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City’s 2021 capital budget focuses on nuts and bolts

 

City’s 2021 capital budget focuses on nuts and bolts

John Best

Improving transit and making sure basic infrastructure is in a decent state of repair are the key elements of Hamilton’s 2021 Capital Budget. The budget received council approval last week. Council’s approval supports a gross 2021 capital budget of $484.4M. The increase in capital funding from property taxes equates to an increase in the operating budget of 0.4 per cent or $3.6M. This represents an increase of approximately $13 per year on an average household.

The Tax Supported Capital Budget will focus on strategic investments in priority areas such as the continuation of year 5 of the 10-year Local Transit Strategy through the leveraging of available financing in the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) – Public Transit Stream, Affordable Housing, West Harbour Waterfront and the Airport Employment Growth District. The City is committing approximately $114M in capital investments that have potential to contribute positively to the City’s climate action goals.

In addition, the 2021 Capital Financing Plan maintains planned investment levels for state-of-good-repair financing of infrastructure critical to the delivery of municipal services such as roads, bridges, traffic lights, sidewalks, parks and facilities. This was accomplished through the utilization of available one-time funding sources from reserves, recognizing the need to manage tax affordability given the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on many households.

With many recent announcements of additional capital funding from senior levels of government, including the Rapid Housing Initiative and the COVID-19 ICIP – Resilience Infrastructure Stream, the gross capital investment in the City of Hamilton will be higher in 2021 while property taxes will be lower than had originally been forecasted in the City’s Long-Term Financing Plan. The additional investment will support the community’s resiliency and response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide needed support to the community’s most vulnerable population, as well as provide economic stimulus as the community recovers from the deepest recession since the 1930s.   

2021 Tax Supported Capital Budget Highlights

$484.4M gross capital spending includes:

•             $192.9M Transit initiatives

•             $114.2M towards Roads, Bridges, Traffic, Sidewalks

•             $39.7M towards Corporate, Long-Term Care and Recreation facilities

•             $30.3M towards Housing Initiatives

•             $20.6M towards Parks, Forestry and Open Space

•             $13.9M towards Planning, Economic Development, Tourism and Culture

•             $13.7M towards Outside Boards and Agencies

•             $13.3M towards Fire and Paramedic Services

•             $10.6M towards Central Fleet Vehicle and Equipment Replacement

•             $9.0M towards West Harbour Strategic initiatives

•             $8.0M towards Development Charge Exemptions

•             $7.6M towards Information Technology

•             $6.5M towards Waste Management initiatives

•             $4.1M towards Other

“We understand that people are hurting. That’s why we are holding the line on taxes as much as possible while at the same time maximizing the key capital investments in things like roads, bridges, sidewalks, transit and affordable housing which will create jobs and drive our prosperity forward..”

– Mayor Fred Eisenberger

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