Hamilton residential tax hike announced as part of 2021 budget

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Published March 31, 2021 at 9:37 pm

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Hamilton City Council has adopted its tax budgets for 2021, which include a 2.1 per cent residential tax increase.

The hike amounts to a $89 average residential tax increase on an average assessed value of $381,000.

Council approved a $1.6-billion gross tax operating budget and a net tax operating budget of $955.8-million on Wednesday (Mar. 31)

The final budget is 0.4 per cent lower ($3.1-million) than the preliminary budget presented to council in January.

According to the breakdown provided by the City, 55 per cent of the property tax collected will go towards municipal services. The remaining 45 per cent will go to boards and agencies, as well as provincially funded programs—such as Public Health Services, long term care, paramedics, housing, Ontario Works, and Children’s Services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenge to municipalities unlike anything we have faced before,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “Our 2021 operating budget ensures the City of Hamilton will continue to safely and efficiently deliver the services that people count on including more affordable housing, better public transit, and the re-launch of our Hamilton Anti-Racism Resource Centre.”

“We are doing so while maintaining our COVID-19 response and vaccination efforts. Thank you to everyone who made their voices heard during this budget process. Residents can be assured that we are delivering good value for money today while preparing for the needs of tomorrow and beyond.”

The City identified the following priority initiatives included in the 2021 tax budget:

  • Continue COVID-19 response and vaccination efforts
  • Departmental plans to support climate change mitigation (e.g. green development guidelines, community energy plan, green building initiatives)
  • Planning for future growth through the GRIDS2 initiative, Truck Route Master Plan and Parking Master Plan
  • Development of sector strategies and economic impact studies for key sectors, including advanced manufacturing, life sciences and music
  • Continued analysis of the economic impact of COVID-19 on City finances
  • Implementation of year five of the 10-year transit strategy
  • A new shelter for women and members of the transgender community
  • Creation of at least 400 new affordable housing units in 2021/22
  • Operationalizing the new Hamilton Anti-Racism Resource Centre (HARRC)

The adoption of the 2021 operating budget comes following the adoption of the 2021 tax-supported capital budget in December 2020 and rate-supported budgets in November 2020.

The 2021 tax-supported capital budget includes more than $484 million in spending:

  • $192.9 million in transit initiatives
  • $114.2 million towards roads, bridges, traffic and sidewalk infrastructure
  • $39.7 million towards corporate, long-term care and recreation facilities
  • $30.3 million towards housing initiatives
  • $20.6 million towards parks, forestry and open space
  • $13.9 million towards planning, economic development, tourism and culture
  • $13.7 million towards boards and agencies
  • $13.3 million towards fire and paramedics
  • $10.6 million towards central fleet vehicle and equipment replacement
  • $9 million towards West Harbour Strategic initiatives
  • $8 million towards development charge exemptions
  • $7.6 million towards information technology
  • $6.5 million towards waste management initiatives
  • $4.1 million towards other capital projects

In its official release, the City of Hamilton claimed the tax budget will improve its ability to “protect the environment and deliver on commitments,” specifically referencing harbour clean up, a greater focus on climate change into Hamilton Water’s operations, the removal and responsible disposal of contaminated soils from Kenilworth Reservoir, and efforts to improve water quality in Chedoke Creek and Cootes Paradise.

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