Private businesses aren’t the only institutions facing higher costs as a result of a hike in Ontario’s minimum wage to $14. The changes include an increase to $14 per hour immediately and then to $15 per hour in 2019.
The City of Burlington has earmarked $1 million it its 2018 operating budget to cover the cost of the raise some of its employees will be getting because of the new provincial legislation.
Councillors aren’t complaining, however. They earn $105, 398 annually as of April 1 and Mayor Rick Goldring receives $177,110.
Even if they work the 70 hours a week some of them claim, that works out to $30 an hour for counciliors and $48 per hour for the mayor, more than triple the rate for minimum wage workers
The Ontario Living Wage Network defines a living wage as the hourly pay a worker needs to earn in order to cover their basic expenses and participate in their community. Based on the National Living Wage Framework , as of April 2017, the hourly living wage in Halton is $17.95.
Among other things, the $160.1 million operating budget includes $10.75 million as the City’s final contribution in a five-year commitment to the Joseph Brant Hospital redevelopment, $1.55 million for improved transit and transportation and $1.2 million for impacts from the 2014 arbitrated Fire Department wage settlement
The City plans to hire five more bus drivers and bus service will be provided on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
“Burlington has a strong economy, is a safe community, and has stable and vibrant neighbourhoods and gathering places,” Mayor Rick Goldring said in his annual State of the City address.
When combined with tax increases from Halton Region and the boards of education, the overall tax increase is 2.55 per cent or $20.27 per $100,000 of a home’s current value assessment.
Over the last seven years the average tax hike in Burlington has been 1.9 per cent, which is one of the lowest figures for municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas.
So far there’s no word on immediate plans to enhance public art in Burlington, although the City recently asked the public for its input on what should be done in the future.
Controversy arose a few years ago when council approved installation of the six-metre tall bronze and stainless steel orchid sculptures near the Upper Middle Road underpass between Appleby and Walker’s lines at a cost of $100,000. The orchids were once native to Burlington
Another sculpture, Crescendo (Rising Wave), at the corner of Plains Road and Waterdown Road, was unveiled in 2017 but $60,000 for that was raised jointly by the City, Branthaven Homes, the Aldershot BIA, the Plains Road Village Vision Fund, residents and businesses. It was designed to represent a contemporary and historic Aldershot Village. The theme of Crescendo links together the past, present and future of the neighbourhood.
The jury was made up of residents, local artists and business owners.
Ward 1 Councillor Rick Craven was one of its biggest boosters.
“We are excited for this new public artwork for the community,” he said. “It creates a neighbourhood hub for all to enjoy and adds to the overall public experience in Aldershot Village.”
In December council also approved a capital budget of $68.6 million. Almost half of that – $32 million – is being targeted for road improvements.
Meanwhile the recently formed Engaged Citizens of Burlington (ECoB) group is watching everything closely and is hosting a free Municipal Election Workshop on Thursday, Feb 22 for residents considering running in the Oct. municipal election.
It will be held at the Tansley Woods Community Centre on Itabashi Way from 7 to 9 p.m.