Oakville produces a 1.5% 2022 budget: Burlington struggled to agree on a 4.95% increase increase

December 21, 2021




Kim Arnott who writes for the Oakville News reported that:

In its final budget before next October’s election, town council will limit the residential property tax increase to 1.5 per cent while putting money into initiatives to slow down traffic, fight off gypsy moths and increase loose leaf pick-up service.

Oakville’s 2022 budget got the final nod from town council during its Dec. 20 meeting.

“This budget is about being ready for our future,” said budget committee chair and Ward 6 councillor Tom Adams.

Along with expanding services and investing in community infrastructure, the budget will advance important infrastructure needs for growing areas of Oakville, he said.


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14 comments to Oakville produces a 1.5% 2022 budget: Burlington struggled to agree on a 4.95% increase increase

  • Alfred

    Hello Mr Leigh.

    I would assume the lawyers and planners working for the City have attempted to demonstrate the City met the goals set by the Province. If this is not the case what did they do at all the appeal hearings that the City has lost, sing christmas carols to the tribunal members?

    Too many cases were lost and many more will be lost. The Mayor is hoping that she can kick this football down the road past the next election. Before this all comes crashing down and exposes her for what she is, a stranger to the truth. Under this Mayors watch no affordable housing units have been built. Sadly that’s the way she wants it.

    Affordable housing will be created as follows. Builders will be allowed eg. 30 stories to be built. The City will then give them a greater density say 45 stories in return for a number of affordable units. None of this will happen in the downtown area. Nor should it, this is the most expensive part of Burlington. Not a location for susidized housing. My guess affordable housing might be built near the go stations.

    Political appointments should never be permitted, every job hiring should be based on merit. Anyone who gets a politically appointed job should be fired. Those doing the hiring should be put in jail. My axe cuts both ways.

    Bruce. The Province can override any decision and any OLT decision can be appealed to Divisional Provincial Court by both parties ( City or Developer) The City could have taken all these lost cases to Divisional Court. But it chose not to. You see the Mayor only wants to give the illusion that she is trying to stop Development. Knowing when she fails she can blame OLT. and the Province, who’s direction she was to follow in the first place.

    Can anyone point out anything this Mayor has achieved ever.

    So in conclusion: How does the Province fare in all this? In my opinion terrible. This process and mandate has to be spelled out in crystal clear terms, that average people can read. All that this process has to do is answer the simple question what can be built and where.

    Until we can curb the demand for housing in Burlington by increasing the supply (Don’t hold your breathe with this Mayor) your and my daughter alike will either live with Ma and Pa or be buying and living in other Cities. Sad stuff.

  • Alfred

    Mr Leigh.

    I will try to keep this short.

    The citizens of Ontario elected the Conservative Party the last election. Prior to them the Liberals were in power for some time. Guess what? Housing policies are decided by the Ministry of Housing not your Mayor. Actually your Mayor, Councilors the Planning staff of Burlington are mandated to follow the principles established by the Province of Ontario. The Planning Act is the authority and guide the City must follow. Burlington unfortunately for you and your Mayor are not exempt. Liberal and Conservative Parties positions on housing matters are very similar. So expect no relief from Housing intensification any time soon. Regardless of who gets elected.

    So you see the electorate of which you speak, voted these Parties in to power. That was their chance to speak on how their City would grow and where. Do I think many of the uninformed voters knew this? Honestly no.

    Now the Federal Government plays a large role in the housing crisis. I believe 410 thousand immigrants were accepted by Canada 2021. Also Canadian women are having children, future Canadians. So it begs the question where do we build housing for all these people?

    Oh yes. A long time ago the province saw fit to introduce a Land Tribunal. To make sure Mayors, Councilors, Staff and Developers followed the rules. Those that didn’t, lost the appeals at this level. Kind of explains why the City keeps losing and the developers keep winning at the OLT.

