Burnaby City Hall. (Dustin Godfrey / Burnaby Beacon)

On the agenda: Here’s what to expect at Burnaby’s Nov 22 council meeting

What's on the agenda at the next Burnaby city council meeting? Here are the Beacon's highlights.

By Srushti Gangdev | November 19, 2021 |11:55 am

Burnaby is out with its city council agenda for Monday night, and we at the Beacon are excited to see it out so early!! I know the average person doesn’t like municipal politics as much as reporters do, but for us it’s like tuning into reality TV. We love it, folks. And while Burnaby council meetings are less…. How shall I put this… ‘colourful’ than some of our neighbouring cities, there’s still lots of fun to be had.

Some interesting tidbits from Monday night’s meeting:

Financial plan

The Chief Financial Officer will present highlights of the city’s 2022-2026 financial plan to council, including details of a 2.95% property tax increase (about $54 for a residential property assessed at $1,227,084), along with 2% each for the waterworks utility and the sanitary sewer fund.

A highlights report says the property tax increase is necessary for several reasons: to cover the higher-than-expected cost of the new RCMP collective agreement, to mitigate the financial impacts of COVID, and to combat a high rate of inflation anticipated to continue beyond 2022.

“These circumstances, along with supply chain disruptions and other cost escalations will need to be managed operationally and financially in the coming years to ensure their impacts are mitigated. The anticipated growth in the Burnaby region will also put additional requirements on the City’s core services and programs,” the city’s report reads.

“The multi-year economic challenges as noted above will require the City to be agile and forward-thinking. City Council remains committed to keeping property taxes as low as possible.”

The financial plan needs to be approved in early 2022, but right now it’s in the public consultation phase. A public version of the report will be made available on the city’s website tomorrow.

Sanctuary City policy

A delegation from advocacy group Journey Home, which works with refugee families to find them housing and settlement support, will present a delegation to council and ask them to formally adopt a Sanctuary City policy for Burnaby.

That’s a term referring to a municipality that doesn’t actively cooperate with federal immigration enforcement within city limits, often with policies that prohibit city employees or police from questioning people about their immigration status.

Vancouver has had a similar policy in place, called “Access Without Fear”, since 2016.

Mail-in ballots

11 months before the next municipal election, city staff are asking council to approve the use of mail-in ballots and authorize the preparation of bylaw and bylaw amendments to let that happen.

The city came under some fire in the by-election earlier this year, where mail-in ballots were not provided. Advocacy group Disability Alliance BC said that the lack of mail-in ballots—during a pandemic, no less—meant some Burnaby residents with disabilities were excluded from voting at all, as were people living in care homes.

When the Beacon reported on the issue in June, Mayor Mike Hurley effectively agreed with that statement.

“Unfortunately, some people will get missed this year. That’s a very unfortunate circumstance, but that’s due to the health concerns with the pandemic,” he told us.

City staff says it’s important to plan for the next election with the pandemic in mind, and suggests a phased-in approach for the 2022 vote—starting only with care homes and assisted living facilities.

Srushti Gangdev

Reporter at Burnaby Beacon

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