January 2016 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings in January, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.

15-578-MO-State-of-the-City-Blog-Header-1000x288

State of the City Address 2016

Burlington must grow differently as the city approaches build-out of its urban areas and as the city continues to protect valued green spaces. We are one of the first municipalities in Southern Ontario to stop sprawl and instead grow in place, something that many other municipalities will be faced with in the next decade or two.

I was pleased to deliver this message as part of my annual State of the City Address on Jan. 28 to a Burlington Chamber of Commerce audience of more than 400 people.

Burlington is built out with very little room left for traditional greenfield suburban-type development. Fifty per cent of Burlington is rural, agricultural, natural greenbelt and the vast majority of people I talk to want to keep it that way.

The centrepiece of my message was the nearly-complete Strategic Plan for the City of Burlington. After more than a year of collaboration between the community, City Council and city staff, the strategic plan is nearly done, with city staff making revisions based on the feedback provided in December and January. The completed document goes to City Council for approval this spring.

There are four key strategic directions outlined in Burlington’s new strategic plan including: i) A City That Grows ii) A City that Moves iii) A Green and Healthy City iv) An Engaging City. These themes were highlighted in an accompanying video entitled ‘Where We Grow from Here: Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040’.

The strategic plan is the 25-year blueprint for city-building and will be supported in more detail with the Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan and the Corporate Work Plan.

To read the complete speech, visit http://www.burlingtonmayor.com/state-of-the-city-2016/. The video recording is available below of the entire speech.

For the Where We Grow from Here: Burlington’s Strategic Plan 2015-2040, watch below, or to review the draft strategic plan, visit www.burlington.ca/strategicplan.

Continue reading

Budget 2016 Approved

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.

Connect with me by phone: 905-335-7607, email: mayor@burlington.ca, Twitter: @RickGoldring and Facebook: Rick Goldring.

Inspire Burlington

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 mayor@burlington.ca or call 905-335-7607 to reserve your seat.

This column appears in the January 29th edition of the Burlington Post.

 

Budget 2016

One of the most important tasks for Burlington City Council is the city’s annual budget.

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 2016 Operating Budget and Capital Budget reports for the City of Burlington were presented to Council and the public on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015.

The Capital Budget was approved by council in December. You can read more about the Capital Budget in my December newsletter here.

2016 Budget Breakdown

The 2016 Operating Budget includes a 3.85% increase in the city’s portion of property taxes. When combined with Halton Region and the boards of education, the overall property tax increase is 2.3% or $20.48 for each $100,000 of residential urban assessment. While we all would prefer to have lower tax rate increases, I believe an overall tax increase of 2.3% is reasonable, with strategic investments in services that play an important role in the high quality of life we enjoy in our city.

The 2016 budget marks the second year the city will be presenting the operating budget in a service based format. Under this approach, business plans are developed for all 37 of the services provided by the city. The plans highlight where investments are being made and will help residents learn more about the services the city offers with the overall goal to ensure citizens are getting good value for their tax dollar.

Your Tax Dollar 2016

Why is there an increase in property taxes for 2016?

The 2016 proposed budget responds to providing services, maintaining our assets and business cases to increase service levels through a competitive property tax increase, striking a balance between minimizing tax increases while maintaining and increasing service levels in a climate of increasing costs.

  • The city’s base budget is presented with a 1.97% increase, as compared to the three year rolling average of the Toronto Consumer Price Index (1.86%)
  • Including prior policy decision to increase the dedicated infrastructure levy and tax supported debt charges, the increase is 3.41% (+1.44%)
  • City business cases bring the increase to 3.72% (+0.31%)
  • Local Boards and Committee business cases (+0.13%) result in a city tax impact of 3.85%

Summary of City Services

2016 Budget Public Information Night

I invite residents to attend next week’s public information night to learn more about the 2016 operating budget. The information night will be held Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Tansley Woods Community Centre, 1996 Itabashi Way. City staff will be on hand to present the operating budget and to answer any questions you may have.

2016 Budget Timelines

Jan. 14, 2016 Public Budget Information Meeting (Tansley Woods Community Centre, 7 p.m.)
Jan. 19, 2016 Delegations and review of 2016 Proposed Operating Budget at C&CS Committee (1 p.m.; reconvene at 6:30 p.m. if required)
Jan. 21, 2016 Operating Budget review and approval at C&CS Budget Committee (3 p.m.; reconvene at 6:30 p.m. if required)
Jan. 25, 2016 Council approval of the 2016 Operating Budget (6:30 p.m.)

Budget Books

To access the 2016 Operating Budget and 2016 Capital Budget books, visit https://www.burlington.ca/en/your-city/Budget-2016.asp.

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit the city’s Frequently Asked Questions page on the budget to find answers to some of the most common inquiries we receive about the budget: https://www.burlington.ca/en/your-city/Budget-Frequently-Asked-Questions.asp.

 

November/December 2015 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings in November and December, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.

Improved Storm Resilience for Residential Dwellings and Public Infrastructure

IMG_5544

Mayor Rick Goldring’s Nov. 20 workshop on improved storm resilience for residential dwellings and public infrastructure included case studies from other municipalities and their responses to severe storm incidents. The panel featured Allan Magi, Executive Director, Capital Works, City of Burlington; Martin Powell, Comissioner, Transportation & Works Department, City of Mississauga; David Kellershohn, Manager, Water Infrastructure Management, City of Toronto, and moderator Scott Stewart, General Manager of Development and Infrastructure, City of Burlington.

Since August 4th, 2014, when Burlington was subjected to a deluge of 191 millimetres of rain in a single day, the City of Burlington and Halton Region have moved forward on plans to better protect ourselves both as homeowners and managers of the municipal infrastructure.

In previous newsletters, I have reported on measures taken by the City of Burlington and Halton Region to upgrade rainwater drainage and run-off through better maintenance, upgrades and new construction. Meanwhile, we have been engaged in dialogue with the insurance industry and other levels of government on the need for overland flood insurance to protect homeowners against financial losses from such catastrophes. Continue reading

June 2015 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings in June, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online.

Upcoming Meetings

Development & Infrastructure Committee: Monday, July 6 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Burlington City Council: Wednesday, July 15 at 6:30 pm.

Update on my Five Priorities for Burlington

This January, I set out five priorities I believed we could make traction on in 2015, including: intensification engagement, climate change adaptation, economic development, service based budgeting and the Community Energy Plan. Continue reading