Property Taxes

Area Rating

Area rating is a municipal property taxation policy tool permitted by the Provincial Government, intended to account for either significant differences in service levels or differences in the cost of providing services across different parts of the City.

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.

As Service Delivery plans change over time, shifts in the taxation for properties can occur. The implications on area rating will be included in the reports presenting the service changes which are presented for Council approval and through the annual Tax Policy report.

  • Social services
  • Public health
  • Roads
  • Waste management
  • Libraries
  • Parks
  • Planning
  • Economic development
  • Ambulance
  • Police
  • 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 map (PDF, 391 KB)
  • Recreation: urban and rural
  • Sidewalks: urban and rural
  • Street lighting: urban and rural
  • Fire : urban and rural
    • In 2011 the City implemented an area rating model for fire that recognizes the Fire delivery model that includes career/composite service and volunteer service.
    • Areas of the City where the service is provided primarily by career/composite stations are considered “Urban”.
    • Areas of the City where the service is provided primarily by volunteer stations are considered “Rural”.

Other Special Levies

  • Sidewalks snow removal: Assessed to former Town of Ancaster properties only
  • Parkland purchases: Assessed by former municipality
  • Special Capital Infrastructure Levy: Assessed to former City of Hamilton properties

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.

Area Rating Q & A

Area rating is a municipal property taxation policy tool permitted by the Provincial government intended to account for either significant differences in service levels or the costs of providing services in different parts of the City.

The following services are area-rated in the City: transit, fire, sidewalks, street lighting, recreation, sidewalks snow removal, infrastructure levy and parkland purchases.

All areas within the City have area rated services. However, if a service is not provided in a specific area of the City, property owners in that area will not be taxed for that service. For example, properties in the rural areas of the City do not pay for Transit.

Property owners in the City of Hamilton pay the same rate for general city services such as public health and waste management. However, the tax rate of area-rated services varies depending on where you live, and the level of service offered by the City.

The City has 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.  Services included are Transit, Recreation, Sidewalks and, Streetlighting

The fire service has a different boundary but is still area rated based on an urban/rural model.

Parkland purchases, sidewalk snow removal, and infrastructure levy are area rated by former municipality

Yes. For example, Ottawa uses it for fire, transit and solid waste collection. Kitchener uses it for sidewalk snow removal. Kingston uses it for fire. Greater Sudbury uses it for fire and transportation.

  

The department responsible for the delivery of the area-rated services presents the budget of the particular service during the budget process. Area rating is a tax policy tool which is evaluated after the budget is approved and is presented to Council in the tax policy report.

As Service Delivery plans change over time, shifts in the taxation for properties can occur. The implications on area rating will be included in the reports presenting the service changes which are presented for Council approval and through the annual Tax Policy report.

Yes.  When there is a difference in service delivery or service levels, the City area-rates that particular service.