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C&CS March 21: BIA budgets; Provincial court plan; Gender-neutral washrooms; Strategic plan; Cycling committee year-end report; & more

Below is a complete list of items coming to the city’s Community & Corporate Services Committee March 21, 1pm & 6:30pm (if required). Recommendations from this meeting to go City Council April 11, 6:30 pm for final approval.

Residents can speak at these meetings if they Register as a Delegation in advance. Confidential items are heard in closed session (closed to the public).

To read the reports and recommendations related to these items, please review the full agenda here: C&CS March 21

Agendas, minutes and webcasts of all meetings can be found on the city’s Agendas & Minutes page.

Consent Agenda (routine items; no debate/discussion expected)

  1. bdba burlingtonBudget and Tax Levy for the Burlington Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA)

Highlights: The 2016 levy for the Burlington Downtown Business Improvement Area, known as the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA), is $728,000, an increase of $14,610 or 2.0% over 2015. The levy results in an overall tax rate increase of 1.66%, which equates to $3.96 increase for each $100,000 of Current Value Assessment (CVA). Expenses have increased by $24,610 or 3.3%. Key expenditure increases for the BDBAs 2016 work plan include enhanced investment in marketing, reinvestment in business recruitment services and sponsorship for the Burlington Comedy Festival. All businesses within the defined BDBA area are required to pay into the levy. The funds go toward marketing, events, beautification (for example the hanging flower baskets in summer, the Christmas lights in December) and other items. In addition, BDBA businesses pay separately into the parking reserve fund for maintenance of parking, and building future parking supply. The annual contribution to the fund from members is roughly $225,000. There are 430 member-businesses in the BDBA. I sit on the BDBA as the Ward 2 representative. Council is required to approve the levy annually. Visit the BDBA website here: Burlington Downtown

aldershot bia 2. Budget and Tax Levy for the Aldershot Village Business Improvement Area

Highlights:  The proposed budget and business levy for the Aldershot Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) is $105,050. The members’ levy represents an increase of $9,400 or 9.8% over 2015. The budget results in a tax rate increase of 14.68%, which equates to $6.94 increase in the levy for each $100,000 of Current Value Assessment (CVA). Key budget expenditures include increases for office/administration expenditures and contribution to the Beautification Reserve Fund. The increase in office costs include estimated funding for office lease costs, which is new as the Aldershot Village BIA is currently reviewing options of occupying a permanent office space. These increases are partially offset by a reduction in marketing, as a result of moving from printed newsletter to digital format. In 2015, the Aldershot Village BIA accomplished many goals including making significant financial investments in the landscaping and beautification of several nodes along the Plains Road corridor. There are approximately 250 member businesses in the Aldershot BIA. Council is required to approve the levy annually. Visit the Aldershot BIA website here: Aldershot BIA

3. Insurance litigation status as of January 31, 2016. (Most of this report is confidential. See below)

city hall4. Financial and non-financial performance measures as at December 31, 2015.

Highlights: The city’s year end budget had a favourable variance of  $4,691,667 (originally projected to be $4,750,000). Key variance items ($100,000 or more variance) include (negative variance where bracketed):

Favourable variances (costs less than budget): 

  • Human resources $2,086,354, largely due to delays in staffing vacant positions, called “gapping”;
  • diesel fuel $643,572, due to reduced fuel costs;
  • signs $123,416, due to less work performed on sign replacement;
  • natural gas $157,940, due to reduced costs;
  • advertising and promotion of $114,008, due to reduced costs for online versus print advertising, and reduction in transit marketing to partially mitigate lower transit fares;
  • external maintenance of $399,505, due to lower need of such services;
  • insurance savings of $145,614 due to changing providers;
  • provision to development reserve fund of $566,144, due to higher than anticipated planning revenues, partially offset by reduced building permit revenues of ($408,559) which required a draw from the reserve fund of $336,373;
  • Official Plan & Rezoning fees of $682,910, much higher than budgeted due to a large number of major redevelopments;
  • parking fine revenue of $292,317, largely due to increased ticket revenue from violations between 1am and 6am;
  • rent revenue of $155,168, largely due to increased rent from the Waterfront Centre;
  • debt recoveries of $128,768, largely due to debt recoveries for the new dome at Sherwood Forest as well as increased recoveries from the Halton District School Board for snow removal at the Haber Recreation Centre;
  • $2,049,820 from the province for the ice storm, transferred to the Severe Weather Reserve Fund;
  • $201,071 for higher than anticipated revenue from Penalty and Interest on Taxes paid by residents after the deadline;
  • overall increase of $1,228,429 earnings on investments, due to realized capital gains of $2,287,375;

Unfavourable variances (costs more than budget):

  • $(504,864) extra costs in Transit and Fleet Management Services are due to unexpected repairs for operations equipment and vehicles;
  • $(188,574) due to extra work performed for Halton Region on traffic signal controller replacements, offset by a favourable variance in Recovery from Halton Region. Additionally Winter Maintenance experienced higher costs for purchased winter salt brine as well as additional expenses to upgrade the two‐way radios.
  • $(433,734) for roads and parks maintenance due to increased salt usage from icy conditions in early 2015.
  • $(253,422) for hydro, due to increased rates for electricity in street lighting, arenas and pools.
  • $(114,466) for additional computer software licenses.
  • $(157,513) for increased equipment maintenance for unplanned repairs and an increase in preventative maintenance in Organized Sport and Recreation.
  • $(307,520) extra for snow removal, due to higher than budgeted snow removal costs in Arenas and Community Centres.
  • $(118,302) less for monthly parking permits, offset by increased daily parking fees and fine revenue.
  • $(696,866) reduction in transit fare revenue.
  • $(165,265) variance due to delay in hiring of the staff required to implement the approved projects.
  • $(67,799) unfavourble variance for bylaw enforcement. Budget is $325,140; expenditures were: $392,939; variance mainly due to increased Human Resources cost related to a job rotation, as well as a reduction in lottery licence revenues.

cycling committee logo5. Burlington Cycling Committee’s 2015 year end report.

