Hamilton politicians have taken their first look at the 2017 budget and what it will take to rein in next year’s tax increase.
General Manager of Finance Mike Zegarac says looming pressures would add another $42 million just to maintain existing services. That increase would equate to a 4.2% average tax hike, or about $140.
Councillors will spend many weeks working to reduce that number and they’ve already asked departments, boards and agencies to keep their requests for individual increases below inflation, or 1.8%.
Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead wanted to take even a harder line, saying the taxpayers expect them to “start at zero and having anything over zero justified”.
This year’s average tax increase came in at around 1.7%.