City Budgets

2018 Tax and Rate Budgets

From plowing the snow in the winter to opening the public pools in the summer, to transit and infrastructure, fire and paramedic services you rely on every day - your taxes go towards running City services. 

And every day, as a City of Hamilton tax payer, you place your trust in our employees to provide you with high quality, efficient services and programs that matter most to you. We do this by managing the budget today and planning for tomorrow.

A municipal budget is a policy and planning document that outlines our city’s priorities. Balancing those priorities is a challenging undertaking. That’s because we need to identify what we need to do now to keep providing this high level of service to our citizens and plan on what we need to do in the future. It’s also about what we can afford to do.

2018 Tax Supported Capital Budget Highlights

$258 million in gross capital spending includes:

  • $87.9 million towards Roads, bridges, traffic, sidewalks
  • $14.2 million towards Roads growth
  • $26.4 million towards Corporate and recreation facilities
  • $25.8 million towards West Harbour Strategic initiatives
  • $19.4 million towards Transit initiatives
  • $11.5 million towards Affordable Housing Initiatives
  • $8.5 million towards Fire and Paramedic Services
  • $7.9 million towards Open Space Development
  • $7.8 million towards Vehicle replacement
  • $7.2 million towards Entertainment facility rehabilitation
  • $4.6 million towards Waste Management initiatives
  •  $4.3 million towards Forestry and Horticulture


2018 Tax Distribution Chart

Our Budget

This year’s budget achieves a 1.9% property tax increase (municipal and education), which translates to $76 for the average residential property assessed at $337,100 and is one of the lowest among comparator municipalities. Hamilton’s tax competitiveness has improved since 2011; residential property taxes are currently 6 per cent above the average, versus 11 per cent.

As part of this year’s 2018 Tax Supported Operating Budget, City departments have developed four-year (2018-2021) business plans that outline key priorities and milestones that support the City’s Strategic Plan and contribute to the City’s vision to be the best place to raise a child and age successfully.

Learn more about our 2018 – 2021 Multi-Year Business Plans

The City also takes in revenues annually from recreation user fees, government grants and subsidies, license and permit fees and property tax revenue, including revenue from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), which provided $5.3 million in revenue in 2017, helping to offset annual costs of delivering programs and services.

2018 Budget Infographic

Community Engagement & Participation

  • Continued focus on Open Data and our Smart City Strategy
  • Customer Service Strategy
    • Delivery of seamless customer service through the expansion of Customer Service Training
  • Online Bid and Vendor Performance Review Program Enhancements
  • Enable Open Data capabilities and processes to support the Citizen Dashboard

Economic Prosperity & Growth

  • Action taken by Council to date has once again seen the City surpass $1B worth of building permits in 2017. 
    • This marks the sixth year in a row where building permits have reached $1B.
  • $25.8 million towards West Harbour Strategic initiatives
  • $7.9 million towards Open Space Development
  • $290K towards 3 full time equivalents to keep up with demand of planning applications related to the City’s zoning by-laws
  • Transit & Transportation
    • $19.4 million towards Transit initiatives including upgrades and repairs to 350 transit shelters and 18 replacement HSR buses
    • $3.4 million in capital financing to support $36 million in City funded transit capital projects, which leverages an additional $36 million in federal funding
    • $2.1 million to support 10-year transit strategy plan equating to 34,000 additional service hours and 29 full time equivalents
    • $1.7 million towards 41,000 additional DARTS trips  to support increased ridership intake and AODA requirements

Healthy & Safe Communities

  • $11.5 million towards Affordable Housing Initiatives
  • Improved access to affordable housing through an enhanced affordable housing waiting list
  • $9.4 million towards Fire and Paramedic equipment, vehicle replacements, one additional ambulance and 10 full time equivalent paramedics
  • Neighbourhood Action Strategy linked with City Wide Hub initiatives
  • $80K towards Parks Patrol and Waterfalls Enforcement Team
  • Develop a city-wide Drug & Opioid Strategy focusing on the pillars of prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and enforcement

Clean & Green

  • $4.6 million towards Waste Management initiatives
  • $4.3 million towards Forestry and Horticulture
  • $750K in energy savings thanks to converting 10,000 high pressure sodium street lights to energy efficient LED lights

Built Environment & Infrastructure

  • $87.9 million towards Roads, bridges, traffic, sidewalks rehabilitation including $19.4 million investment to address road deficiencies caused by the increased freeze-thaw cycle as a result of climate change ($19.4M is distributed as $5.9 million for major arterial roads and $13.5 million to be shared by all 15 wards for local neighbourhood roads, financed over 15 years)
  • $14.2 million towards Roads growth
  • $1.1 million to improve snow-clearing and other winter maintenance activities
  • $7.2 million towards Entertainment facility rehabilitation

Culture & Diversity

  • $26.4M towards Corporate and recreation facilities rehabilitation
  • Developing the City’s first Urban Indigenous Strategy
  • Launch Anti-Racism Resource Centre and provide ongoing support
  • Develop Hamilton’s Youth Strategy
  • $110K for four designated tobogganing hills (Garth Street Reservoir, Chedoke Golf Course, Kings Forest Golf Course, and Waterdown Memorial Park)
  • $25K investment toward the Music and Creative Industries Operations and Programming

Our People & Performance

  • Development and implementation of an IT Strategy
  • Continuous improvement with the City’s Performance Excellence Dashboard with emphasis on the use of Results Based Accountability framework for performance measurement
  • Enhancement of Multi-Year Business Planning and Budget Processes
  • Execution of the Communication and Action Planning Phases of the “Our People Survey”

There are various components to the budget.