Highlights: The Burlington Cycling Committee was established on February 12, 1990 as a volunteer Citizen’s Advisory Committee reporting to City Council through the Community and Corporate Services Committee. The role of the Cycling Committee is to assist, advise, recommend and support Council in matters pertaining to cycling in the City of Burlington. The committee’s vision is: “To see Burlington become a leading cycling city and where cyclists feel safe riding their bikes on any street or path any time of the year.”

Committee Objectives for 2016 include:

  • Library Seminars with a strong focus on safe cycling and bike maintenance to enable an active transportation community
  • Safe Cycling Skills workshop for youth at the “No Socks for Ivan” venue
  • Introduce the idea of offering cycling skills development for youth as part of Recreation Programming
  • Participate in community events to connect with citizens
  • Ward rides
  • Review and update Cycling Master Plan
  • Effectively advise city council regarding infrastructure and cycling

Recommendations to Council include:

  • Name the North Hydro Corridors
  • Continue to increase budget for Active Transportation to create: active living promotional campaigns and programs that encourage cycling throughout the city and downtown, work with businesses to attract cyclists (offer special deals/offers).
  • Painted bike lanes on major arteries connecting north and south Burlington across the QEW.
  • Improve cycling/pedestrian signage to educate/inform pedestrians and cyclists on how to safely share multi-use paths (i.e. pedestrians & pets keep to the right. Cyclists pass on the left)

Long-term Goals:

  • Cycling and pedestrian bridge over QEW crossings
  • Receive CycleON funding to pay for cycling infrastructure
  • Embrace a higher standard for on- and off-road bike facilities
  • Achieve a Gold Award recognition for Burlington from Share the Road

The committee has a webpage here: Burlington Cycling Committee and a newsletter, with 85 current subscribers. You can find past issues on their webpage.

Regular Agenda:

6. Approval of the 2015-2040 Strategic Plan. (Discussed at 6:30) See stand alone article here: (Coming Soon)

7. Purchase of a command support unit for Burlington Fire Protection Services. (Report to distributed under separate cover, and not yet available.)

Burlington-Court-House8. Update of the 2016 Provincial Offences Court business and budget-growth management plan.

Highlights: Both revenues and expenditures were up; a total of 69,700 charges were filed with Halton Court Services during 2015.  An increase of 3,000 charges (73,000) is projected for 2016. Writeoffs for fines deemed uncollectable are projected at 830 cases with a value of $538,000 for 2016. Time to trial for Part Three and Part One charges remains a challenge compared to provincial averages, given 100% capacity in three courtrooms. Time to early resolution meetings is at a critical stage, with a 6-7 month wait, putting cases that don’t reach resolution at risk. A new courthouse is expected for occupancy at 4085 Palladium Way in Alton by October 2018, with RFP proposals due March 15, 2016.

Committee will be asked to vote on several recommendations, including:

  • Request the Ministry of the Attorney General review set fines and court costs, with a view to implementing increases to offset the increase in judicial and monitoring fees. The report notes there has been an increase of 50% for judiciary costs, raising the cost to $300/hour ($225,000 increase to budget per year) and an increase of 100% of the provincial monitoring and enforcement fee ($24,400 increase to budget per year)
  • Approve the 2016 Halton Court Services budget, which includes a net revenue projection of $4.1 million, of which $3.87 million will be shared among the Municipal Partners and the Region as follows: Burlington – $628,670; Halton Hills – $181,830; Milton – $311,430; Oakville – $812,430; Region – $1,934,370
  • Approve the addition of a full time Administration Clerk to replace the current part-time Administration Clerk to manage the increasing number of charges and increased workload related to the Early Resolution program. The goal is one staff per 7000 charges; with the increase of charges last year, there was one staff per 8000 charges. The net budget impact of the change is $32,500.
  • Direct $50,000 from 2016 net revenues to the Reserve Fund (balance was $2.30 million at the end of 2015)
  • Approve $185,000 for next steps in the Growth Management Plan, $125,000 for professional consulting services and staff chargebacks, and up to $60,000 for a Request For Proposal honorarium to applicants (the honorarium would provide $15,000 to each unsuccessful compliant proponent that submits a proposal, common with design-build-leaseback procurement, which the courthouse is).

The growth management plan for Halton Court Services calls for the delivery of a new courthouse on Palladium Way in Alton for occupancy by October 2018 in order to meet the first court dates scheduled for January 7, 2019.

9. Memo regarding gender neutral washrooms in City facilities.

Highlights: Committee will be asked to vote on a motion to make family washrooms  “family/all gender” and therefore available to everyone, including persons who identify as gender neutral, transgendered or gender non-conforming, and do not feel comfortable in a male or female washroom and are sometimes harassed or bullied in these facilities.

Confidential Matters for Consideration: (Closed to the public)

  1. Finance department report providing the status of the reserve for contingencies as of January 31, 2016.

  2. Quarterly litigation update – November 1, 2015 to January 31, 2016.

  3. Appendices to insurance litigation update.

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.

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