At the January 23 Burlington City Council meeting, council approved the City of Burlington’s 2017 operating budget.
The tax rate increase for the City of Burlington portion is 4.42% and the overall tax rate increase, which includes the effect of taxes at the region and school boards is 2.56%.
The City portion includes a 2.09% increase to cover increasing commodity and compensation costs and 1.58% increase to help address the $130 million infrastructure gap. The balance of the increase (.81%) was for enhanced services that include: additional resources for tree service, project management resources and improved play field maintenance.
The increased investment ($254,000) in tree service is required to meet current levels of service for inspections, removals, stumping, planting, watering, etc. Our urban trees are a tremendous asset to all of us. They act as an air filter, they absorb carbon dioxide emissions, provide a cooling effect in the summer and add to the aesthetics of the city.
The additional resources ($550,000) for project management will assist the city in becoming more effective in how the many projects including those related to our strategic plan, are implemented. Our City Manager will direct how this funding is used and he will be reporting back to council on a regular basis. Without the investment, project work would be more expensive and not as timely.
Our play field user groups have pointed out to us that the maintenance service that the city provides for play fields is inferior to all our neighbouring municipalities. Staff were recommending that we increase the service in 2018, however council has decided to provide partial funding ($200,000) in 2017 in order to see some improvement this year. Continue reading