Proposed tax increase set at 3.99% - still well above inflation.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

January 13th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They now begin to get into the nitty gritty of the job they have been elected to do; deliberations on the budget begin in earnest on Thursday and continue through to March 25th when the Operational budget is scheduled to be approved.  The Capital spending budget is scheduled to be approved on February 25th.

Timeline 2019

This Thursday council will spend time on an Overview report on both the Capital and Operational budgets.

3-99_origThe broad strokes are for a budget increase of 3.99% over what the citizens were taxed in 2018.

In the report to council the Finance department refers to the base budget, the money that has to be spent just to keep the doors open and the wheels turning – this makes up 1.58% of the 3.99% 0f the budget increase.

Regulatory and contractual obligations amount to 1.03% of the 3.99% increase.

The special hospital levy that was put in place when Burlington was told that it had to come up with a whopping $20 million to pay for part of the hospital rebuild/renovation was to be reduced by $1.7 million this year – that amount is being repurposed to infrastructure renewal.

There is a $2 million infrastructure levy that makes up 1.25% of that 3.99% tax increase.

An additional million is being added to public transit that represents .64% of that 3.99% increase.

There are two business cases that will be debated; additional by-law enforcement officers and additions to the para transit service that amount to $214,000 + which make up .21% of that 3.99% budget increase.

Kearns Dewc meeting

Lisa Kearns will be chairing the budget committee – she has her work cut out for her.

Ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns is going to stick handle the budget deliberations.  She has no experience managing a city budget but she has been reading and getting all the help she needs.  Will there be stumbles?  Of course there will be stumbles but Kearns is a quick study and supported by a strong committee clerk.

Some of the city Councillors will struggle to keep up.

This is likely to be a harrowing experience for most of this Council.  Their hearts are in the right place – but their hands are going to slide into your pocket to pay the bills.

The way the Finance department re-purposed the original hospital levy and slid it into the infrastructure account is something that needs a closer look.

The current council didn’t do the dirty on this but the citizens of the city went along with a special tax levy to pay for the hospital rebuild/renovation thinking that when the bills were paid the tax levy would come to an end.

Nope – they are going to keep that tax grab and use it to pay for roads.

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9 comments to Proposed tax increase set at 3.99% – still well above inflation.

  • Joe Gaetan

    Unacceptable, follow the various money trails and you will see taxpayers funded $4 million for a new floating break wall, $2.9 million for the Joe Brant Museum re-do, plus the ongoing hospital levy now being re-purposed. All of that money came from one place, and one place only, Burlington taxpayers pockets. This is a great time for our new council to pause and rethink how our money is spent.

  • Bill Carlton

    Based on the data I’d say the cost of running our municipal government is to high and needs to be corrected.
    https://www.fraserinstitute.org/blogs/government-spending-varies-widely-across-major-ontario-municipalities

  • Roger

    I had a promise from a councilor the levy would be retired – the levy is still here with little oversight – tax rate is weil above inflation – getting basically less for more

  • Stephen White

    Milton was confronted with the issue of a hospital levy that was imposed in 2011 to fund the new hospital expansion. Council eliminated it by replacing it with revenue from the OLG, specifically, Mohawk Raceway. Switching the source of revenue reduced taxes by 1%. A splendid example of “out of the box” thinking:

    https://miltonreporter.ca/2017/12/15/the-milton-district-hospital-levy-elimination/

    Which kind of begs the obvious question: why can’t our Council explore this option, or something similar to it? Just because the levy was imposed years ago does not mean Burlington ratepayers need to pay for it in perpetuity. Or, to quote Milton Councillor Malboeuf who co-sponsored the motion: “Property taxes aren’t supposed to fund healthcare…”

    Municipal taxes running at twice the rate of inflation simply doesn’t cut it. I thought that message had been delivered loudly and clearly during the last municipal election. And before we go adding municipal by-law officers can we please conduct a full organizational review to see where and how we can cut unnecessary or unproductive services. It’s called “redeploying existing resources”.

    • Mike E.

      Thank you Mr. White – I could not agree more. It is comforting that there are people like yourself who will hold this Council to account for the promises that brought them to the table. This budget is uninspired, tired and sings out ‘same old, same old’ (to the tune of “the Gang’s All Here”). To be fair, there are inherited commitments that must be honoured and we have not seen the final budget yet; there is much committee and staff work remaining. Hopefully, the final product will reflect the vision and public regard that was the rallying cry of these new Councillors and Mayor. It is disheartening, however, that the new crew allowed the old nag out the barn door so early.

  • Susie

    One would think that a tax levy agreed upon by the citizens for: the hospital rebuild/renovation, should be slated for that specific entity only! It seems once the City has acquired a money trail that they can easily slide it into whatever category they wish to going forward. That needs to be scrutinized as it seems that there is a slippery slope going from hospital, to roads – not what the original “special tax levy” was all about!!!! Who gave the Finance Department the go ahead “to slide” a “special hospital” tax levy into another account “roads”, unknowing to the tax payers?? Leading citizens to believe one thing, and putting another in the books, is not the code of ethics that should have been implemented here. A reply by someone as to the actual citizens knowledge and acceptance on the wording of this “slide”, would be a good read for all of us.

  • steven craig gardner

    well i guess we are seeing first broken campaign promise of keeping tax increase closer to inflation and no mention was made I beleive of keeping the levy. HMM what is it now less than 3 weeks and already this council is off the rails from what was promised.

  • Penny

    I have a question: Is the repurposed hospital levy included in the $2 million infrastructure levy or is it in addition to the repurposed hospital levy that is mentioned in your article?

    The special hospital levy that was put in place when Burlington was told that it had to come up with a whopping $20 million to pay for part of the hospital rebuild/renovation was to be reduced by $1.7 million this year – that amount is being repurposed to infrastructure renewal.

    There is a $2 million infrastructure levy that makes up 1.25% of that 3.99% tax increase.

    We have yet to see the operating budget – all the “legacy” projects come with expenses.

  • ROB

    how about one year make necessary cuts to the bloated budget

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