Is the future of a Council member the driving force behind a move to change municipal funding

By Pepper Parr

September 27th, 2023



Municipalities are basically broke.

They tax the residents – and the residents threaten to vote them all out of office when they taxes are more than they are comfortable with

 In a motion tabled by Mayor Meed Ward and Councillor Rory Nisan, and agreed upon by Council this week, made the following points:

The city has to build the roads and do all the maintenance during the life cycle.

municipalities are constrained in their ability to generate revenue to fund their capital and operating expenses, with property taxes being an unsuitable and unsustainable tool for Canadian municipalities to support essential services, maintain critical infrastructure, accommodate growing populations, and contribute to economic growth

municipalities own and operate around 60 per cent of Canada’s core public infrastructure and are responsible for the full life-cycle cost of operating, maintaining and replacing capital assets, while federal and provincial/territorial governments typically only contribute to the upfront capital costs; and

the role of local governments has evolved significantly in recent decades, with municipalities taking on new responsibilities with respect to health and social services, housing and economic development; and longstanding responsibilities like policing, waste management and water and wastewater services becoming more complex due to societal issues like mental health, homelessness and climate change; and

municipalities are critical to solving national policy challenges and political priorities like housing affordability, homelessness, mental health and the opioid and addiction crisis, adapting to climate change, reducing GHG emissions, economic development, and, ultimately, achieving a high quality of life for Canadians;

The graph shows what tax rates have been historically..

Burlington City Council recognizes and affirm the advocacy of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) calling on the Federal, Provincial and Territorial governments to engage the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in the development of a Municipal Growth Framework through a process by which new sources of municipal revenue, including predictable intergovernmental transfers and new direct taxation powers, are proposed, evaluated and implemented; and further

City Council has taken the position that a new fiscal framework can explore alternative revenue sources or provide municipalities with a greater share of existing revenue streams and believes the FCM is best positioned to lead the development of a Municipal Growth Framework that links municipal financial capacity to factors such as national population growth and economic growth.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan (who now lives in ward 2) is the city representative on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and spends a significant amount of his time on FCM matters. 

There is the sense that any Nisan future is related to an organization somewhere other than City Council


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