The approval of a 4.5 per cent increase in the City of Burlington’s 2013 budget is an outrage and an insult to taxpayers, especially those on fixed incomes, of which there are many residing in the city. By blending the increase—which is several times the current inflation rate—with other portions (regional and education) of the property tax bill, the city’s council is trying to give residents the false impression that the increase was only 2.1 per cent, itself about twice the current inflation rate.
To top it off, the city council kept the increase to a mind-numbing 4.5 per cent by drawing down reserves by $2-million! And one of the more egregious items in the budget is a subsidy for the new Performing Arts Centre amounting to about a half-million dollars. This is outrageous by any measure, especially when the city projects it will spend a bit more than $9-million in total for the 2013 fiscal year.
Ward 2 City Councillor Marianne Meed Ward proposed $2.2-million in cuts, but these were mostly rejected by the spend-happy group we have at City Hall. Thanks to her for trying, though.
The Burlington Arts Centre has the earmarks of a white elephant, not unlike the unfinished, overdue, money-sink-hole Brant Street Pier.
Let’s hope we get some fresh blood running in the next election so we can show these inept politicians the door. With a couple of exceptions, we can safely vote blindly for any non-incumbent, he or she couldn’t be much worse than the gang we have now, and that goes double for the mayor.
Perhaps Meed Ward will run for mayor and introduce some much needed fiscal responsibility.