March/April 2016 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

Agendas, minutes and videos on standing committee and council meetings in March/April, as well as agendas and reports for upcoming meetings, are available online. Continue reading

February 2016 Progress Report

Committee and Council Meetings

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

Council News in Brief

As a way to further engage the community in our conversation about great city-building and keep you informed of the latest news at City Hall, I am posting highlights from committee and council meetings on my blog at www.burlingtonmayor.com. Highlights will be posted within a day or two of committee and council meetings on my blog. Please check back regularly to stay up to date. Here are the latest committee and council news items in brief for February:  Continue reading

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.

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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.

 

October 2015 Progress Report

 

Committee and Council Meetings

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

New Players in Burlington Following the Federal Election 

Like most of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area, Burlington was swept up in the Liberal red tide that dominated voting in Ontario in the federal election on October 19th.

Following redistribution of electoral boundaries, Burlington now occupies all or part of three federal ridings.

I want to offer my congratulations to Karina Gould, the Liberal candidate and next MP for the riding of Burlington and also to the successful Liberal candidate in the new riding of Oakville North-Burlington, Pam Damoff. Congratulations are also in order for Lisa Raitt, who has been re-elected in the riding of Milton (which now includes rural North Burlington.)

I hope to meet with all of the MPs soon. I look forward to ongoing dialogue with all three of them on how we can work together to foster a vibrant and even more prosperous Burlington. Continue reading