Council keeps taxes for this term of office just over their 10% projection – comes in at 10.13 over four years.

By Pepper Parr

March 5, 2014


What started out as an ask of $134,513,000 as a total tax levy, which called for a tax increase of 4.66%, got pared down to $133,889,000 which would have meant a tax increase of 4.13% finally came in at $133,816,211 and a tax increase of 3.5% which works out to $12.78 for each $100,000 of residential urban assessment – it took close to two months to whittle that number back. 

Tax haul to be  $133,816,211 for 2014 - tax rate for 2014 to be an increase of 3.5% The number represents an increase of 3.5% which over the term of this council totals 10.13% over the four-year term – slightly higher than the 10% the Mayor went on record with.  Expect to hear that point made regularly by this council during the election we will have in October.

Budgets however are a lot more than just numbers; the deliberations that get a council to their total are an honest look at the values these seven people bring to the job they do.  At times the view was exceptional but all too often it was disappointing, limited and showed a timidness and an inability to come up with the bold yet creative ideas that would both grow the city financially and at the same time maintain the quality of life people who live here expect.

The hope for Burlington was seen at a Committee of the Whole Meeting that took place while Council was going through the budget deliberations.

In its media release the city included all the pat on the back stuff – and staff did do a fine job of making all the parts come together – but this was not a great budget. It was adequate.
There were more than a dozen citizen delegations – it is hard to identify those that were listened to with the exception that the city manager did promise he would come back to the arts and culture community no later than June and let them know if he has been able to find a full time equivalent to use as the spot for a cultural manager. That spark of creativity didn’t come from anyone on this council.

Highlights that the city points to include:
One-time funding of $86,000 for Community Development Halton for social programming, including North BurLINKton and the Chill Zone
$115,000 one-time and $25,000 ongoing funding for an extra round of loose leaf collection in areas north of the QEW
$643,000 toward infrastructure renewal.

Back in 2010 the city was told they had to come up with $60 million as its share of the redevelopment price for the Joseph Brant Hospital. That amount has been paid out during the past year with the levy rising each year to what will be a $1.2 million increase this year which brings what we are setting aside this year to $4.8 million. That levy by the way is not likely to ever disappear – once they have their hand in your pocket they will find a way to keep it there.

Culture and the staff compliment got the most attention - and most of the money this year.This year there was very little, if any, mention of “shave and pave” that process we use to keep the cost of maintaining our roads manageable.
The budget this paid much more attention to culture than it did to the state of the roads; an exceptionally heavy winter resulted in a lot of discussion about what we want to do about snow removal.

The size of the staff compliment was always on the table. No new hires but a lot of re-evaluating positions and redeveloping the job done. We learned during the budget deliberations there was going to be a total workforce review to determine what the city has and what it needs in terms of a workforce and how to use what it has to get what we need done.

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1 comment to Council keeps taxes for this term of office just over their 10% projection – comes in at 10.13 over four years.

  • Samantha

    The 10.13 total may be incorrect. You have to calculate the total increase by applying each year’s increase to the previous base; (compounding not simple) to get the actual effective increase. You dont just add up each year’s increase. It’s higher than 10.13.