City Council adopts 2021 tax supported operating budget
HAMILTON, ON - Hamilton City Council has adopted its $1.6 billion gross tax operating budget and a net tax operating budget of $955.8 million. This net budget represents a 2.1 per cent or $89 average residential tax increase on an average assessed value of $381,000. This budget is 0.4 per cent lower, $3.1 million, than the preliminary budget presented to Council in January. Council was able to maintain enhancements to critical services and supports like paramedic services and information technology, while still achieving net reductions through budget deliberations.
A total of 55 per cent of the property tax collected goes towards municipal services. The remaining 45 per cent going to boards and agencies and provincially funded programs such as Public Health Services, long term care, paramedics, housing, Ontario Works and Children’s Services.
The 2021 operating budget also supports the priorities identified by Council for their current term of office. Council’s priorities include Climate Change, Multi-Modal Transportation, Homelessness and Affordable Housing, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Integrated Growth and Development, Trust and Confidence in City Government, Fiscal Health and Financial Management, and supporting a Healthy and Respectful Workplace.
Priority initiatives included in the 2021 budget include:
- 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 included more than $484 million in spending, including:
- $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
The rate supported budgets resulted in a combined rate increase of 4.28 per cent. The average resident’s bill in 2021 will be $785 for a household consuming 200 cubic metres of water annually, representing an increase of $32.20 annually. The investments will improve our ability to protect the environment and deliver on our commitments respecting harbour clean up, incorporate a greater focus on climate change into Hamilton Water’s operations, allow for the removal and responsible disposal of contaminated soils from Kenilworth Reservoir, and support efforts to improve water quality in Chedoke Creek and Cootes Paradise.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenge to municipalities unlike anything we have faced before. 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.Mayor Fred Eisenberger