Mayor releases her version of the budget - at this point she seems to have done a pretty good job.

By Pepper Parr

October 30th, 2023



Here is how she did it.

The Mayor submitted a budget that would reduce the city portion of the tax levy by more than 3 points.

In the three charts set out below the Mayor sets out what was part of the Financial Needs report in one column and shows what her budget amount would be and in a third column she shows the variance.

The numbers deserve some comment, however we are going to wait until the Mayor formally presents her budget to City Council – that will take place in Thursday November 2nd.

Roll your cursor over the image to get an enlarged version

Mayor Meed Ward was very fulsome when she commented on her budget which will be formally presented to Council on Thursday.”I do want to thank staff for all of the work and the thinking that has gone into this. This is not easy. These are not easy times and they are not easy decisions and I do appreciate that. What has been presented is a clearer picture of the city’s needs. And it is now up to council to determine how quickly we are able to address those. I also want to thank the Deputy Mayor of strategy, budgets, performance and process (Paul Sharman) who has been enormously helpful to me and and to the staff and to the team who has been sitting around the table with all of our deep discussions to try to understand and ask questions about this budget presented in a way that is clear to the community.

Mayor Marianne Ward

There are different ways to receive it – if you want to read all 700 and change pages it is online.

There are summary reports. The the presentation that we got today even is more summarized in terms of some of the challenges that we face and we will continue the collective way.

I know I’ve gotten many emails, I’m sure other members of council have. There has been a mix of we want more services.

We want you to you know things like snow clearing of paths to school so kids can walk which is in line with climate change. It’s in line with our mobility goals and so many other things. So, as noted, the legislation requires me to present a budget so from here on out all amendments will be to that budget, we will not be amending the staff financial needs.

The budget is on the agenda for the November 2 council meeting which is this Thursday. It will be formally presenting it at that time.  I believe that it’s really important to maintain as much collaboration on the budget as we can possibly get recognizing the legislation has changed things a bit. This will allow us as a council to come to ground on what we think our priorities are going forward how quickly we want to address certain things.

Councillor Paul Sharman

At the end of the day, this budget will not be the mayor’s budget. This budget will be the mayor and Council’s budget informed by what staff have shared with us. truly collaborative as all our budgets have been and informed by the detailed responses that we’ve seen from the public to date.

There will be opportunities for public comment on the online telephone town hall November 7, plus two more committee meetings that residents can delegate to and of course you can reach out to any one of us at any time. So with that I look forward to continued discussion and collaborating to come up with the best budget that we can in the circumstances that we are in.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 comments to Mayor releases her version of the budget – at this point she seems to have done a pretty good job.

  • Wendy Fletcher

    My understanding is she dropped the city’s portion by 1.49% as Halton’s portion is 1.33, leaving the total tax bill at a still whopping 6.33%

    The responses to the budget surveys were that 55% of respondents wanted services cut to maintain or reduce property taxes. In question 8, when asked what was the most important issue facing the community and what was the one issue taxpayers felt council should focus on in the 2024 budget, 211/711 responses stated that it was property taxes being too high. Thats a full 30% of responses. Another 30 used terminology different than “tax”, such as affordability, cost of living. After this housing and development including its costs was a prevalent issue. Services were low on the priority list and massive tax increases to support them almost non-existent. It begs the question, where are all these people that MMW claims want services, and are so willing to endure huge tax increases for them? Because its certainly not supported by the budget surveys. For other surveys to be valid, they need to tell taxpayers what the proposed tax rate is. None of them do. That’s called manipulation to get the results you want rather than informed feedback

    But failing to be honest with taxpayers isn’t limited to budget surveys. In the Financial Needs and Multi year forecast they suggest Burlington taxes to be comparable or lower to surrounding areas. Thats false. Burlington’s residential tax rate (0.00861442) is higher than both Oakville (0.00760437) and Toronto (0.00506079)

  • Blair Smith

    If I understand correctly, the Mayor brought the budget increase in under 5% (the City portion of the overall tax increase) through elimination (or postponment) of new staff positions. Given the state of Burlington’s finances, I have to ask why these positions were still ‘on the books’; why there hasn’t been an immediate staff freeze? This is usually what occurs when organizations are facing debt and operational defecits with depleted cashflow or reserve funds. Also, if my math is correct the salaries of these new positions would put them all on the Sunshine List.

    I’d like to see where there was a real attempt to rationalize programs and services with an understanding that core services should be those that provide direct benefit to the public or enable a sustainable, safe infrastructure. How many positions are currently dedicated to ‘nice to have’ communications services and products; how many are in the Office of the Clerk enabling an unresponsive and lifeless meeting protocol; how many are in a largely faceless yet extremely powerful Legal Department that has hidden its counsel behind ‘client privilege’ and the closed meeting process; how many positions currently service the Office of the Mayor?

    And if past is prologue, particularly with this bunch, Council debate of the Mayor’s Budget will be perfunctory and it will pass unanimously.