,

Budget: $300k for intensification study, $35k bylaw enforcement, $14k seniors fare, plus 15 other new funding requests

The city’s operating budget includes 18 requests for additional funding. Details of each, and My Take, are below. On some of the requests I am seeking additional information before making a determination.

My Take: I believe the budget process needs review. Focusing council’s time reviewing 16 different business cases that are individually submitted is not strategic. Though the number is less than previous years (over 70 items the first year we tried this budget model process) it is still a significant amount of additional analysis for a relatively small part of the budget (less than $500,000 in ongoing spending) while one of the largest items – the base budget – goes without analysis, unless requested. Though some of the requests are legitimate, the question remains why these items cannot be funded within existing budgets by reallocating spending.

New Paradigm condos on Fairview will add close to 1,000 new units.
New Paradigm condos on Fairview will add close to 1,000 new units.

Intensification

2016-034: Planning staff are requesting $300,000 in one time funding to study growth and intensification in Burlington. The Intensification Study & Plan would update the vision for growth in our city to assist in land use decisions and infrastructure planning.
Amount: $300,000
Funding source: Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (no tax impact)
My Take: Support

Senior’s Fare Transit Program

2016-053: On-going funding for a reduced Senior’s Fare Transit Program, Two for a Toonie.
Amount: $14,000
Funding source: Taxes
My Take: Do Not Support Two for Toonie program. Support the free Mondays. See related article: Seniors Transit Fare

By-Law Enforcement

2016-013: On-going funding to enhance bylaw enforcement to provide an answering service to take complaints after hours and on weekends.
Amount: $35,000
Funding source: Taxes
My Take: Support; residents have been asking for additional enforcement. I am seeking clarification on whether the service would immediately dispatch an officer to deal with complaints.

Additional requests:

2016-005: One time funding for an Information Technology contract position to assist with implementing a reporting and analytics tool (business intelligence).
Amount: $209,350
Funding source: Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (no tax impact)
My Take: Seeking additional information

2016-031: One time funding for a new agenda and meeting management system as the current system is no longer supported.
Amount: $56,000
Funding source: Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (no tax impact)
My Take: Seeking additional information

2016-031: One time funding for Questica Budget tool for developing the operating budget.
Amount: $60,400
Funding source: Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (no tax impact)
My Take: Seeking additional information

2016-047: One time funding for a seconded team to assist with implement new Parks & Recreation Registration and Scheduling software.
Amount: $240,761
Funding source: Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (no tax impact)
My Take: Seeking additional information

2016-033: One-time funding for data collection in the downtown to track performance against targets outlined in the Core Commitment.
Amount: $35,000
Funding source: Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (no tax impact)
My Take: Support

2016-006: Hiring of part-time audio-visual specialist (3 days/week) to improve webcasting of city meetings, plus necessary equipment upgrades
Amount: $41,400
Funding source: $2200 upgrades from Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (no tax impact)
$39,240 from taxes
My Take: Support

2016-029: Reducing City Talk from 3 issues to 2 issues per year. City Talk is the a city-wide printed magazine delivered to all homes with information from the city as well as each member of council.
Annual Savings: ($46,000)
Funding source: Tax reduction
My Take: Support

2016-048: Annual funding for a Community investment initiative $50,000, plus  $30,000 for Ward-Based Initiatives (2016-056) (eg. Supernova, Car-Free Sundays, Jane’s Walk). See related article here: C&CS-Dec 8 – Community Investment Fund
Amount: $50,000 + $30,000 ($5000 per 6 wards)
Funding source: Taxes
My Take: Support

2016-052: One-time funding to hire an event coordinator for Canada 150 Celebrations, plus costs for promotional materials, meetings and other expenses.
Amount: $100,000
Funding source: Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund (no tax impact)
My Take: Do Not Support;  we can and have participated in provincial and national celebrations (War of 1812, Pan Am Games) within existing budgets and staff complements.

2016-016: On-going funding for rural ditching and culvert replacement program to improve public safety and reduce flood damage risk.
Amount: $100,000
Funding source: Taxes
My Take: Support

2016-057: On-going funding to hire a stormwater technician dedicated to stormwater works, including responding to lot grading and drainage concerns.
Amount: $83,900
Funding source: Taxes
My Take: Support

2016-018: On-going funding for increased winter maintenance for trails and sidewalks. For more information see winter maintenance enhancements approved by council in Spring 2015 (page 4).
Amount: $132,330
Funding source: Taxes
My Take: Support

TOTAL TAX IMPACT: If all business cases above are approved, the total increase to the tax levy (net of the reduction from cancelling one issue of City Talk) is $438,470 (0.31%). The draw on the Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve Fund for the one-time funding requests is $1,003,711.

Requests from Local Boards:

2016-002: The Burlington Performing Arts Centre is requesting on-going funding for a full-time technician.
Amount: $72,500
Funding source: Taxes
My Take: Seeking Additional Information

2016-004: The Burlington Performing Arts Centre is requesting on-going funding for a Community Engagement Liaison to liaise with community user groups to provide information about options to use the service, thereby increasing rental revenue.
Amount: $115,800
Funding source: Taxes
My Take: Seeking Additional Information

TOTAL TAX IMPACT: If both the BPAC business cases are approved, the total increase to the tax levy would be $183,300 or 0.13%.

Resources:

See the full summary of each of these business cases in the Operating Budget Book, starting on Page 18.

For additional resources, visit the city’s webpage dedicated to the 2016 Budget

Your Take: What business cases do you support? Leave a comment below.

I was inspired to seek public office because I believe, like so many of you, “I can do something about that” on the issues we face. As councilor, my role is to take a stand on what’s best for residents and go to bat for it. Pushback is inevitable from those who don’t have the community’s interests at heart. I will stand with you and for you, to achieve the best interests of our city, without caving to unacceptable compromise in the name of consensus.

4 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. The BPAC is seeking a Community Engagement Liaison with the objective of increasing rental revenue. Therefore the high cost of this position ($115800??) should be offset by additional rental revenue with no burden on the tax base. This position should pay for itself.

What's your take?