What does a possible 3.85% tax increase look like in graphic form? What does our tax hit look like when compared with others?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 20, 2015


What do we know about ourselves as taxpayers – and how do we compare with other jurisdictions in terms of the value we get for the dollars we pay?

At the first peek of the budget for the next fiscal year we got a sense of what the city plans to do with the dollars it gets from you.

The tax bill you get is for three levels of government: the city; the Regional government and the Boards of Education.  City council can only influence and change its budget – and at this point it looks like they are going to want an increase of 3.85% over what they asked for last year.
tax breakout

Every city council likes to boast that they have a lower tax rate relative to their neighbours. The chart shown compares data for 2015 – Oakville will have a lower rate than Burlington for the fiscal years we are going into.

Competitive tax look

How much of the household budget gets spent on paying for services – quite low. We certainly don’t get the same value for money from the food we purchase.

Taxes at 5 of HH income

Based on what has been proposed Burlington is going to have the highest increase in the Region. Is there any one expense category that puts us at the top?   Road repair. The city let its infrastructure slide for too many years and is now spending heavily to get caught up.

That one time hospital levy that is going to be with us for a while yet hasn’t helped – but we needed the hospital. The old Joseph Brant Memorial hospital had passed its best before date some time ago.

Tax increases during the period of time the seven members of the current council have been in office – they were all re-elected in 2014 – is nothing to write home about. The exceptionally low increase in 2011 was the result of some very bold moves made by first term council member Paul Sharman. It was a bold move then, unfortunately, hasn’t been repeated.

That blue line running through the bar charts is very misleading – members of Council love to refer to a number that includes taxes from all three levels of government – the other two levels of government are lower than what the city wants – when all three are added together the total as an average is lower – misleading – your politicians playing mind games with you.

What makes the line misleading is that there is nothing Burlington can do to change the education tax and not that much they can do to impact the Regional tax levy. The city is completely responsible for the taxes it asks it citizens to pay – and it is at that level that they have to be judged.

Tax increases - historical


While the city has a tonne of money salted away in reserve funds – it still has to borrow funds. The province is required by the province to maintain reserve funds for everything from winter snow removal costs to information technology upgrades.

Burlington has a policy of not letting the debt charges as a percentage of net revenues to climb beyond 12.5% – the province will not allow a municipality to have a debt ratio higher than 25%

The proposed operating budget for the 2014-15 is set out below.  The one to keep your eye on is that Storm Water management – expect to see a new line on your tax bill for between $50 and $100 for every household with a driveway.  Parking lots will be assessed a tax for Storm Water as well  which is going to hit the malls where it hurts

Proposed capital spending

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1 comment to What does a possible 3.85% tax increase look like in graphic form? What does our tax hit look like when compared with others?

  • Joan Gallagher-Bell

    This increase is not appropriate given the attitude and work of the present Council(not all councilors).
    When attending the workshop that suggested (and since approved) the levy for JBH I suggested that the levy would never be deleted. I understand the need for long over due improvements to JBH. It is the feeling of futility that seems to engulf me.
    The increases will continue for another 18 months approximately then perhaps we could have the big change.
    —-Very frustrated Burlington Resident