Gearing up for the 2017 budget - city hall wants to hear what you think.

Budget 2017 ICON  aaBy Pepper Parr

July 27th, 2016


Well – they know how to put a damper on a vacation – don’t they?

The city wants to know what you think about the two budgets they are preparing. The Capital budget which covers the cost of the things they build and repair and the Operating budget which covers the day to day expenses for all the departments.

The average taxpayer might want to pass along the following words: “Less would be better.”


In election years public budget meting attendance is pretty good. Candidates for office show up while everyone goes through a workbook the city prepares on what they plan on doing. Rarely do the comments made at the public meetings make into into the budget. For the most part they are a public relations exercise.

Burlington’s Finance department is exceptionally good at pulling in the numbers from the different departments and then crunching those numbers and turning them over to the Leadership Team that works at cutting where they think they can cut.

“The budget is your tax dollars,” said Mayor Rick Goldring. “It is the basis for all our city services and everyone should have the opportunity to review and provide comment before the budget is approved.”

The 2017 capital and operating budgets are in the early stages of development. They are expected to go to City Council for approval in December 2016 and January 2017 respectively.

Lori Jivan, co-ordinator, budget and policy, “… encourages more people to learn about the budget and provide feedback”. “We hope to do this by surveying the residents to better understand the ways they would like to become involved in the budget process.”

A short survey is available at, or through Insight Burlington and Let’s Talk Burlington until Aug. 12, 2016.

The rub for those people who follow the budget setting process is that the budget is basically determined and all but cast in stone by the time the city holds the Public Information meetings.


Lori Jivan, co-ordinator, budget and policy, standing, explaining a piece of information in the handbook that was prepared for the meeting

Any changes made to a budget get done at the Standing Committee level at which people can delegate but they aren’t allowed to ask questions of Council members

The city does have a Committee of the whole where the rules are more relaxed and there is a much more open flow of information.

If Burlington is serious about getting input from the taxpayers then hold the meetings at which the public can comment before the budgets get to the Standing Committee level.

This is one of those things the Mayor could actually show some leadership on.

The early projections for the 2016-2017 budget nudge the 4% level.

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2 comments to Gearing up for the 2017 budget – city hall wants to hear what you think.

  • MrBean

    I would be interested to know exactly how much money we are gaining or losing each month with the performing arts centre. Where can we find the numbers showing how much it costs to operate the performing arts centre? Our taxes go up each year but for at least 3 years our city does not have the Nelson public swimming pool operating.

    Editor’s note: The city subsidized the Performing Arts Centre and the Art Gallery to the tune of just under $1 million each. The Art Gallery gets 40% o its budget from the city. The numbers you are looking for are on line in the city budget books – good luck on figuring that out.

  • Greg

    Is it crazy to think that the budget increase would be zero or even negative? Why must the budget constantly increase? Can’t we cut some things that are not proving worthwhile for the city and not replace them?