Without an aggressive strategy of job creation, Burlington residents will see their property taxes spike, services cut or development expand into rural areas.
Here’s why: Providing all of the services required for residents – community services and infrastructure for example – far exceeds the tax revenues collected. By contrast, the “industrial, commercial, institutional” tax class – or “ICI” -pays more than double the residential property tax rate, but only costs a fraction of that to service. There can be as much as an 80% profit on industrial taxes, versus a 40% loss on residential taxes.
A balance between residential and ICI tax revenue is critical to municipal health, yet currently, residential taxes account for 82% of Burlington’s tax revenue, versus 18% from the commercial/industrial sector.
Non residential growth has essentially flatlined in Burlington over the past 15 years, while residential growth has almost tripled. Burlington used to see double digit employment growth; now, 2% annual growth is “optimistic.” When residential growth outpaces economic growth, the city is left with three unpalatable choices: cut services, dramatically increase property taxes, or expand development into the rural area.