He said Wirral, like other councils, will "look very different" in a few years and warned this process would have to be repeated next year as the council must save £100m over the next three years.
But he insisted most of the cuts being proposed are "back office".
Mr Burgess said: "I am absolutely determined that this council will be on a sustainable financial footing for the future."
He said Wirral had not taken hard decisions and other councils were ahead of it in developing innovative money-saving measures and added: "We're having to run fast to catch up."
Hundreds of council workers packed Wallasey town hall last night, jeering at the authority’s ruling cabinet as it prepared the way for the cuts announcement.
Mr Burgess will open negotiations with unions over changes to staff terms and conditions.
He told the meeting: “Let me make it clear, that the options will be in excess of those required to give a range of choices.”
He said the focus would be protecting frontline services to minimise the “impact on our most vulnerable”, but said reducing conditions of service for staff would help reduce redundancies.
Unison branch secretary Joe Taylor said the changes could see some of the council’s lowest paid workers losing thousands of pounds in pay or redundancy .