Special Report: Transit

Area Rating Keeps Us Divided

We cannot unite this city until we end area rating for transit and establish a single, unified funding policy across the urbanized area with service improvement costs and benefits shared equally by everyone.

By Ryan McGreal
Published February 13, 2015

A recent editorial in the Flamborough Review channels Abraham Lincoln's famous 1858 House Divided speech, in which Lincoln argued that the United States could not endure as long as some of its citizens were free and others enslaved, to unpack Hamilton's contentious local issue of area rating for transit.

It's audacious enough to frame area rating in the grandiose terms of freedom and slavery, but then the editorial manages to get the analogy exactly backward.

Lincoln was running against incumbent Stephen Douglas to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate, and he wanted to differentiate himself from Douglas, who preferred a mealy-mouthed compromise in which individual territories could decide whether to allow slavery and the country as a whole would remain balkanized.

In Hamilton, the prevailing system of area rating for transit means different parts of the city pay different tax rates toward transit and, in turn, receive service levels commensurate with how much they contribute. (Rural areas of the city outside the urban boundary pay nothing.)

The old city of Hamilton wards 1 through 8 pay 2.3 times as much as urban Glanbrook, 3.4 times as much as urban Stoney Creek, 3.5 times as much as urban Ancaster, 4.2 times as much as urban Dundas and 6.3 times as much as urban Flamborough.

2014 Residential Tax Rates for Transit by Area
Area Transit Rate % of Full Rate
Source: City of Hamilton - Residential General and Area Specific Rates By Community
U
R
B
A
N
Hamilton - Urban 0.088% 100.00%
Ancaster - Urban 0.025% 28.41%
Ancaster - Urban with Rural Fire 0.025% 28.41%
Dundas - Urban 0.021% 23.86%
Flamborough - Urban 0.014% 15.91%
Glanbrook - Urban 0.039% 44.32%
Glanbrook - Urban with Rural Fire 0.039% 44.32%
Stoney Creek - Urban 0.026% 29.55%
Stoney Creek - Urban with Rural Fire 0.026% 29.55%
R
U
R
A
L
Ancaster - Rural 0.000% 0.00%
Ancaster - Rural with Urban Fire 0.000% 0.00%
Dundas - Rural 0.000% 0.00%
Dundas - Rural with Urban Fire 0.000% 0.00%
Flamborough - Rural 0.000% 0.00%
Glanbrook - Rural 0.000% 0.00%
Glanbrook - Rural with Urban Fire 0.000% 0.00%
Stoney Creek - Rural 0.000% 0.00%

The only way to expand service in a rated area is to add the entire cost to the ratepayers in that area, which is unfair and serves as a major disincentive to increase service levels in underserved areas.

Different Sets of Rules

Area rating is the very definition of a "house divided" - different sets of rules for different parts of the city, and a framework that makes it impossible to make comprehensive plans as long as the funding and service rates remain balkanized.

But the editorial tries to argue that it is the attempt to end area rating that is dividing our house.

[T]he transit discussion has the potential to blow up the four-year rural-urban council relationship. Notably, it’s not only some urban politicians who are grumbling about what they feel is an unequal partnership, but it’s also a vocal urban minority that dominates social media that seems to be driving a well-intentioned wedge into council’s plans.

This analysis simply does not hold water. The desire to end area rating isn't some divisive downtown plot against the suburbs. It's an attempt to have a single set of rules so that the city can plan transit as an integrated system rather than a fragmentary patchwork.

Citizens Forum

Hamilton is the only municipality in Ontario with area rating for transit. An attempt was made in 2010 to end area rating when Mayor Fred Eisenberger convinced Council to approve a Citizens Forum composed of a randomly-selected group of residents from every area of the city, representing the city's many demographics.

The Citizens Forum was instructed to set aside narrow, parochial interests, consider the fullness of evidence objectively, and come up with a recommendation that would serve the best interest of the city as a whole. They were not a "vocal urban minority" trying to "drive a wedge".

