What are Budget documents?

    Budget documents tell a city's financial story and set spending targets for municipal programs, services and initiatives. The Budget is an important element in the accountability cycle and provides a standard against which later performance can be judged.

    What is a Capital Budget and Forecast?

    A Capital Budget and Forecast is where the City plans for upcoming years and identifies how to pay for City infrastructure projects, such as road reconstruction, park improvements and public buildings

    What pays for the Capital Budget?

    The City relies on several funding sources, some that occur each year and others that are one-time funds. These funding sources include:

    • Charges levied against developers to cover the cost of new infrastructure in growth areas.
    • Issuing of debt
    • Senior government transfers, such as the federal Canadian Community Building Fund (federal gas tax) and the provincial gas tax
    • Transfers from reserve funds
    • Transfers from the Operating Budget

    What are capital projects?

    A capital project is a project that helps maintain or improve a City asset, often called infrastructure. It includes:

    • Major maintenance or rehabilitation projects
    • New construction, expansion, renovation or replacement projects for existing facilities
    • Purchases of major equipment

    Project costs can include:

    • Architectural planning
    • Contract services
    • Cost of land
    • Engineering

    Who determines what is included in the Capital Budget?

    During the Capital Budget process, we consider:

    Along with input we receive from community consultation, staff develops a one-year Capital Budget and 10-year forecast. The City's Corporate Services, Strategy Risk and Accountability Committee then reviews the Budget and Council approves it. 

    What is an Operating Budget?

    The Operating Budget encapsulates the City's plans for day-to-day operations, including salaries, utilities and supplies to deliver City services.

    What pays for the Operating Budget?

    The Operating Budget is mainly funded from property taxes, but it can also include revenues from:

    • Earnings on our investments
    • Senior government subsidies, such as the provincial gas tax
    • User fees and charges, such as recreation fees, parking fines, business licences and building permits

    Who decides how my City taxes are spent?

    Burlington City Council ultimately decides how taxes are spent, based on feedback from community stakeholders, including taxpayers, and recommendations from City staff. Most City taxes collected go to the Operating Budget (about 75 per cent). The rest go to the Capital Budget (about 25 per cent).

    Where are my tax dollars spent?

    We collect property taxes on behalf of both Halton Region and the school boards. Of your property taxes, approximately 46 per cent funds City services, 35 per cent funds the Region and 19 per cent funds the school boards.

    The City's share of taxes pays for municipal services, such as:

    Halton Region's share of taxes pays for regional services, such as:

    • Garbage and recycling collection and disposal
    • Policing
    • Public health and ambulance services
    • Water and wastewater

    The school boards' (educational) share of taxes is directed to:

    If there is a budget surplus, where does it go?

    Provincial legislation dictates that municipal budgets in Ontario must be balanced annually. The City cannot budget for a surplus or deficit.
    To ensure a municipality's long-term stability and protection against unforeseen circumstances (i.e., snowstorms, flooding, etc.), legislation allows municipalities to allocate surplus funds to reserve funds.

    I don't take the bus/use the parks/walk on the trails/use the arenas. Why should I pay for these services? Why can't I just pay for what I use?

    Depending on the stage in your life and your interests, you will use City services differently. Whether we use them or not, we all pay for the many services that the City must provide. If you don't drive a car, you still pay for roads. If you don't use our parks, a portion of your taxes are still used for their upkeep. If you do not have school-aged children, you still pay education taxes.

    How are house values assessed?

    The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) assesses all properties in Ontario. The assessed value is based on valid property sales in your community. This method of assessment is called the Current Value Assessment. Visit MPAC's website for more information.

    What date is my house value based on?

    Learn about the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation's (MPAC) assessment update postponement.

    As part of the Province of Ontario's Budget on March 24, 2021, the Minister of Finance announced the Province's decision to once again postpone a province-wide property assessment update due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Property assessments for the 2022 property tax year will continue to be based on Jan. 1, 2016 current values.

    How is my tax bill calculated?

    Your tax bill is determined by multiplying your assessment by the tax rates determined by the City, Halton Region and the Province of Ontario (education).