Mayor sets out what the 2024 is going to be and advises what she plans for 2025 and 2026

By Pepper Parr

November 28th, 2023



The Mayor will be putting forward a Motion asking Council to:

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will direct the CFO to draft operating and capital budgets for 2025 and 2026 as well.

Endorse a Mayoral Direction to the Chief Financial Officer for the 2025 and 2026 budget years as follows:

    • Direct the Chief Financial Officer to prepare the draft operating and capital budgets for 2025 and 2026 whereby the city’s portion of the overall property tax increase is

not to exceed 99% of which approximately:

99% is for city services; and

1% is for city infrastructure renewal funding; and

That the draft budgets be provided to the Mayor in preparation of the Mayor’s Proposed Budget in each year

Background to 2024 Budget:

Under new provincial legislation, the Strong Mayors, Building Homes Act, 2022, introduced Nov. 23, 2022, and extended on July 1, 2023 to all municipalities that had already committed to a housing pledge, including Burlington, which unanimously committed to a housing pledge in March 2023, Mayors are now required to submit a budget for council review.

This responsibility cannot be delegated. Council has 30 days to amend the Mayor’s budget; the Mayor has 10 days to veto any amendments, and the Council has 15 days to issue and overrides to the veto, by 2/3 majority. At the end of this process, the budget is deemed to be approved. For the 2024 budget council deliberations are expected to conclude after council Nov. 28, and council will vote on whether to end the 30-day review period. I will not be exercising the ability to issue a veto, and will instead be issuing a mayoral decision at the end of council’s deliberations to end the veto period.

Once that is signed the budget will be deemed approved.

If the Mayor does not fulfill this obligation of preparing a budget by February 1 of a budget year, council can begin budget preparations at that time. However, it is not in the city or the community’s interest to wait, as we would not be able to take advantage of early procurement or preferred pricing by tendering projects months earlier. Waiting would cost the city, and residents, more, and risk being able to find bidders for capital projects.

Thus, the Mayor will work with staff, council and the community to prepare a budget by year end preceding each budget year (with the exception of an election year).

Planning for Budget 2025 and 2026

In fulfilling the obligation under the legislation to present a budget, the Mayor can provide direction to staff to prepare a budget.

There are a number of people who believe Sharman provided a lot more than support to the Mayor for her budget. Some believe has was the guiding force behind what was done.

The Mayor does not need to seek council endorsement of any budget direction. However, she said: ” by way of this motion, I am doing so because of a continued commitment to collaborative and democratic team leadership and decision-making. I have consulted with and have the support of Councillor Paul Sharman, the Deputy Mayor of Strategy, Budgets, Process and Performance, in this approach and staff direction.”

As indicated, the Mayor will work closely with staff, council and the community to seek suggestions to improve the budget preparation and approval process and the manner in which we communicate the budget.

Direction for Tax Increase of 3.99%

“We are thus both seeking council’s endorsement for me to issue a Mayoral Direction to staff to prepare draft budgets such that the city’s portion of the overall tax increase is no more than 3.99%, including a separate dedicated infrastructure levy per year for the capital budget.

“Council has heard from thousands of residents during the 2024 budget deliberations, expressing concerns about affordability, inflation on basic items like groceries, and rising housing costs and interest rates. We have heard a range of perspectives about what the community would like us to do, from a zero tax rate increase or a tax cut, 3% tax increase up to 4 and 5% increase. We have also heard from residents supporting increased taxes. The GetInvolved budget survey commissioned by the city showed 55% of residents support a cut to services to maintain current taxes, or a cut to services to reduce taxes.

“Separately, the statistically valid community survey found that 57% of residents support increasing taxes to enhance services or to maintain services at current levels. This survey is considered an accurate predictor of the majority of Burlington residents, 95% of the time, within a range of 3% either way.

“Additionally, 91% of residents on the GetInvolved budget survey said that it was “somewhat important” or “important” to set aside funding to replace infrastructure, such as roads, to ensure they meet community needs now and into the future. The second part of the Mayor’s Direction responds to this feedback by separating out a dedicated infrastructure with a minimum 2% commitment each year.

“We must consider and balance all this input, as well as the long term financial sustainability of the city and all its services in preparing annual budgets, this one as well as future ones.

“We want residents to know we have heard them, and are working to respond to all the input we’ve received.

“The hope in providing this direction is to provide some predictability to staff and the community about future budgets, and respond to the request to keep the tax increases as low as possible.”

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1 comment to Mayor sets out what the 2024 is going to be and advises what she plans for 2025 and 2026

  • Wendy Fletcher

    I delegated with respect to infrastructure. I seem to be to be the only person who recognizes that taxpayers have been totally snowed on the issue of infrastructure. Its not in a critical state. Even changing the value of the assets or infrastructure, they both are the same thing, it only increases it to 15% that are very poor or poor. Compared to 9.9% before the bs accounting entry

    You didn’t even need to be putting aside for it in 2023. By the city’s own reports it wasn’t that big a deal. Its in black and white

    But that didn’t fit with what MMW wanted. She wants to be the first one to the finish the line in Ontario to have a big pot of infrastructure money. Bc recall the legislation only came out in 2016

    Anyone who is interested can listen to my delegation at the city’s website