’t require the city to use expensive consultants, instead they could look at what Oakville is doing and just do the same thing.

 

Eric Stern moved to Burlington at age 1 and has lived and worked in Burlington for most of his life. A software developer by profession, Eric started and ran a small software company for about 20 years.

He is retired, a volunteer with the Junior Achievement Organization. He  started a software company in 1998 that was acquired in 2016, it never grew beyond six employees. Stern describes himself as “comfortable but no Bill Gates.”

 

 

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Members of Council put forward 54 motions to revise the Mayor's budget - they will be debated on Tuesday

By Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2023

                        BURLINGTON, ON

 

There are a total of 54 Motions from members of Council for changes they would like to see made on the Mayor’s Budget.

They are listed in the document below.  The type is rather small – run your cursor over the image to enlarge it.

There is an Appendix that provides detail on the impact each of these Motions would have on the budget – they will be published later in the day.


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City Clerk's Office backs down on requiring content of a delegation before it is spoken to at a Council Meeting.

By Pepper Parr

November 17th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

In a recent notice included in the instruction on delegating to a Standing Committee meeting, the Clerk’s Office included the following:

“It is recommended that virtual delegates include their intended remarks, which will be circulated to all members in advance, as a backup to any disruptions in technology issues that may occur. If you do not wish to delegate, but would like to submit correspondence, please email your comments to clerks@burlington.ca. Any delegation notes and comments will be circulated to members in advance of the meeting and will be attached to the minutes, forming part of the public record.”

Old dogs can learn new tricks – but you have to be very firm with them.

For a period of time the City Clerk was requiring delegates to send their delegation before appearing in front of Council.  That over-bearing, authoritarian stand appears to have been leavened by the realization that it wasn’t going to work.

For those who might struggle with the word leavened: quality or element that permeates and modifies or transforms something for the better.

Just shows you can teach an old dog new tricks – but you have to keep your eye them all the time.

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Bombers are staying at the Waterfront Hotel

By Staff

November 17th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Learned from a reliable Gazette reader that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are staying at the Waterfront Hotel readying for Grey Cup game on Sunday.

Anyone know where they are practising?

There is a decent field behind the former Bateman High school.

 

 

And will the cheerleaders be part of what we see on the field in Hamilton on Sunday?

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Red coated sentries will guard Spencer Smith Park during the Festival of Lights

By Staff

November 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It all comes together at 4:00 pm on November 24th when Lakeshore Road west of Brant suddenly lights up and Spencer Smith Park is  guarded by red coated sentries.

It is the beginning of the Annual Festival of Lights and will run from November 24, 2023 to January 8, 2024 from  4:00 PM to Midnight daily.  There will be extended hours (all day & night) on Christmas eve, Christmas Day, Orthodox Christmas, New Years Eve.

The lights don’t just pop out of the ground.  They are assembled by volunteers who run cable and put up the various parts of each exhibit.

It is one of those kits where some assembly is required.

A volunteer brings the sentries to attention preparing to stand guard over Spencer Smith Park.

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Dinovember PA Day at the Library - November 24th

By Staff

November 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

To REGISTER click HERE

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Louis Riel celebrated by the province: It took us long enough

By Staff

November 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

 “On this day in 1885, Louis Riel, an elected Métis leader and founder of Manitoba, was executed for treason.

“We must cherish our inheritance. We must preserve our nationality for the youth of our future. The story should be written down to pass on.”

Looking back, we now recognize him as a highly skilled and visionary politician, a capable negotiator, and a committed advocate for the Métis Nation. Notably, he also served as an elected member of the House of Commons, contributing significantly to the political landscape of his era.

Riel is now seen as a defender of rights and a champion of Indigenous language and culture. Métis communities across Canada celebrate Louis Riel for preserving their identity, political contributions, and history.

As the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) marks its 30th anniversary, we celebrate the significant contributions of Métis people, including Louis Riel, to the fabric of this country.

To honour Louis Riel Day, representatives from the Métis Nation of Ontario will be raising the Métis flag used by MNO at Queen’s Park today. I encourage all Ontarians to take the opportunity to learn more about Riel and the Métis Nation, exploring their history, culture, and valuable contributions.”  It isn’t a pleasant story

The only comment that can be made today is: It took us long enough.

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How to make $10 donation result in $62.50 of fresh food and groceries - Food for Life wants to show you how they do that

By Staff

November 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The holidays are a joyful time for many of us. Food is often a cherished part of the season — cooking and baking from family recipes and sharing it with loved ones.

Unfortunately, the holidays can be stressful and disappointing for some in our community. We’ve seen our neighbours struggling with rising costs, including rent and food. Some find they need food support for the first time in their lives.

Today, you can increase your impact through an exciting opportunity. When you make a holiday donation to Food for Life, it will be matched up to $100,000 by The Sprott Foundation, doubling its value.

Please don’t delay: for your gift to qualify for this extraordinary match, we must receive it by December 31.

Food for Life Staff stocking the shelves.

Donors and volunteers like you are the backbone of our community. Your support nourishes families and transforms lives with a remarkable return on investment: every $10 donation results in $62.50 of fresh food and groceries being shared. And through this matching offer, you will have 2X the impact!

Your generous gift will make an immediate difference, supporting about 4,000 households each week.

We believe everyone deserves access to nourishing food, regardless of their circumstances. When people are hungry, nothing else matters. It begins with food. 

Together, let’s make a lasting difference in the lives of those who need it most. Please share your generous holiday gift today — the sooner it’s received, the sooner it can help more families especially when it is doubled in value by The Sprott Foundation through this special matching offer!

 

 

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Coca Cola Caravan will be at Sobeys on Brant Wednesday

By Staff

November 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Coca-Cola® Holiday Caravan just embarked on its national tour today and will be coming to Burlington on Wednesday, November 22, to bring a taste of the holidays to the city this holiday season.

Guests will get to enjoy an interactive, festive experience including a meet and greet and free holiday photo with Santa, and a complimentary Coca-Cola beverage or hot chocolate or latte made with fairlife milk.

 

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Collard now the Chair of Halton District School Board trustees

By Pepper Parr

November 16th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Amy Collard

The good news coming out of the Halton District School Board is the decision the trustees made to appoint Amy Collard as the Chair.

She is smart but also fearless and has experience in keeping Directors of Education on their toes and holding staff to account.

We always thought Collard was ready for a seat at City Council – she once told us she was “interested” but it didn’t seem to go further than that.

 

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What is it so hard for employers to pay their staff a Living Wage ?

By Staff

November 15th, 2023

BURLINGTON, ON

 

A Living Wage – just pay it and adjust your prices (in the case of a municipality adjust the taxes).  The wage paid will work its way into the economy giving people more in the way of money they can spend.

The hospitality sector relies on the tips people pay to get away with less than a living wage.

 

The question is: How many city of Burlington staff are being paid less than this living wage?

A decal like this on every city vehicle would make people proud of the city they live in. It is doable – something the City Manager could initiate – maybe? Make it his parting gift to the city.

The Living Wage Network has a program that certifies employers who pay a Living Wage and provides decals for the employers vehicles.  Is there any reason Burlington doesn’t apply for certification?

That would put some meat on the bone the city keeps gnawing away at Burlington being the best mid-sized cities in Canada to live in.

There is more to come on this issue

 

 

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