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Area rating is used to assign specific program costs to different areas within the City for the purposes of taxation.
Example: If you live in an area where there is no HSR service, you will not be charged a fee to support the service.
The result of area rating is that tax rates for certain services vary depending on where you live and the level of service offered by the City. All areas within the City have area rated services. Depending on the levels of service, the tax rate varies.
City of Hamilton residents in all communities pay the same rate for general city services such as:
- Social services
- Public health
- Waste management
- Economic development
- City administration
The current area rating process was finalized with the approval of the 2011 tax budget.
Urban and Rural Model
In 2011, the City implemented an urban and rural model that aligns to the transit service area. Properties within the transit service area are considered urban, while properties outside the transit service area are considered rural. The following services are area-rated:
- Transit: urban and rural (PDF, 391 KB)
- Sidewalks: urban and rural (PDF, 391 KB)
- Street lighting: urban and rural (PDF, 391 KB)
- Fire (PDF, 102 KB): In recognition of the delivery model that includes career (urban) and volunteer (rural) stations, this service has been split into:
- Urban with rural fire
- Rural with urban fire
- Sidewalks snow removal: Ancaster only
- Parkland purchases: based on former municipality
Final Council approvals for area rating
The following recommendation with respect to Area Rating was approved by Council at their meeting on April 27, 2011:
a. That the following amendments to the current method of area rating, constituting an ”Urban/Rural” model of area rating, be approved:
i. Elimination of Culture from area rating;
ii. Area rating of Recreation based on the urban/rural model;
iii. Continuation of Area Rating of Parkland purchases by former area municipality;
iv. Area rating of Fire services based on an urban/rural model to align to the Fire primary response area;
v. Continuation of area rating Sidewalk Snow Clearing within the transit area of Ward 12;
vi. Area rating of Sidewalks and Street Lighting based on an urban/rural model to align to the service area;
b. That the proposed urban/rural method of area rating, as identified in Recommendation (a), be phased-in over four years;
c. That changes to the area rating of Transit be deferred until completion of an approved implementation plan for Transit service improvements in response to the recently completed IBI Study;
d. That the tax shift variance be phased-in and reinvested into the former City of Hamilton to address its infrastructure deficit;
e. That in preparation for the 2012 Capital budget, staff be directed to conduct a feasibility study to be completed in 2012 to provide assistance to the impacted rural area of Mount Hope and any other areas to ensure that these areas receive recreational and other services.
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