“Everything is on the table” as 2017 budget talks begin at city hall.
Hamilton politicians have approved a motion, presented by Ward 5’s Chad Collins, directing the city manager to look at ways to keep the tax increase below 2%.
The starting point for deliberations is an increase of almost 6%, even higher in Ward’s 1, 2 and 3, where property value reassessments have soared beyond the city-wide average of 28%.
The motion doesn’t lock councillors into anything, but “starts the budget process with a theme”.
A tax increase of less than 2% will mean finding over 30 million dollars in savings and Collins believes there’s an opportunity to reduce the municipal workforce, without disrupting core services.
He’s received confirmation from City Manager Chris Murray that about 350 employees have achieved their years of service and are currently eligible for retirement.
Flamborough’s Judi Partridge agrees it is “a conversation that is long overdue”.
Water rates will also be rising in 2017. They will jump 4.8%, or by about 30 dollars for the average household.