The Forum returned to Council in early 2011 with a recommendation to end area rating for transit, fire and recreation services and establish a single rate within the urban area, while rural residents would continue to pay nothing. This was a fair consensus position arrived at by a reasonable group of disinterested residents.

The recommendation stated:

The current model does not recognize the urban transit area as one system that serves one economy, populated by certain workers who need reliable transit seven days a week to get to work. Adoption of the recommendation would provide an opportunity to re-think the transit service delivery model.

Council adopted their recommendation for fire and recreation services but deferred a decision on transit. Now it is four years later and area rating continues to produce perverse outcomes that hurt residents all across the city.

Area Rating in Action

In 2014, a group of engaged young residents from Redeemer University organized an inspiring campaign to request modest service improvements on the 44 Rymal route, which serves Redeemer and the Ancaster Business Park.

That modest service improvement was scaled back at the request of Ancaster Councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who pointed out that Ancaster ratepayers would have to cover the levy cost of the service increase. If transit was not area rated, the cost would be distributed equitably across all city ratepayers.

More recently, residents in Binbrook voted to end a TransCab pilot because of area rating. TransCab is a service that extends transit through a partnership with a taxi service for areas that don't yet have enough ridership to warrant a bus.

The Binbrook TransCab extended the 44 Rymal service beyond the Terryberry Road bus stop into Binbrook, and ridership was growing steadily from its launch in September 2013. Of course, as ridership grew, so did the area rated levy that Binbrook residents had to pay - a cost of $10-22 per month.

City staff recommended expanding the program, but Binbrook residents voted overwhelmingly to cancel it. The last day of service is today, Friday, February 13, 2015.

Public Good

Transit is a classic Public Good: a public service that generates more value than it costs and benefits everyone, not just people who use it.

It improves the city's economic output by matching more workers with more job opportunities, and where service is high, it alleviates traffic congestion on busy streets - like King Street, on which there are as many people riding the bus as there are in automobiles durinng rush hour.

The Flamborough Review editorial closes by noting the severe deficiencies in Hamilton's transit and calling on everyone to "work together to unite" the city.

That cannot happen until we put an end to area rating and establish a single, unified transit funding policy across the urbanized area with service improvement costs and benefits shared equally by everyone.

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 writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

109 Comments

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[ - ]

By Jamie Wood (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 08:47:56

I think I hear you saying "we still want area rating, but the "lines" are now urban vs rural" On transit, "rural" would have no service & no payments. "Urban" (regardless or location) would have service and would pay for it.

Is that what I hear you saying?

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By huh (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 09:13:25 in reply to Comment 109105

by "you" do you mean the citizen's panel from 2010?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2015 at 09:08:46 in reply to Comment 109105

A good argument can be made that everyone should contribute toward transit in the same way that everyone contributes to education regardless of whether they have children in school, but the proposed urban/rural split is a compromise that the Citizens Forum settled on after carefully considering all the evidence.

It seems reasonable that someone living outside the urban boundary shouldn't have to pay toward services that the city can never provide to the rurals in a cost-effective manner. Other Ontario cities that have areas within the urban boundary and outside the urban boundary have this arrangement as well.

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 14:32:34 in reply to Comment 109107

I agree that this is the way to move forward. Someone truly in the country, or designated rural lands of Hamilton shouldn't have to pay for transit.

Waterdown, Ancaster, Stoney Creek, Binbrook built-up, urbanized areas absolutely should have to pay towards transit.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 09:22:29

and they do use it. when i was kid my friends from outside hsr service areas were always being dropped off at eastgate of dundas or the bottom of ancaster hill. they would then take hsr wherever we wanted to go. or i would take buses to the end of the line and firneds mom or big sister would pick me up and tale me to flamborough or stoney creek for sleep overs. the rural people use hsr all the time after being dropped off from ??? the king bus is filled to capacity at eastgate with a big % off people form rural stoney creek going to school or work on the hsr. many paying no transit levy at all.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 19:28:51 in reply to Comment 109109

Yes but the service will never be extended/improved to the point where they can walk to the local bus stop. You said yourself people are being driven to the transit system.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 22:48:56 in reply to Comment 109219

they cant walk to the local bus because THEY CHOOSE to live in place with no sidewalks. THEIR CHOICE. they REFUSE time and again to pay tax increases to bring a bus stop into their neighborhood. they CHOOSE to move to a place they can have a giant garage AND a giant driveway for three or four or five vehicles they CHOOSE to own. and they free ride the hsr all the time after being dropped of from binbrook or flimflamborough or stoney creek.