Operating Budget

The Operating Budget funds ongoing financial obligations and costs to provide programs and services to Hamilton citizens.

Some municipal services for your tax dollar

  • Police Services
  • Recreation
  • Transit
  • Fire Services
  • Parks, Forestry, Cemeteries
  • Waste Management Services
  • Public Health
  • Paramedic Services
  • Administrative Services

Operating expenses needed to deliver services and programs to citizens

  • Employee salary/wages/benefits and pension
  • Material and supplies
  • Services from other agencies
  • Contractual costs – rent and various office or operating equipment
  • Facilities costs, including utilities, repairs and maintenance
  • Financial transactions, such as interest

Revenue sources which help to fund and deliver services and programs to citizens

  • User fees
  • Grants
  • Subsidies
  • Licence and permit fees
  • Property tax revenue

Capital Budget

The Capital Budget provides for investments in infrastructure and capital assets such as constructing, buying or maintaining assets including roads, sidewalks, bridges, buildings, vehicles, equipment and land.

Rate Budget

The Rate Budget funds costs for water, wastewater and storm programs that support Hamilton's ability to provide clean, safe drinking water to its residents, as well as protect the natural environment through wastewater treatment and storm water management.  

Water, wastewater and storm water charges are based on residents’ water usage or volume. For information on water and wastewater/storm billing, visit Horizon Utilities/Alectra Utilities.

The schedule for meetings of the General Issues Committee, with respect to the 2018 Budget process, is as follows:

Friday, November 10, 2017, 9:30 am

2018 Tax User Fees (Regular GIC)
Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 9:30 am 

Rate Budget
Friday, November 17, 2017, 9:30 am
Monday, November 27, 2017, 9:30 am (if required)

Tax Capital Budget
Friday, November 24, 2017, 9:30 am
Friday, December 1, 2017, 9:30 am (if required)

Tax Operating Budget Overview
Friday, January 19, 2018, 9:30 am

Boards & Agencies
Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 9:30 am
Thursday, January 25, 2018, 9:30 am

Friday, January 26, 2018, 9:30 am (if required)

Departmental  Budget Presentation - Planning & Economic Development
Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 9:30 am

Departmental Budget Presentation - Community & Emergency Services & Public Health
Thursday, February 1, 2018, 9:30 am

Departmental Budget Presentation - Public Works 
Friday, February 9, 2018, 9:30 am

Departmental Budget Presentation - City Managers Office & Corporate Services 
Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 9:30 am

Departmental Budget Presentation - Business Cases & Corporate Financials
Friday, February 16, 2018, 9:30 am

Public Delegations**
Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 3 pm 

Budget Deliberations
Friday, March 2, 2018, 9:30 am
Monday, March 5, 2018, 9:30 am
Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 9:30 am (if required)
Thursday, March 8, 2018, 9:30 am (if required)

Targeted Budget Approval (Council Meeting) 
Wednesday, March 28, 2018m, 5 pm 

Request to Speak

** Members of the public who are interested in appearing before Committee on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, are required to submit a Request to Speak before a Committee of Council online form or in writing to:

Stephanie Paparella, Legislative Coordinator
Office of the City Clerk
1st Floor, 71 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4Y5
Email: [email protected]

Requests to speak and written submissions will be accepted until Monday, February 26, 2018 at 12 noon. Presentations will be limited to 5 minutes. Written submissions are welcome and will be accepted by email or by mail to the address noted above or by fax at 905-546-2095, for distribution to the members of the Committee.        

Approval of the 2018 Tax Operating Budget

The Council of the City of Hamilton intends to approve the 2018 Tax Operating Budget at the Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 5 pm, or at a later Council meeting if budget deliberations continue past this date.

The agendas for all meetings will be available for viewing under "2018 Budget" or in person:
Office of the City Clerk, 1st Floor
71 Main Street West, Hamilton. 

Please be advised that additional meetings may be added to the schedule at any time, or existing meetings may be cancelled or rescheduled.  In addition, meeting agendas are frequently subject to change.  As such, you are advised to confirm and obtain additional information with respect to all budget meetings by regularly checking the City's website or by contacting the Office of the City Clerk.  Unless otherwise indicated, all meetings are held in the Council Chambers, Hamilton City Hall.

This public notice is provided in accordance with City of Hamilton By-law No. 07-351, the Provision of Public Notice.

2018 Final Budget Information

2018 Preliminary Budget Information

2018 Operating Budget Presentations