City releases Preliminary 2018 Operating and Capital Budgets 

For Immediate Release
11/21/2017 
Contact: Maria Visocchi, Director, Communications & Community Engagement 
Phone: 519-759-4150 

The City of Brantford recognizes that municipal budget decisions have a profound impact on the daily lives of our residents. From garbage collection, to public transit, to the safety of our neighbourhoods, budgets sit at the heart of community development. Resident engagement, accountability, fiscal prudence, and transparency are fundamental components of the City’s budget process. Meaningful and effective public engagement improves the quality of decisions made, facilitates citizen understanding of issues and government processes, and fosters respect for the views of others.

Today the City released the 2018 Operating Budget package including information regarding the current budget status, departmental budget submissions, and unmet needs. As highlighted in the package prepared by Finance staff, the current budget increase is estimated at 1.97% after assessment growth, which will serve as the starting point for the Budget Estimates process beginning November 27, 2017.

Both the 2018 Draft Operating Budget and 10-Year Capital Plan that will be referenced during the Estimates Committee process are now available on the City’s website at: brantford.ca/govt/budget/Pages/default.aspx.

"The Finance Committee has worked diligently and closely with staff to get us to this position", says Councillor Rick Weaver, Chair of the Finance Committee, who put process changes in place to further direct the development of the budget by Council. "This truly is a Council built budget", he added, "and while we recognize we have some difficult decisions to make over the next several weeks, we are very encouraged by this starting point."

Brantford Mayor Chris Friel says that, overall, he thinks people will be pleased adding, "Through the City's Budget Priorities Open House and the significant response to the Budget Survey, we've had more public input in our budget consultation process than ever before, and I'm confident people will see their feedback reflected in the 2018 budget", the Mayor said.

To help inform Council during the budget process and in a concerted effort to engage the public earlier in the budget planning process, the City hosted a Budget Priorities Open House in September where residents had the opportunity to voice their feedback regarding community priorities. Residents also had the opportunity to share their feedback by completing the 2017 Budget Priorities Survey. In 2017, 1,070 respondents representing an increase of 18% participation versus a year ago completed the 2018 Budget Priorities Public Survey. 925 respondents completed the 2018 Budget Survey online while 145 respondents completed paper copies of the survey that were provided at various City and community facilities.

Some of the key findings of the survey include:

  • Continued enthusiasm and support for City parks, trails and open spaces with several open ended comments citing need for upgraded Parks in their individual neighbourhoods
  • A majority of respondents continue to express need for public transit improvements
  • A majority of respondents did not support additional investment in golf operations or arts and culture initiatives that would result in tax increases
  • This year’s study showed a higher ranking of importance of Emergency Services including Police and Fire
  • Continued strong support expressed for attracting and retaining new industry/jobs – reflected in both statistical and open ended feedback
  • Increasing fees for use of City roads, development application fees and street parking/permits continue to be the preferred option for generating City revenue while increasing Brantford Transit and Brantford Lift fares was the option most opposed to by a majority of respondents

A detailed summary of the 2018 Budget Priorities Survey can be accessed on the City's website at bit.ly/2018BudgetFindings.

For more information regarding the 2018 budget process or to learn more about how the public can become involved, residents are encouraged to contact City Hall at (519) 759-4150, Ext. 5420.