Comment 124886

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 18, 2019 at 07:25:43 in reply to Comment 124880

You're conflating two separate issues.

The area rating re-investment reserve fund in wards 1-8 was a compromise that Council reached in 2011 when phasing out area rating for fire, emergency and recreation services. At that time, when the rates were harmonized between the old-city wards and the suburban wards for those services, it resulted in tax rates going up for the suburban wards and down for the old-city wards.

Instead of actually lowering the old-city tax rates, Council left them at the higher level and allocated the extra revenue as a capital reserve. Each ward's capital reserve comes from its own extra tax levy.

There's an argument that can be made to phase out that extra levy and capital reserve for the old-city wards; or, alternately, to phase in an extra levy for suburban wards so they can also have a ward-specific capital reserve.

What Merulla's motion refers to is area rating for transit, a separate issue. The main issue with transit in Hamilton is that it is systematically under-funded compared to other cities with higher funding funding, better transit service and higher transit ridership. (There's a very direct, straightforward linear correlation between transit funding, service and ridership.)

In the case of transit, I support holding the old-city wards at their current levy rate and bringing every other ward up to that rate, which would increase the total transit budget and allow the city to expand service in underserved areas and increase ridership.

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