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November 19, 2020

Letter from Burlington Mayor and Team Burlington on 2020 Provincial Budget sent to Finance Minister, Premier

This article first appeared on mariannemeedward.ca.

*Please see below a letter written in partnership with Burlington Economic Development, Tourism Burlington, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, the Burlington Downtown Business Association and the Aldershot Village BIA with respect to the recently announced 2020 Provincial Budget (LINK: Letter to Minister Phillips November 18 2020).

The Honourable Rod Phillips
Minister of Finance
c/o Budget Secretariat
Frost Building North, 3rd floor

November 18, 2020

Minister Phillips,

On behalf of the City of Burlington and our Team Burlington partners, Burlington Economic Development, Tourism Burlington, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, the Burlington Downtown Business Association and the Aldershot Village BIA, I want to thank you for the new funding announced as part of the recent Provincial Budget that will help support communities and businesses as they work to recover from the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.

The $100 million investment over two years for the Community Building Fund will support local tourism, cultural and sport organizations and help municipalities make investments in infrastructure rehabilitation and renovation.

The $2 million investment over two years to create a new Inclusive Community Grants program will help with the development of essential supports, especially for our growing number of older residents.

The $680 million investment in broadband infrastructure will significantly help our rural community gain connectivity for work, education and much-needed social interactions.

Giving municipalities the ability to target property tax relief for small commercial properties will help provide tax relief at a time when our business owners need it most.

The City of Burlington shares responsibility for supporting our residents and businesses and have been doing our part to contribute to our economic recovery by:

  • Providing property tax relief as well as deferring final property tax instalments;
  • Providing expedited approvals for restaurant patio expansions including winter patios and waiving related fees; and
  • Funding the Burlington Safe Restart COVID-19 Small Business Relief Program, providing up to $2500 in grants to help local business purchase PPE and/or renovate their space to adhere to reopening guidelines.

While we most certainly appreciate the phase 1 Safe Restart funding provided to the City, to strengthen our collective response here in Burlington, we ask your government to:

  1. review our recent applications for phase 2 Safe Restart funding to avoid a year-end shortfall which is expected to be approximately $3.7 million net of cuts and spending deferrals we have already made;
  2. review the Ontario Building Code to help provide greater flexibility to businesses as they adapt to new safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 such as restaurant patios and tent enclosures;
  3. provide municipalities with the ability to create and implement local business support programs, including providing grants and other forms of financial aid, that are responsive to our local business communities’ priorities and needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  4. confirm that such municipal programs do not contravene the spirit and intent of Section 106 of the Municipal Act, 2001 Municipal government is the closest level of government to local business. Funding supports to maintain our financial stability will allow us to better respond to the concerns of our business community and make it possible to offer targeted support at the local level.

Our partners at Team Burlington are fully supportive of ensuring our small and mid-size businesses are able to adapt to e-commerce and evolving business models, as well as keep our global companies operating at full capacity.

Sincerely,

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward
City of Burlington

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