City Council approves 2020 Tax Operating Budget
HAMILTON, ON – Taking all of the necessary social distancing and health and safety precautions with respect to the COVID-19 situation, today, Hamilton City Council met and approved the 2020 Tax Operating Budget. This year’s budget allows the City to build on its 2019 accomplishments and make significant ongoing investments in the growth of our city and the health and wellbeing of Hamilton residents.
This year’s Net Tax Supported Operating Budget of $924 million will mean a 2.9% or a $121 municipal property tax increase for the average residential property assessed at $380,300. About one-third of the increase or 0.9% is targeted for tax supported capital infrastructure investment. This budget increase of 2.9% continues a ten-year trend as one of the lowest increases among comparator municipalities.
During the weeks leading up to the budget approval, City Council, with the help of the City’s Senior Leadership team, was able to identify efficiencies, align budgets to 2019 actuals, and provide key enhancements to the City’s budget while still maintaining all 70 City Services for the residents of Hamilton. Efficiencies were found by better distributing resources within and across departments and focusing on work to support the City’s Strategic Plan and this Term of Council’s Priorities. This year’s key enhancements and initiatives include a response to air quality and climate change, year two of the 10-year fire service delivery plan, planning for future growth through the GRIDS2 initiative, year four of the 10-year Hamilton Paramedic Service delivery plan, increased focus on homelessness and affordable housing, Vision Zero initiatives including the Neighbourhood Speed Reduction Program and Automated Speed Enforcement, preserving 370 childcare spaces that were impacted by reduced provincial funding, 46,000 additional service hours of transit, and 98,000 additional DARTS trips. In addition, this year’s budgets for the Boards and Agencies include enhanced traffic enforcement by the Hamilton Police Service, increases to the budgets for the Conservation Authorities and a new library branch.
In addition to property taxes, the City also receives revenues annually from user fees for recreation and transit user fees, government grants and subsidies, license and permit fees and property tax revenue, including revenue from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), which provided $5.5 million in revenue in 2019, helping to offset annual costs of delivering programs and services.
The 2020 budget ensures we continue to efficiently deliver municipal services, while keeping our residential tax increase as low as possible compared to other similar-sized Ontario municipalities. This budget ensures we can continue to provide and improve the services Hamiltonians count on including affordable housing, public transit, roads, as well as enhanced measures on climate change and an increased focus on helping our homeless and marginalized communities. On behalf of my council colleagues, thank you to everyone who made their voices heard during this budget process.Mayor Fred Eisenberger