One of the most important tasks for Burlington City Council is approving the city’s capital and operating budgets.
Budgeting is about planning and meaningful investment. I believe we must provide quality services while maintaining property taxes at a reasonable and affordable rate.
The capital budget was approved by council in December. This week, council approved the 2016 operating budget.
When combined with Halton Region and the boards of education, the overall property tax increase is two per cent or $17.10 for each $100,000 of residential urban assessment. The city’s portion included a 3.14 per cent increase.
Why is there an increase?
The 2016 operating budget focuses on providing services, maintaining our assets and investing in business cases to increase service levels through a competitive property tax increase.
The goal is to achieve a balance between minimizing tax increases while maintaining and increasing service levels where appropriate.
How did we arrive at a 3.14 per cent increase?
The city’s base budget is presented with a 1.28 per cent increase, as compared to the three-year rolling average of the Toronto Consumer Price Index (1.86 per cent).
Due to the prior policy decision to increase (+1.44 per cent) the dedicated infrastructure levy and tax supported debt charges for items like road repair and storm water management, the increase comes to 2.72 per cent.
City business cases (+0.29 per cent) bring the increase to 3.01 per cent. Local boards and committee business cases (+0.13 per cent) result in the city tax impact of 3.14 per cent.
I know a reasonable tax increase is a priority to our residents. While some would prefer a smaller increase, I believe the overall tax increase of two per cent is reasonable with strategic investments in services that are essential to keeping our city up and running, as well as fostering Burlington as one of the best communities in Canada in which to live and work.
Based on prudent advice from city staff, the 2016 operating budget features appropriate investment of your hard-earned dollars.
Seats are available at the free Inspire Burlington event on Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., Royal Botanical Gardens Auditorium, 680 Plains Rd. W.
The keynote speaker is renowned city planner Brent Toderian, who will talk about why cities should grow up through infill rather than out through sprawl. Email email@example.com or call 905-335-7607 to reserve your seat.
This column appears in the January 29th edition of the Burlington Post.