City gov’t: understand your basic job

Consider a city that has taken gradual steps (albeit without a sense of priorities) this year to maintain essential infrastructure, e.g., roads, sewers, water mains, within a regular budget.  (The basic responsibility of a city government.)  That city in its 2016 budget now says that it needs to impose a annual levy for ten years to do its basic job.

Such is the case in Brantford, Ontario.

According to the City of Brantford website, following is a list of the infrastructure maintenance and upgrade work (some cosmetic) the city committed to in 2015:

Ongoing Project from 2014: Alexander Pumping Station

Early Spring:  Baldwin Ave (Phase 2B) (Barker St to 200m east of River Rd)
William St. (Phase 1) (Waterloo St to Richmond St)
Alexander Drive (Grand River Ave to Webster Dr)
Somerset Road (Somerset Rd to King George Rd)

Mid-Spring:  Allenby Avenue (Erie Ave to Webling St)
Brett Street (Colborne St to Mary St)

Late Spring:  George Street (Wellington St to Darling St)

Early Summer:  William Street (Phase 2) (Richmond St to Bedford St)
Lorne Crescent (including Dufferin Ave)
Fen Ridge Court Easement

Mid-Summer:  Ashgrove Area (Streetlighting Phase 2)
Dunsdon St (Memorial Dr to Brantwood Park Rd)
Asphalt Resurfacing and Top Lift – Various Locations
Sewer Lining – Various Locations
Johnson Road Intersection

Late Summer:  Henry St (Harris Ave to Freeborn Ave) and Harris Avenue Intersection
Holborn St (Grove Cres to Elm St)

Early Fall:  Margaret Dr (West St to Morton Ave)1


Now, the City of Brantford says it needs a annual levy of 1.5% for ten years to maintain roads, sewers, water mains, etc.  This is in addition to an increase of 1.47% in property tax for 2016.  The total hike for 2016 is 2.97%.

In 2015, property tax increased by 1.88% and the city committed to the above list of projects.  How is it that Brantford was able to commit to those projects with a 1.88% increase, but now says it needs 2.97% to do its basic job?

Taxpayers should not have to pay extra for the basics.

The federal liberals campaigned on a supposed promise to help fund infrastructure improvements in municipalities.  Another reason why a levy does not make sense.



  1. The City of Brantford, “Construction Projects – 2015 Public Works Commission,”, (December 15. 2015).


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