    So you see throwing insane amounts of money at something you can’t win. Usually ends up with a high property tax increase $$$ 5%.

    A quick fact: Your Mayor ran for the Provincial Liberals in Burlington in 2007 She didn’t get elected. But what is important is that I don’t recall her speaking in a negative way about her Parties housing intensification policies at all. She appeared quite content at the time.

    • Bruce Leigh

      OK, my last words on this matter as I am sure others are probably bored my this back and forth.

      I accept all your points about the planning act and how it us the Provincial government of the day that sets how tge regulations surrounding that act get set and implemented. But surely it is for the Provincial government to listen to the municipal government to aow the municipality to meet the intensification goals it has set. The City demonstrated it had already met the goals set and that in could implement further housing growth in areas away from the downtown, such as at the GO Stations.

      You fail to mention the intensification goals are there so as to produce the much needed “affordable” housing. I challenge you to put forward one example from the downtown towers being built or proposed, whi h are all condos not rental units which could possibly be called “affordable”. One of my daughters is on a salary of 72,000. And yet that salary combined with a down-payment of $100,000 from me leaves her ineligible for a mortgage of between $400,000 and $500,000 needed to meet the price of a one bedroom condo, which is the minimum for which the units in these towers will sell for.

      You also fail to recognize the unelected, politically appointed OLT and it’s forebears has historically ignored the terms of legitimate official plans put in place by municipalities and accepted by the Provincial government. Legitimate zoning height restrictions of say 12 storeys ignored and 20+ storeys allowed. The OLT needs to be done away with. These municipalitu/developer disputes should be referred to the courts. Then you would find a lot fewer challenges from developers.

      “So it begs the question where do we build housing for all these people?” you say. The answer to your question is around the GO Stations where there is immediate access to train and bus transportation. How do you not see that?

  • Alfred

    Mr. Leigh.

    In fairness. I asked you a simple question. Yet you chose not to answer for whatever reason. Probably because it dibunked your incorrect theory that most of the people in Burlington wanted 5% tax increases. Yet you provide little proof.

    Your claim that this is not a spend thrift council is dubious. There are only 2 councilors that have a lick of sense when it comes to saving the taxpayers money.

    Examples of money wasted: The silly rainbow crosswalks. But the big daddy of wasting money is. The millions of dollars this City has spent in legal fees preventing and delaying the highrise buildings looking to be built in Burlington.

    Many of these buildings would be paying almost $ 800 thousand dollars a year to the City of Burlington in taxes each. Instead of the few thousands they pay as vacant lots. The cost of fighting the appeals, that the City appears to be losing all of them. Totals in the millions. There still appears to be roughly 50 appeals to be fought with little chance of winning.

    Councils not wasting taxpayers money? So when you tally approx 40 million dollars in lost annual property tax revenue to the City. Remember this is annual 20 years of property taxes would be $ 800 million, plus if the Mayor and Mr. Leigh have their way add a 5% tax increase annually to that number

    The legal cost to fight these losing appeals and don’t forget that these delays have allowed these unit prices to skyrocket because of the Mayors delay tactics.

    A $4 hundred thousand unit that could have been bought is now a $8 hundred thousand unit. The new purchasers must enjoy paying double. The developers must be doing cartwheels. Not to mention the loss of high paying construction jobs created in this City. Plus all the business this would have brought to the local suppliers. Construction cost including land $500 thousand each unit . Multiply that by approx. 100 or more units per building = $50 million dollars each building. X approx 60 buildings = a staggering $3 Billion dollars in lost business. This does not include the lost property tax revenue as stated above. Land tranfer tax would be collected from these sales as well as HST. School levies the list goes on forever.

    Don’t forget all the money flushed down the toilet for the lost legal battles that the City knew they were going to lose. Just so that the Mayor could blame it on the Land Tribunal.

    Had the Mayor managed this City properly and not lost out on all the tax revenue that was coming to this City. We would have been given a rebate.

