City Reserves & Reserve Funds


Reserves and reserve funds are comprised of funds set aside for specific purposes by Council or by legislation, regulation or agreement. Reserves provide flexibility to manage the financial needs of the City.

The City’s discretionary reserves are comprised of tax-supported reserves, rate supported reserves and Hamilton Future Fund Reserves.

The Hamilton Future Fund Reserves were created from a special dividend from Hamilton Utilities Corporation upon restructuring of the electrical industry in 2002. The Hamilton Future Fund Board of Governors have oversight on the funds to be used on projects that create and protect a permanent legacy for current and future generations of Hamiltonians to enjoy economic prosperity and improved quality of life.

The City’s obligatory reserve funds are comprised of development charges reserves, federal gas tax reserves, provincial gas tax reserves, parkland dedication reserves and building permit fees reserves. 

Story behind the numbers

Balances in the Reserves are projected to decrease in 2017 over 2016 as previously approved financing from reserves for capital expenditures for growth related infrastructure, lifecycle infrastructure renewal including roads, vehicles and equipment are expected to occur. 

Balances in the Rate Supported Reserves are projected to decrease in the coming years before stabilizing by 2021. The decrease is due to exhausting the $100M Provincial government grant given to the City and held in a dedicated Reserve for the Clean Harbour Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades. A further $45M of City held Rate Supported Reserve funds are projected to be spent on the Clean Harbour Project.

Performance improvements

Improvements to reserve balances are directly affected by fiscal prudence by following long-term financial plans and maximizing investment returns. 

Source: City of Hamilton, Corporate Services Department

Overall City Reserve Position

City Reserve $ Balance Dec 31, 2014 $ Balance Dec 31, 2015 $ Balance Dec 31, 2016 $ Forecast Dec 31, 2017 $ Forecast Dec 31, 2018 $ Forecast Dec 31, 2019
Tax Supported Reserves 413M 423M 406M 359M 374M 401M
Rate Supported Reserves 224M 238M 241M 229M 201M 147M
Total Non Obligatory 637M 661M 647M 588M 575M 548M
Obligatory Reserves 195M 226M 213M 165M 204M 224M
Sub-total before FF 832M 887M 860M 753M 779M 772M
Reserve Funds - Future Fund 46M 38M 43M 44M 50M 55M
Total Reserves 878M 925M 903M 797M 829M 827M