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Burlington mayor unveils cabinet-style government model

Photography by Dave Gruggen

Not unlike the provincial and federal government, Burlington’s councillors this term will assume cabinet-like roles and responsibilities.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward announced the change as she delivered a state-of-the-city message at the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

With only six members, every Burlington councillor received a portfolio.

The lineup includes:

  • Deputy Mayor for Business and Red Tape Reduction: Councillor Kelvin Galbraith
  • Deputy Mayor for Housing: Councillor Shawna Stolte
  • Deputy Mayor for Strategy & Budget: Councillor Paul Sharman
  • Deputy Mayor for the Environment: Councillor Rory Nisan
  • Deputy Mayor for Recreation & Community Services: Councillor Angelo Bentivegna
  • Deputy Mayor for Community Engagement & Partnerships: Councillor Lisa Kearns
Mayor Meed Ward with Megan Tregunno CEO Burlington community foundation and Ron Foxcroft

The mayor outlines some of the challenges and opportunities facing the city:

  • Budget. Council has approved a budget that will add more than 7 percent to the household tax bill. The Mayor said even with that increase there are “no frills no ‘nice-to-haves,’” although the $80-million-plus community centre project at the former Robert Bateman School will probably make it necessary for the city to raise its self-imposed debt ceiling.
  • Staff compensation. The mayor said the city is losing senior staff at a much higher rate than is normal partly because of compensation not being competitive with other municipalities
  • Development approvals. The mayor reported that thanks to funding from the Streamline Development Approval Fund (SDAF), the city has been able to greatly speed up development applications.
  • Bill 23. The mayor told the group that “Fundamentally, Bill 23 as it is currently written is counter-productive to how complete communities actually get built in growing cities.” She argues that Burlington has the space to grow housing within its existing urban boundary, particularly in the areas around the city’s three GO stations.

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