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By GrapeApe (registered) | Posted February 17, 2015 at 18:51:37 in reply to Comment 109230

In the spirit of the article, I did mean rural. You're right that urban developments should pay the same tax. I don't dispute that.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 17, 2015 at 23:51:25 in reply to Comment 109253

my feelings: you pay property tax in hamilton, you pay the same levies. police, fire, ambulance AND transit WERE area rated. everything else is equaled out now, even though different parts of the city rely on different services at different levels. recent news: flimflamborough residents currently have longer wait times for paramedics than urban wards by a significant factor, seven minutes longer for instance last year. flimflamborough residents cry foul and unfair. but look where half of them live! they CHOOSE to live an hour from civilization but they want the same response times as my family that CHOOSE to live within walking distance of a hospital (and firehall and school and police station and work add go transit and hsr) the idea was floated that since flimflamborough residents CHOOSE to live in such an isolated area that maybe they ahould pay more for paramedics. sounds fair. but no. the councillor and public opinion in flimflamborough is that there should be a ACROSS THE CITY tax increase to lower response times in thier area. got that? all of a sudden flimflamborough is a part of "the city" what city? hamilton? i dont think so. flimflamborough wants to continue the free ride on transit they can pay for thier own paramedics.

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By rural (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 09:40:12 in reply to Comment 109109

And Hamilton commuters use TTC all the time after being dropped off on the Go. So Hamilton taxpayers should all pay a portion of their property taxes to Toronto?

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By johnathamilton (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 15:28:00 in reply to Comment 109111

It could be argued, Hamilton taxpayers are already funding Toronto's TTC through our income taxes and the fact that Toronto gets disproportionately more funding than does Hamilton.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 16:34:12 in reply to Comment 109129

toronto does get more funding than hamilton. of course, toronto pays more into the province than it takes out and hamilton takes out more from the province than it puts back in. hamilton is still better than toronto though. GO HAMMER!

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 16:29:04 in reply to Comment 109129

daily transit operations in toronto and hanilton are paid through municipal tax's and fares from the respective cities. lets keep apples apples and oranges oranges.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 15:26:46 in reply to Comment 109111

deliberately opaque much? we are discussing people that live HERE within hamilton, even those in ancaster stoney creek flamborough that dont think they are in hamilton, and pay taxes HERE and use services HERE. and the inequity of it. either have a cogent point or scram.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 09:36:38 in reply to Comment 109109

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 15:22:19 in reply to Comment 109110

you were given reams of fact based empirical evidence that showed the vast benefits of lrt. you rejected it all. when pressed, your stated view was unless you could see a direct financial benefit to downtowninhamilton, you would not support said transit initiative. therefore,you arent allowed at the table with the grownups so return to the folding card table with the other younguns and eat your peas.

Comment edited by redmike on 2015-02-13 15:22:57

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 20:34:27 in reply to Comment 109127

LRT is not something sustainable right now. That's why nobody (council, the province, the people who live here and pay taxes) want it. We need to use what we've got before we trade in the smart car for the Tesla.

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By selfie (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:18:47 in reply to Comment 109110

...said the head troll

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 17, 2015 at 14:56:17 in reply to Comment 109115

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 17, 2015 at 19:53:33 in reply to Comment 109244

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 18, 2015 at 10:57:48 in reply to Comment 109254

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By LOLOLOLOLOL (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2015 at 12:57:38 in reply to Comment 109261

come back when you understand the difference between pre-amalgamation city of hamilton and the current hamilton urban boundary. They are not the same thing.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 18, 2015 at 11:46:35 in reply to Comment 109261

Your nonsense has no shame and knows no bounds.