    A final quick note; The landlords of Ontario have been permitted to raise their rents .6% for each year 2021 2022 That is based on inflation. We should hire them to run the City.

    • Bruce Leigh

      Alfred, I have never said Burlington redidents wanted a 5% increase in property tax. That is you speaking not me. I have never undertaken any polling of residents so I cannot speak on their behalf. I would guess you have not polled either, so equally I suggest you cannot either.

      For the record my position is that I think nobody wants a 5% increase. I certainly don’t. I suspect nor do they want service cuts. So there has to be a balance. You may disagree with the balance struck by our council. Others may not disagree. October will tell. But I suspect those like yourself (Harris followers) who now make noise about any increase in municipal tax will be the first to scream out at the necessary cuts that would have to be made in order to reduce the size of any property tax increase or eliminate it completely. You cannot have it both ways. Did you read the article about Mississauga. It is now playing catch up in paying for infra structure and other expenditures that were deferred for years simply to keep property taxes unsustainably low.

      I believe you are a home builder, right? Over the past 12 months there has been a substantial increase in the cost of raw materials and other items integral to the building of new homes, such as lumber and development charges etc. Question:- Do you pass on to your consumer those increased costs or do you absorb them so as to keep the cost of the home to the consumer from increasing. Seems you are advocating a position where you should be absorbing them.

      In answer to your question, none of the members of council campaigned for a 5% property tax increase or any increase for that matter. Neither did they campaign for a pandemic to hit this municipality or for costs to spiral upwards. Circumstances change and Council must adapt and meet those changes.

      Sure, the city could have said yes to all those developments. But that would have been going against the wishes of the electorate, which very clearly voted nit to have super high rises in the downtown or along the lake. Are you advocating in that instance Council should have ignored the wishes of residents? If so it would seem you apply your principle of council accountability to residents selectively according to your position on a given subject.

      It may have cost this city millions and may cost it millions more to fight for the principal that the City and its residents should decide its make up, not an unelected political body. A position supported at the ballot box by residents. So it was the right thing to do. You advocate surrender and appeasement. I guess Neville Chamberlain must be one of your heros! Appeasement never works.

      If you like 30+ storey high rises, I suggest you consider a move to Mississauga or Toronto.

      Your ”solution” would have netted huge sums to the City, but the Burlington we know and love would be gone for sure.

      Do you honestly think that landlords having had their income curtailed and profit margins pinched have continued to maintain the same service standards? Surely you don’t.

  • Alfred


    Please show me and name the councilors and Mayor that mentioned 5% Tax increases in their election bids. Or show me the outpouring of the request for higher property taxes to be paid by the citizens of Burlington. Lawn signs, people protesting in front of City Hall demanding higher taxes? I think you are a tad off on this.

    I think it’s safe to say that Patrick Brown in Brampton was a lot more honest with the people that voted him in, than our Mayor was with the people that voted her in. 5% increase during covid. Shameful !!

    • Bruce Leigh

      “5% during COVID. Shameful”

      Why do you think this municipality is immune (sort of a pub) from having inflationary increases that are affecting every other business. Alfred are you still able to go and buy gas at 90 cents a litre or food orcanything else at pre-pandemic prices? If so share with MMW and the rest of us so we can all benefit.

      This is not a spend thrift Council. It is not looking to wildly increase programs or launch new ones. It is basically maintains service levels.

      If you want a zero tax increase be ready to take your garbage to the dump rather than have it picked up. Or drive on roads, walk on sidewalks covered in snow, roads not maintained.

      So Alfred, what’s your thoughts on Milton and it’s5% tax increase or Mississauga’s 4.3%. Read this article which reflects this City’s position too


      Please wake up

  • Philip Waggett

    And please remember that Patrick Brown in Brampton has brought in a ZERO percent increase for 2022—ZERO for 4 straight years!!!!!!

