Council to Try and Finalize the City Operational Budget Next Week.

budget 2021By Pepper Parr

February 20th, 2021

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Council will buckle down this week to determine city’s 2021 budget . The plan is to have it before Council early in March where it will be approved and the tax rate set for the year.

They have their hands full.

Staff has come in with a budget that calls for a 4.99% tax increase over the previous year; the Mayor has asked Staff to come up with a figure that is closer to 3.99% increase.

They meet on Tuesday and Thursday of the week we will be going into and could put in additional time if required.
On the surface council looks like a team that has everyone pulling in the same direction.

There are serious concerns over how to reduce the budget and continue to deliver the services people are used to and expect to see continued.

One Council member had a proposal that would reduce the budget by something in the order of $2 million but was told by the City Clerk that any discussion on the proposal would have to be in a CLOSED session of the Standing Committee that is doing the budget review.

BAR confidential

Line does not show an amount nor does it describe what is being proposed. The City Clerk has advised the Council member that it is to be discussed as a confidential matter.

The Municipal Act which guides the behavior and decision making process of municipal governments, permits going into a CLOSED session when a matter relates to something where there is a named individual or when the matter has to do with property.

For the public to be shut out of a meeting that will determine just how much of their money will be required to cover the cost of running the city certainly seems irregular. At least one Council member has expressed the concerns to friends but not to the constituents in the ward.

That will get thrashed out next week. Members of Council use a BAR (Budget Action Request) form to set out where they think changes can be made. The Gazette published that document last week; there is a link to it below

A livestream of the proposed operating budget review meetings on February 23 and 25 (if additional time is required) is available on the City’s website.

The city budget consists of both an operating budget for the delivery of services to the community and a capital budget to invest in the construction and renewal of city assets and infrastructure. The city’s 2021 capital budget of $72.1 million, with a 10-year program of $786.4 million, was approved by Burlington City Council on January 19, 2021.

Related news stories:

Budget change deemed confidential

Complete list of budget change requests from Councillors

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3 comments to Council to Try and Finalize the City Operational Budget Next Week.

  • bonnie purkis

    Fred, I certainly agree with the statements you have made. I was also working during Rae days and saw those times reflected in my monthly pay. Looking at other municipalities, I noted that some have taken steps to show their support for their struggling residents.

  • Fred Hendriks

    The cost of living last year was less than 1% that was reflected in my 2021 peniion. As a retired municipal employee I had several years without a pay increase as well as unpaid leave ( Rae days). At that time I felt lucky to have my job. I know the City has fixed committed expenditures but unpaid leave of all staff (not just politicians) needs to be considered to keep taxes at an affordable level during this pandemic.

  • Tom Battaglia

    Even 3.99% increase is too much. 3% I will accept but even that is too much. Reduce handouts to all organizations that do not provide an essential service. If budget is over 3% my vote goes to a non council member!

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