Thanks to everyone that attended the virtual 2023 Budget Town Hall on Jan. 19. We couldn't get to all the questions during the event, so we have answered some of the more common questions below. The recording of the budget meeting will be posted in the coming days and we will do our best to answer the other outstanding questions.
Why is the 2023 proposed tax increase so high?
The budget process is one of the most important exercises the city undertakes each year.
Through this process, our goal is to maintain an appropriate balance between affordability, service levels and financial sustainability. For the 2023 Budget, this task is challenging. The City budget is facing a number of pressures:
- Almost three years of COVID-19 impacts have meant revenue losses and increased expenses. COVID has changed people’s spending behaviours and their use of certain city programs
- Higher than average inflation which has led to increasing costs to maintain services to the community
- Aging infrastructure - our city has not kept pace with investing in the services and amenities that our growing community needs like community centres, and ensuring our infrastructure is in a state of good repair for things like our roads, buildings and transportation.
What am I getting for the increase in my taxes?
To address these pressures, the 2023 Budget will require the City to make key community investments for much needed improvements the community has been asking for, including:
- New state of the art Skyway Community Centre
- Redevelopment of former Robert Bateman High School into a vital community hub
- More City staff to meet the needs of our growing city in bylaw enforcement, transit, animal services, and fire fighting
The proposed increase will be a financial challenge for me/my household.
The proposed tax increase is certainly higher than what we are used to seeing or what we would like to see. The size of the increase this proposed budget is presenting to the community is not lost on me or any of the City staff that have helped prepare this budget. We’re in a challenging place and further delaying these much-needed investments will only be a disservice to the community. Pushing these items down the road will only end up costing the community more as the price of things like construction and labour continue to go up.
While the budget presents a big challenge, it also presents a great opportunity to make our city better by making the investments the community needs and has been asking for. This budget is about protecting and improving the future of our growing city.
The City of Burlington's Low-Income Seniors Property Tax Rebate Program offers a $550 rebate to eligible seniors on their property taxes. This amount was increased in 2021 and is the highest among the three municipalities in Halton that offer a rebate.
To qualify, you or your spouse must meet all of the following requirements:
- Be at least 65 years old as of Jan. 1
- Be the assessed owner and occupant of a residential property in the City of Burlington for at least one year preceding the application
- Have received your Guaranteed Income Supplement (pursuant to the Old Age Security Act)
- Have paid property taxes in full, excluding the applicable rebate
More information is available on burlington.ca/propertytax.
Halton Region also offers the Older Adult Property Tax Deferral Program. More information is available online: Older Adults Property Tax Deferral Program - City of Burlington
How can I share my feedback with Council?
We know our citizens expect us to maintain a high quality of services as our city continues to grow and evolve and we want everyone to share their feedback with us, so we can continue to deliver on their expectations.
In the coming weeks, City Council will be reviewing the proposed budget on Feb. 6, 7 and 9, starting at 9:30 a.m. There will be opportunities to speak to Council at these meetings and members of the public that would like to delegate can register by calling 905-335-7777, ext. 7481 or visiting burlington.ca/delegation. The deadline to register is Feb. 3, 2023.
Why don’t you delay infrastructure improvements and compare our priorities with our neighbouring municipalities?
Every municipality has different priorities that are unique and specific to the needs of their community and residents.
Delaying infrastructure improvements is not good practice or prudent financing, as costs can increase, and scope of required repair can expand with each delay. Keeping infrastructure in a state of good repair and in a timely manner ensures the public’s safety, reduces the chance of emergency shut downs and helps to avoid costly repairs in the future.
Thank you for your contribution!
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