Total Municipal Debt


Long-term financial plans consider all sources of financing of the City’s investments in infrastructure including government grants and subsidies, development charges, reserves, property tax revenues, user rate fees and revenues and debt.

The main objectives of the City’s Debt Management Policy are to:

  1. Ensure long-term financial flexibility and sustainability
  2. Limit financial risk exposure
  3. Maintain the credit rating
  4. Minimize long-term cost of financing
  5. Comply with statutory requirements including monitoring and reporting

The annual debt and financial obligation limit for the City is calculated in accordance with section 3 of Ontario Regulation 403/02. The annual repayment limit in 2017 of $260 million represents additional potential debt of $2.7 billion. However, increasing the annual debt servicing costs for Hamiltonians is not fiscally prudent as it would reduce the affordability of services provides. In other words, increasing debt increases interest costs.

Story behind the numbers

As noted in the most recent (November 2017), S&P Global Ratings Research Update, the City has a very low debt burden and interest costs are expected to remain very modest.

Performance improvements

Total municipal debt is managed through adherence to long-term financial plans.  Forecasted debt levels are within Council approved policy limits. Improvements to debt levels can be challenging with aging infrastructure and limited budgetary flexibility to increase property tax rates and user rates.

Source: City of Hamilton, Corporate Services Department
2013-2017 Actuals, 2018 Forecast

Total Municipal Debt

2013-2017 Actuals, 2018 Forecast (f)

Year Amount
2013 $294M
2014 $359M
2015 $318M
2016 $404M
2017 $356M
2018f $408M