CFBB Response to passage of 3.3% Budget increase


CFBB is pleased to see that Council specifically listened to public comments and concerns expressed during the budget process. Quashing or deferring expenditures focused on employee betterments such as a dedicated exercise and fitness centre , large common area TV screens, Councillor office budgets and phasing in office renovations was an appropriate response to the public message that optics relating to accountability and responsibility matter.

The special levy of 2% included in the 2017 budget begins to address past deferrals of much needed infrastructure up-grades in the City, a situation bedeviling many communities across the province facing the same infrastructural needs.

It is our hope that Council will be addressing the need for property tax reform in order to address the thousands of investment properties that do not contribute their fair share for infrastructure and city services. Any future tax levies that will be required for provincial responsibilities should also be carefully considered moving forward.

It will not be easy, perhaps even possible to keep taxes at or below the rate of inflation, given that the community is growing so quickly and we have this huge infrastructural backlog to take care of.

When the Region of Peel and the School Board requirements are combined with the local tax levy, the overall impact on the taxpayer results in a property tax increase of 2.3%.

Altogether, CFBB feels that this is a responsible budget for the City of Brampton in 2017. However we feel that more work will need to be done next year. 

We thank both staff and Council for their dedication and considerable efforts on behalf of the taxpayer.  


Budget Surprises


Annual Municipal budget presentations and discussions open for public input are an essential part of operating any municipality. Details of projected revenue and expenditure estimates are laid out for the coming year, and include both operating and capital needs. After debate, agreement and approval is reached and the tax rate implication is communicated to the taxpayer.

For the process to work well, with as little upset as possible, it is a fundamental requirement that there is full disclosure of back up details of and the reasoning behind recommendations and initiatives for expenditures made to Council and the public by staff. Any lack of transparency which results in questioning intent or uncovers surprises which cause suspicion are ominous signs. And trust is often the victim.

CFBB has already delegated on some important concerns dealing with the Mayor’s staff complement and its cost to the taxpayer. As well, we have made an impassioned plea for the Council to address the need to have those property owners with secondary units pay additionally to defray the cost of fire protection, waste excess, and schooling overload.

In the paper this week, we have been alarmed to learn that some significant projected budget “asks” were somehow not made public by staff. Particularly egregious were the recommendations to provide an in-house $200,000 fitness centre for employees, $116,000 for artwork and three big screen televisions in the employee lunch room, over $1,250,000 for 5th and 6th floor renovations to improve office relationships amongst Councillors, and $100,000 to develop and install new “way-finding” signage in City buildings.

Did anyone at City Hall consider the optics of these requests? At a time when the City is facing a massive infrastructural shortfall which will require a special levy on the taxpayer, and a major severance exposure to meet the impact of the “house cleaning of staff” two months ago, CFBB believes that the above requests show a lack of sensitivity to the aggrieved taxpayer, already carrying the weight of the hospital levy assigned for equipment needs at the new Peel Memorial Health and Wellness centre.

To put it in perspective, staff, for instance, need to compare their work environment and their guaranteed benefit package with the private employee, their benefits and lack of employment security where uncertainty reigns supreme these days.

It is our hope at CFBB that those who have proposed these expenditures take a detailed look at these initiative requests, and determine whether they can be justified at all in this year’s upcoming budget. And as a caution, the taxpayer and CFBB do not react well to any lack of transparency from the administration, on new unjustified expenditures, on unfulfilled contracts, on sloppy oversight, and on exposures to legal matters that may have significant impact on the citizen and the City. Collectively, we will not be taken for granted.

We are pleased to see our Mayor asserting her leadership role in support of the taxpayer and voting against some of the same requests that CFBB found to be unacceptable and optically deficient.

Doug Bryden and Chris Bejnar CFBB co-chairs 

Delegation Budget Comments – Chris Bejnar – CFBB Co-Chair

November 28, 2016

Good evening everyone,

My delegation tonight will focus on two important factors that impact the amount we have to pay on our residential property tax bill, unregistered secondary units and the unfair property tax levy for Healthcare.

Unregistered Secondary Units

We believe that secondary units are an important form of affordable housing that is made available to thousands of Brampton residents.  Without them many would not know what to do or where to go. As Brampton is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities and expecting another 290,000 residents in the next 25 years, secondary units are, and will continue to be an important and necessary form of housing in this city.

I also believe that everyone’s goal is to ensure that these units are all properly registered, and most importantly offer a safe and hospitable living environment our residents.

From the much referenced McCarter report, we know that a growing population directly impacts the operational expenses of the city. We also have learned from this report that only 23% of our property tax revenue comes from the commercial industrial base and a significant 77% is made up solely from residential property taxes. It’s encouraging that Council this year has moved to boost the commercial industrial base to a goal of 40%, however this will take many years if not a decades to achieve. We will still have the majority of our revenue come from the residential property tax base for many more years to come.

With Council looking at approving a tax increase of 3.6% in 2017, this is more than double the forecasted Canadian average inflation rate of 1.45% for 2016.

We all understand that these tax increases are to get this city back on track with many priorities like maintaining service levels, investing in infrastructure repair and replacement, as well as, enhancing core services with a focus on transit. I would imagine that these initiatives are for ALL residents, and not just the property taxpayers of the city.

So if Brampton’s main revenue source is primarily from residential property taxes,   I think we can all agree that this makes our City more vulnerable to the effects of having a significant population living in unregistered residential secondary units. Do we really know the numbers?

