Council learns how to hold public meetings via the internet using webcasts that don't, as yet, have any room for public participation. We do learn that taxes are due in April

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

March 26th, 2020



After completing two Special Meetings of City Council electronically the public is advised that meetings  for the month of April will be done electronically as well.

The first was very short – nine minutes – and a little on the bumpy side.

When the second meeting rolled out it was quite a bite better; the Council members had figured out when to mute the microphones and to speak loudly and directly.

At the close of the second meeting Councillor Sharman had moved into his jocular mode and was rather enjoying himself.

The virtual meetings approach will be used for any Council or committee meetings scheduled in April. The regularly scheduled Council meeting for March 30, 2020 is cancelled.

Next Council meeting and property tax relief
At its next Council meeting, City Council will consider temporary changes to provide relief for the April 21 property tax installment to help residents and businesses experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The temporary changes being proposed would mean that for the months of April and May 2020, with additional extensions being considered on a monthly basis:

• No penalty will be charged for the April 21 installment for all property owners
• No month-end interest will be charged for all property owners
• No non-sufficient fund (NSF) fee will be charged by the City for any returned tax payments
• Pre-Authorized tax payments will continue to be withdrawn. Please note: individuals on a pre-authorized payment plan that are unable to make payment can temporarily suspend their withdrawals from their account by emailing To suspend your withdrawal, the City requires notification at least three business days prior to the withdrawal date.

Taxpayers who sent a postdated cheque to the City for their April tax installment and can no longer make payment are asked to put a stop payment on the cheque at their bank.

We encourage taxpayers to make payments where possible during these unique times. Tax inquiries can be sent by email to or by phone to 905-335-7750.

The two electronic meetings made it clear that debate and discussion is somewhat limited when the seven people are at different locations. Staff participation will be very different.


Mayor Marianne Meed Ward – chairing an electronic meeting of City Council with all the members of Council taking part from their homes, It went very well

Mayor Meed Ward did a good job in keeping things moving along.

When votes were taken each Council member called out Yeah! We can expect that to become a feature of future council meetings when this virus has done whatever it is going to do.

The Region held their meeting electronically as well. The production values for the Burlington web cast were far far superior to what the Region broadcast. Good on Dave Thomson, Burlington audio visual technician – who brings a certain kind of magic to what appears on the monitors in the Council chamber and what is seen on the webcast.

Nothing yet on how public delegations will be handled. They are do-able; all the administration has to do is make their will known

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