Candidates describe the five most important actions they would take to improve Hamilton.
By RTH Staff
Published October 20, 2006
1. Taxes: I think our property taxes are very high and are affecting our most vulnerable citizens in a very negative way. We cannot keep raising taxes with our existing tax base. We need to grow our economy by attracting economic investments. This will add new assessment dollars and conversely will add dollars to the City coffers. I would also ensure that MPAC assessments are fair and equitable. Work with province regarding social service downloads so that taxpayers are not footing the bill. Maintain my 3 previous years of holding the line for taxes to the rate of inflation.
2. Infrastruture: We have to replace many sewers, water mains, roads etc. and it affects many households throughout the city. But this problem comes back to the tax base and where do we find the dollars to take care of the infrastructure.
We are a very large and complicated city. We have social services, waste management, forestry, parks and recreation centres and many other items that need dollars. It's difficult to address especially when social services are downloaded from the province and the core support from the province doesn't come with it. We continually have to go to the province with cap in hand and every year we face multi-million dollar shortages as a result of social services downloading.
The downtown has an extremely important place in the overall health of the city, which is why we need to work with the private sector to invest in the Downtown core. A vibrant core with residential areas, restaurants, sports and cultural events play an important role in 'selling' the city to new investors to start businesses here and enjoy the amenities.
3. Safety: Working with the neighbourhoods, the Community Council and the Hamilton Police Services, create comprehensive 'neighbourhood watch' programs. I would ensure that traffic concerns are addressed where there is speeding and running through of stop signs. We need to look carefully at the Hamilton Police Services budget and increase as necessary.
4. Economic Development:
5. Quality of life for all residents: Quality of life is tightly linked with all of the above. If we have great investments in our city, a strong infrastruture, a strong city core and safe streets - the quality of life for all Hamiltonians can only get better with better job opportunities, more leisure activities to participate in such as theatres, sports events, restaurants, etc. We need to look at initiatives that will boost civic pride and engage citizens within their communities and local government.
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