What we do know is that a landlord is in the rental business. Just like Peel Housing or private developers are also in the rental business, they are mandated to design, build and maintain a safe and clean living environment for their tenants. I’m sure we can spend a good hour or so going over all the by-laws and building code standards and permits that are required for constructing residential homes in this city.  By collecting rent, you now have an income property, a property that should be accessed at a higher rate by mpac. An income property that benefits the landlord financially with lower mortgage payments or extra monthly income.

By not registering their unit or reporting their rental income, the private landlords are not contributing their share to the delivery of education, city services, and infrastructure costs in this city. It is because they are taxed in exactly the same way as the property tax taxpayer that does not have a secondary unit in their home.  Is that really a fair system? Is it a sustainable system for the long term?

I believe that part of our problem is that we’ve allowed this issue to go on for so long investors are not treating the registration process seriously. By-Law enforcement has not kept pace or structured their department to look for violations during evening and weekends. We need to start realizing that the situation will only get worse, the anger of taxpayers will only become stronger and the future delivery of city services will be challenged.

So how can the taxpayers and citizen groups of this City assist Council for the advocacy of a revamped property tax system to organizations such as mpac and AMO. After all, it was the Province who passed Bill 140 banning Municipalities from making secondary units illegal. Passing a bill without offering any assistance to the municipalities for funding, sharing of information or new legal powers. It has left municipalities that receive a large percentage of residential tax revenue such as Brampton at a real disadvantage. It has pitted neighbours against each other, created an unfair tax burden on the majority of households, will affect the quality of delivered services and we will see above inflation tax increases for the foreseeable future. We need the investors and landlords in this city to finally realize that they contributing significantly to our higher property taxes. We need the landlords and investors of this city to realize that they need to pay their fair share to the future prosperity of Brampton.

Tax Levies

We’ve had an unfair tax levy put onto the property tax payers of the city to fund Phase 1 of the new Peel Memorial Healthcare facility in Brampton. A levy that only applies to the property owners in the city, yet allows anyone who lives here as a resident to benefit. In the past, the responsibility for building healthcare facilities has been the responsibility of the province, placing such facilities in areas of high growth and demand.

So why is it that the taxpayers of Toronto did not require a property tax levy for William Osler’s Etobicoke General Hospital redevelopment that’s currently underway, yet Brampton taxpayers did?

According to a statement from William Osler, the $330 million contract price will involve the construction of a new four-storey tower, will add approximately 250,000 square feet of space to the existing facility and house the services most urgently needed by the Etobicoke community.

Are we supposed to be grateful to the Province for its recent announcement to finally open all 608 beds at Brampton Civic?   A delay that affected the quality of our healthcare and labelled Brampton as one of the lowest ranked major cities for healthcare in the country?

What will the purchasing power of our hard earned tax dollars be in 8-10 years for the remaining $20 million of the $60 million tax levy when required?

How about the tens of millions of precious tax dollars that will be wasted because of the decision to build Peel Memorial as a multi-phase project? This should have been planned as a full service hospital right from the beginning based on many years of research.

We need this Council to aggressively call out the province for the poor planning of healthcare in Brampton and to immediately call on the Province to begin the RFP process for a fully funded Phase 2 of Peel Memorial that will include a second ER and a minimum of 200+ in-patient beds. It’s about time we start to become a bit more aggressive with this government or any future provincial government for the needs of our diverse, dynamic and growing city. We are the 9th largest city in Canada and 3rd largest city in the GTHA. We have seen growth that is unmatched by any other Top 10 city. The citizens of Brampton generate hundreds of millions of tax revenues to both the Provincial and Federal governments. So why do we continue to graciously accept inadequate funding for transit, healthcare and infrastructure that does not allow for this city to properly compete for investment dollars with our neighbouring municipalities. We can’t afford to keep funding these Provincial responsibilities with tax levies onto the property tax payers of this city.

Thank you

Chris Bejnar Co-Chair CFBB


Delegation Budget Comments – J. D. Bryden – CFBB Co-Chair

November 28, 2016

A leadership attribute is to lead by example, isn’t it? We were all very supportive when Mayor Jeffrey, as one of her first initiatives as Mayor, reduced her very generous salary as Mayor by $50,000, from one of the highest in Canada down to a salary range in line with a Provincial cabinet minister in Ontario. With the recent restructuring at City Hall and terminations of many senior staff and managers, how can we justify the staff complement currently in the Mayor’s office? I believe our previous Mayor had a staff complement of two – currently there are six. The salary for the Mayor’s staff is around $600,000 annually. How can this level be justified to the taxpayers of this City when other departments have recently seen significant cutbacks and there is a proposed City portion tax increase of 3.6% on the table, double the current inflation rate average of 1.45%?

We believe Council too must share in the belt tightening measures. With monthly car allowances significantly above those in the private sector, and benefits the envy of most, can we get a commitment during the budget process that these levels will receive serious debate?

How much has it cost the taxpayers of this City to defend the Inzola lawsuit against the City over the past several years? How will the budget be impacted if the City cannot defend its position? In light of all the damaging articles which have been published in the media over the past year and even today, will the taxpayer be on the hook if the City fails to defend its position? Has there been any budget provision for this potential exposure?

Thank you for the opportunity to delegate.

Doug Bryden –