Social services, transportation, transit and police to take biggest slices of Hamilton budget pie

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Published January 19, 2024 at 6:31 pm

The $2.4 billion proposed Hamilton budget for 2024 is headlined by a $382 million investment in social services, which advocates say is not nearly enough to tackle the growing homelessness and opioid crisis in the city.

At number two on the list of projected expenses is transportation at $276 million, followed by transit at $239 million, the controversial $230 million ask of Hamilton Police and administration at $216 million.

Financing will cost the City $184 million, with housing costs currently set at $158 million, public health at $150 million, parks and recreation at $143 million and the fire department at $123 million.

The biggest increases from 2023 are coming from transit at $50 million, transportation at $39 million and housing at $32 million.

Money set aside for housing issues include $4.6 million for the encampment protocol, $13.6 million for hotel overflow (2024-2026), $1.85 million for the family shelter system, $20.8 million for the city’s end-of-mortgage strategy and $31 million for supportive housing.

The budget will be at the General Issues Committee January 30 for more deliberations, with February 15 set aside for a Special Council meeting for final approval.

Some 70 people asked to make public delegations at the recent budget meeting Tuesday, chaired by Councillor John-Paul Danko, and Hamilton residents should be prepared to strap in for the next four weeks for what looks like a bumpy ride.

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