    • Bruce Leigh

      That begs the question “how is that done?” Sounds a lot like a Mike Harris approach.

      Milton at 5+%, Oakville at 1.5%, Burlington at 4.5%, Brampton at 0%. Are all the figures expessed on the same basis ? Are all numbers just the municipal portion or are school board and Regional portions included ?

      Apples and oranges maybe?

      • Philip Waggett

        How is it done? You and MMW seem to have one thing in common–neither seems to know the answer. But to answer the question, a clear direction to the department managers/bureaucrats that controlling the budget within strict parameters must be given. Certainly, Gary Carr did that mid-year when he brought in a budget increase that was not to exceed 2% based on the rate of inflation to that point. But we know that MMW did no such direction to the City bureaucrats when she let slip that the original budget projection of 5.6% “contained wish lists”.

        And to your point about apples and oranges, yes all the figures are based on the MUNICIPAL tax increase, not including regional changes.

        • Bruce Leigh

          Yes, but still apples to oranges as Mary Hill has clearly explained here. Perhaps you still need some help with the fact that comparing percentages which are expressions of different base numbers meaningless.

          Resident of municipality A pays $10,000 in taxes and has 1.5% increase. That is $150

          Resident of municipality B pays $3,000 in taxes and has a 4% increase. That’s $120

          So, Philip, what’s your take on Milton. I don’t believe MMW is also the Mayor there !

          • Philip Waggett

            Same problem–lack of political will to respect taxpayers–especially in the past two years when the private sector has been so hard hit due to covid and now that taxpayers, especially those on fixed incomes, are struggling with inflation. Many of you believe that big government is the answer, that just shovelling more money at a problem will make it go away. It won’t–Canada is fast approaching the inevitable consequence of the socialists’ debt bomb–this will not end well.

          • Bruce Leigh

            Hi, Phillip. I trust your Christmas was happy, fun and safe.

            I have a few points to pick up upon.

            “Disrespecting Tax Payers”

            You assume all tax payers are of your mindset based upon the last municipal elections and the recent federal election, particularly the local constituencies, I would suggest you might be in a minority. Maybe the Council’s your direct your wrath may actually be respecting the wishes of their electorate and maintaining service standards rather than cutting staffing and service standards to the bone.

            “Fixed Income”

            I receive a handsome salary through employment. My retired parents receive 8ncome through various private and state pensions mixed in with their savings. My children who are all employed receive remuneration of various shapes and sizes. Each one of us is on a fixed income. None of us can wave a magic wand to receive increased remuneration just because the cost of living has gone up for us. By the way the size of the increase in the cost of living varies for each of us dependent upon our commitments.

            “Shovelling More Money”

            Increasing the municipal tax rate to maintain a service kevel that is the backbone of Burlington being regarded as the City to live in in Canada is not shoveling money at a problem.

            The only options this consumer (the City) has in the face of rising costs from a supplier are:-

            1. Pay the increased cost to receive the same order as before

            2. Pay the same amount as in the past and receive a reduced order.

            3. Not buy from that supplier at all, seek an alternative cheaper supplier if available. And if no other is available go without.

            An example of throwing money at a problem in the hope of solving it would be the way the federal government (both parties) has dealt with the civil service pay system.

  • Mary Hill

    A bit of a misleading headline. It implies Oakville tax hike is about a quarter of Burlington’s. As anyone familiar with math will tell you percentages can be misleading.


    Take 20% off 100 units and you get 80 units. What percentage of 80 units must you add to get back to 100 units? Answer 25%. In both parts the percentages equal 20 units.

    As I understand it property taxes in Oakville are generally considerably higher that in Burlington.

    So in actual dollar terms the increase in Oakville may well be close to that in Burlington in actual dollar terms. How do both compare with the increase in Milton which the Gazette reported to be in excess of 5%?

    Also one needs to look at the services provided. Are they comparable across the board?

    Maybe the Gazette will do a bit more of an analysis