5 Things to Know About Burlington’s 2018 Budget
With Burlington growing every year and tackling more and more grand-scale projects (such as the Downtown Mobility Hub, plus new condos and other residential initiatives), its budget has had to evolve to keep pace with the changes. Taxpayers may recall city council approved its 10-year $688 million capital budget - with a 2018 capital budget of $68.6 million - on Dec. 11, 2017. Well, the operating budget will be going to city council on Jan. 18 for a review. (Its approval is scheduled for Jan. 22). Here are five things to know about Burlington's 2018 budget.
1. Added together, the proposed total city tax increase is 4.19 per cent.
The 2018 operating budget delivers a base budget increase of 0.46 per cent. Other impacts to the operating budget include: $1 million or an additional tax increase of 0.65 per cent for legislative changes to the Employment Standards and Labour Relations Acts (Bill 148); $1.3 million or an additional tax increase of 0.84 per cent for changes made in transit to provide operational sustainability; $1.2 million or an additional tax increase of 0.78 per cent for impacts from the 2014 arbitrated fire department settlement; $320,000 or an additional tax increase of 0.21 per cent to increase maintenance standards on city sportsfields.
2. The bottom line for homeowners
City of Burlington taxes for a home valued at $500,000 are $1,900.25. When combined with the proposed Halton Region increase and no change for education, the overall tax increase is projected at 2.49 per cent or $21.03 per $100,000 of current value assessment. The 2018 operating budget focuses on: maintaining service levels; a continued commitment to the asset management plan; strategic investments such as improved transit; upholding legislative requirements such as Bill 148; and ensuring competitive property taxes.
3. The impact of the minimum wage increase
Significant budget pressures impacted the 2018 proposed operating budget, including Bill 148 to the tune of $1 million. Bill 148 amends the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act effective Jan. 1, 2018. The changes include an increase to minimum wage to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and then to $15 per hour in 2019.
4. Transit is also getting a fair chunk of cash: $1.3 million
In Sept. 2017, council received a presentation from transit staff on the challenges facing the department's operations. At that time Council directed staff to immediately take the necessary steps to address safety concerns, the level of supervision and appropriate preventative maintenance to ensure operational sustainability. Roughly $372,000 will add five bus drivers to allow for industry standard layover times, improved scheduling and reliability of the service, according to the city.
5. Parks are included.
About $320,000 is planned to implement sports field maintenance enhancements. The enhancement will result in improved turf resilience and playability and also demonstrates the city's environmental leadership and stewardship of Burlington's natural assets, the city says.
Click here for detailed information on the 2018 capital budget.