You compared Hamilton to London and Winnipeg, claiming that Hamilton's population density is far lower than those cities.

In order to do this, you used London and Winnipeg's populations within their urban boundaries but used Hamilton's population across the entire area, including the large rural area outside the urban boundary.

  • If we do the same thing with London that you did with Hamilton, we get a total area of 2,665.6 square kilometres and an average population density of 178 people per square kilometre.

  • If we do the same thing with Winnipeg that you did with Hamilton, we get a total area of 5,303 square kilometres and an average population density of 138 people per square kilometre.

Of course, you didn't use those numbers for London and Winnipeg, because those numbers are nonsensical. You only used them for Hamilton, because you fundamentally not interested in an honest discussion.

Hamilton as a whole is a city of around 540,000 people in a total area of 1,117 square kilometres. But most of that area is outside the urban boundary and hence irrelevant, as you surely understand since you excluded the rurals from your population density numbers for London and Winnipeg.

You also surely understand that 92.7% of Hamiltonians live within the urban boundary, which has an area of 230 square kilometres. That works out to roughly 500,000 people living within the urban boundary and an average of around 2,200 people per square kilometre.

For comparison:

  • Winnipeg's urban population density is 1,430 people per square kilometre

  • London's urban population density is 871 people per square kilometre.

But London and Winnipeg, despite having significantly lower urban population densities than Hamilton, have significantly higher per capita ridership (and have been growing it), while Hamilton has remained stagnant.

--------------------
City    Trips/Capita
--------------------
Hamilton     45
London       63
Winnipeg     72
--------------------

The reason those cities have higher ridership is that they spend more money on transit. They recognized that if you want more people to use transit, you need to provide more and better transit.

They did not use low ridership, caused by poor service levels, to justify not improving service.

They did not decide that transit wouldn't work because their population density is too low. (And in fact, both cities are actively planning and working to improve population density, especially in their downtowns.)

They certainly did not claim that urban transit doesn't make sense because each city is surrounded by a large rural area.

In short, their transit and land use planning are not governed by the cynical post-hoc bullshit of dedicated anti-urban trolls.

Now please go find something more constructive to do. You have wasted more than enough of other people's time and energy.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 03:45:32 in reply to Comment 109264

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 00:39:56 in reply to Comment 109310

12 x 10 = 240???

Must be that "new math" my parents used to talk about.

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By for god's sake (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:58:28 in reply to Comment 109310

you are arguing based on what you've "heard"?

YOU are the liar

now kindly eff off

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 19, 2015 at 09:04:21 in reply to Comment 109310

I regret violating my own policy of not responding to trolls. This will be my last reply.

The Wikipedia page for Hamilton, Ontario gives you an urban area of 227.7 km2. And since you will probably claim that isn't good enough, I also downloaded the most current Urban Boundaries shapefile from the City's open data page, loaded it into QGIS and calculated the area to double-check the Wikipedia entry.

Hamilton urban boundary in QGIS

QGIS says the total urban area is 250 km2, but that includes the area of Hamilton Harbour, which is not developable land.

And here is the City of Hamilton website:

Hamilton is a highly urbanized region. In 2006, more than nine out of 10 Hamilton residents (92.7%) lived in urban areas, which is significantly higher than Ontario overall (85.1%).

The percentage living within the urban boundary is likely to be even higher now, since the urban population has been increasing while the rural population has been stagnant or falling. For example, Ward 14, which is entirely rural, saw its population go from 17,651 in 2006 to 17,634 in 2011.

Now kindly piss off and find something better to do with your time.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2015-02-19 09:36:28

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 27, 2015 at 00:49:10 in reply to Comment 109313

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By lol in downtown (anonymous) | Posted February 27, 2015 at 09:32:11 in reply to Comment 109774

And your little brain has no capacity for comprehension. Waterdown is inside the urban boundary. Sorry to burst your bubble. No go beat your troll drum somewhere else

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2015 at 08:17:32 in reply to Comment 109254

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 03:34:55 in reply to Comment 109259

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By the paper holds their folded faces to th (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2015 at 09:27:53 in reply to Comment 109259

OH YOU TOTALLY BUSTED HIM!!!!! Climate change totally doesn't exist. BURRRRRRRN!!!

