One of my many highlights of being on Council has been saving Landsdown and General Brock parklands from residential development (General Brock over 12 acres, Landsdown about 5 acres). This took a team of dedicated Burlington residents and supportive city staff many years of meetings and hard work but these parklands will be enjoyed by the entire city forever. I was instrumental in the reduction to ONE COUNCILLOR PER WARD and the restructuring of committees for a more efficient council that operates more like a Board of Directors. We are the envy of neighbouring communities that have councils that are very large, cumbersome and have difficulty making decisions.
TaxesIn the first almost 10 years I was on council, taxes were essentially held at zero % increase. In the last 14 years tax increases have been between 2 and 4%. I consistently have potential reductions at council, some of which are approved and some are not, but I always have the tax payers in mind and I realize that many are not seeing income increases of 2-4%.
A significant priority of my constituents has been Infrastructure Repair and Renewal of roads, sidewalks, sewers, etc., and, I am pleased to say that budget has increased 5 fold in the last 10 years including the very successful shave and pave program for our roads. (Grind off top 1-1.5 inches and topdress with new asphalt).
I have a particular concern about major capital expenditures in difficult times and the additional operating costs attached to these expenditures.
Joseph Brant HospitalWhile I still think our hospital should be funded entirely by the Provincial Government, I recognize that the hospital would not qualify for funding without a commitment of $120 million from our community with $60 million of that on the tax base.
A community survey showed that 77% supported a renewed and expanded hospital. This expense has appeared as a separate line on our tax bills and I have worked hard at budget time each year to find savings to reduce the impact of that expense. The hospital portion is about 1% of our tax increase over each of those years so our tax increases without the hospital have been less.