Ferguson Fuels Fire over Area Rating

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 28, 2007

Councillor Lloyd Ferguson is at it again, defending Ancaster from the greedy (and gritty) hands of urban freeloaders. In a recent op-ed for the Ancaster News, Ferguson alerted his constituents:

The issue of "area rating" is once again being discussed by several of my urban colleagues and this is reason for Ancaster residents to be alarmed and engaged in the political process.

Instead of looking at area rating for transit and for other services separately, he conflated the two and warned, "Ancaster taxes would jump 11.3 percent immediately" if they were eliminated.

For reference, the residential tax rate for transit is 0.087 percent in Hamilton and 0.018 percent in Ancaster. On a $300,000 house, the HSR portion of the tax bill would go from $54 under area rating to around $250 if Ancaster paid the same rate as Hamilton (or $36 to $175 on a $200,000 house).

Ferguson celebrated last week's defeat of a motion to study area rating (though he worded it as if Ancaster had just avoided ending area rating itself), but pointed out that council plans to look at it again next summer.

"I need the residents of Ancaster to please rally around me on this one," he urged, further cementing the urban/suburban divide that is grinding this city's revitalization to a halt.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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