Hamilton looking at 7.9 per cent tax hike, with a third of that to absorb the loss of development charges

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Published January 12, 2024 at 11:44 am

hamilton city hall
Hamilton City Hall

Hamilton has chopped its projected tax hike of 14.2 per cent down to 7.9 per cent in its proposed 2024 budget released Friday morning.

The final document will be up for approval February 15 at a special council meeting, with the public getting a look at the preliminary documents this Monday.

The proposed 2024 budget includes a 4.3 per cent residential property tax increase for existing city services and includes $19.2 million in new investments for housing and homelessness initiatives.

An additional 3.6 per cent property tax increase has been added to cover the costs of provincial legislation – including a 2.6 per cent hike to deal with the impact after the Doug Ford government shifted the cost of new development from developers to local taxpayers with the introduction last year of Bill 23.

An additional one per cent tax increase would pay for Hamilton’s investment in provincial hospital redevelopment.

The 2024 proposed budget represents an average residential property tax increase of $382 per household, including $175 for each ratepayer to cover impacts of provincial legislative changes.

In September Council was presented with a Budget Outlook that predicted a 14.2 per cent property tax increase, including the costs of Bill 23. The proposed 2024 Budget unveiled today was created following Mayor Andrea Horwath’s direction to City staff to present a combined operating and capital budget that “reduced the burden on taxpayers by responsibly utilizing strategic reserves, screening budgets for redundancies and efficiencies, and prioritizing new spending against its ability to advance council identified priorities.”

Following the public delegations on January 16, the budget will head to the General Issues Committee for presentations from an external economist and staff and again from January 22-26 for presentations from City departments and from various boards and agencies.

The committee will then get a final look at the numbers January 30 before the special council meeting February 15 at 9:30 a.m.

Last year the City approved a 5.8 per cent tax increase (including a 30 per cent increase to the housing budget) that resulted in the average ratepayer paying $262 more in property tax a year.

Taxpayers will already be on the hook for an extra $90 a year for water and sewage after Council approved increases to pay for ageing infrastructure in December, with additional annual increases for the next decade to help the City catch up.

A full overview of the proposed Budget is available at hamilton.ca/budget2024.

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