What they want to take from you and how they want to spend it. Budget time in Burlington. Your Budget, Your Say

 By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON.

January 23, 2014

You write them a cheque for times a year.  It’s not exactly chump change. It’s just one of those things one does in a civilized society.  You pay taxes and expect value for money.

Joan Ford, the city’s Director of Finance knows where every dollar comes from and where every dollar gets spent.

The city will be putting most of its Finance department people on the front line next Wednesday at the Burlington Art Centre.  No open bar but there will be coffee and cookies while you participate in a public consultation meeting and interactive workshop on the budget.

The city wants you to tell them what is important to you.  They do this each year and the turnout is not bad.   They do an overall presentation and then run small, staff-led work groups focusing on such topics as service choices, infrastructure and planning for the future.

In a nut shell this is what the 2014 budget is about:

The City of Burlington’s proposed 2014 current budget recommends a 4.13 per cent tax rate increase to the city’s portion of the property tax bill. When this is combined with the Region of Halton’s increase of zero per cent and an education increase of zero per cent, the overall result is a proposed property tax rate increase of 1.68 per cent or $15.08 for each $100,000 of residential urban value assessment. 

There are a couple of things that could be done to make this more effective.  Putting a document on-line that can be downloaded and printed that sets out the basics of the budget so that people can do some homework if they wish.  The budget is there if you want to download all 254 pages and print them out.  How about something that is say 10 pages with lots of graphs?

And why this event is always held at just the Burlington Art Centre is inexcusable.  While space is limited at Tansley Wood a public meeting could be held there and with the Alton Campus now open a public meeting could be held there as well.

The Burlington Gazette has been following the development of the budget for 2014 closely.  Links to what we’ve written appear below.

Most of the council members hold meetings in their wards to get local input. A couple of Ward 4 residents discuss a previous budget.

Members of your city council continually say that half the population of the city is north of the QEW.  City hall needs to do much more to serve the needs and interests of these people as well. This is a great opportunity for members of the public to share their insights, to learn more about the city’s proposed 2014 current and capital budgets and to discuss the impact the budget will have on property taxes.

The small workshop sessions can be quite useful, particularly if there is something you want more detail on. Every Council member is on hand and anybody that knows anything from the Finance department is in the room.

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014; 7 to 9:30 p.m.; Burlington Art Centre.  Plenty of parking at the rear of the building.  They should make the parking free on budget review nights.

This is an election year – so expect members of Council to listen with bigger ears this time around.  Make your views known and let them know you will be watching.

If you can’t attend the meeting, watch the webcast on the city’s website and complete the online workbook   If you’ve really got a burr under your saddle and have to talk to someone – a real voice can be reached at: 905-335-7600, ext. 7896.

Background links:

City manager tries to get some ground rules in place.

City administration begins to negotiate with Council on 2014 tax levy.

Will the 10% over four years hold; doesn’t look that way.

 

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2 comments to What they want to take from you and how they want to spend it. Budget time in Burlington. Your Budget, Your Say

  • Lamont

    I am tired of paying the halton police in my taxes while I keep witnessing many officers driving around Burlington like idiots. Many times they are speeding, no signals, performing radar speed checks at the same location for weeks, driving around in packs of two and three vehicles, patroling the QEW (we pay the OPP for that) speeding down the QEW from Trafalgar to Bronte Road to get back to HQ on Bronte early. What is the latest money figure on the cost of all the vehicle accidents police caused in 2012 or 2013. Waste of our taxes!

  • Bob

    Seems the city is doing some software upgrades webcasts are not working. When you try to view a webcast, a small square box appears telling you need a plugin. Does not tell you what the plugin is or where it can found.

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