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2015 at 14:55:18 in reply to Comment 109260

You mean "FREEEZZZEE!!!!

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By and every day the paperboy brings more (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2015 at 15:38:59 in reply to Comment 109268

oh right, totally forgot: "climate" is a synonym for "the temperature right now"

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 18, 2015 at 16:29:13 in reply to Comment 109272

I think you mean last decade or so. Where is the massive rise in temps predicted back then? And if scientists were so off the mark back then, why should anyone believe them now?

CO2 keeps rising and yet temps have flatlined. Oops. I guess computer models can't predict the future. Who would have guessed?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 18, 2015 at 17:44:56 in reply to Comment 109278

More bullshit. The ten hottest years on record have all happened since 1998, and 2014 was the #1 hottest year on record.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 08:57:24 in reply to Comment 109288

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 19, 2015 at 09:12:18 in reply to Comment 109312

Enough. Global warming does not predict that every year will be hotter than the last. It predicts that global temperature will trend upward over time through seasonal and annual variation, which is precisely what we have been observing.

NASA/NOAA global temperatures by year, 1880-2014

Now stop wasting everyone's time.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:13:23 in reply to Comment 109314

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By A Choo (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:59:37 in reply to Comment 109315

The data show VARIABILITY, dumbass, and the IPCC did predict that.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:46:41 in reply to Comment 109319

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By A Choo (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 12:44:33 in reply to Comment 109321

If Adam Smith were still alive he'd be embarrassed you took his name. Walk away from the internets and don't come back until you've learned some statistics.

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By shut up (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:55:45 in reply to Comment 109315

you can't base it on one or two years data, no matter how much you want that to be the truth. go away and stop spreading your misinformation. go find some deniers message board to hang out on and stop wasting everyone's time

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 11:44:40 in reply to Comment 109317

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 28, 2015 at 23:51:08 in reply to Comment 109320

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By temperature=climate (anonymous) | Posted March 01, 2015 at 03:07:32 in reply to Comment 109819

you have to pay the troll toll if you want to get into this boy's soul

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted February 19, 2015 at 10:41:17 in reply to Comment 109315

What does this have to do with the unfairness of people paying different tax rates in Hamilton?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 18, 2015 at 17:47:08 in reply to Comment 109288

Your patience is astonishing.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 18, 2015 at 17:55:40 in reply to Comment 109289

My patience is at its end. I'm sick and tired of the same few people posting the same repeatedly-discredited garbage claims over and over and over again, never ever acknowledging the fact that their claims have already been thoroughly debunked. It would all just be for lulz except that real decisions that affect people's actual lives are influenced by the streams of targeted, agenda-driven bullshit that seem to fill up our public discourse and crowd out real information.

Comment edited by administrator Ryan on 2015-02-18 17:56:53

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 20:35:10 in reply to Comment 109115

Thanks, anon-troll.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2015 at 09:42:19

Alternately, can we area-rate the hundred-million-dollar road budge by lane-kilometres?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2015 at 10:47:51

For a more inclusive, hopeful viewpoint in the Flamborough Review, check out this op-ed:

[E]ven for those of us with no interest in visiting, a thriving downtown would mean an increased tax base for the municipality, giving Hamilton the ability to deliver downtown services without depending as much on revenue from the outlying parts of the city. Given that Flamborough’s councillors cast the deciding ballots in the most recent struggle over downtown transit, it bears re-examining our community’s stake in the city centre.

If we must be attached to Hamilton, isn’t it be better to be linked with a vibrant city centre than shackled to a decaying downtown core?

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By charlesball (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:02:23

These are timeless debates. Why should I pay for the Skydome if I never go there? Why should I pay for highways if I never drive on them? Why should I pay for education when I have no children?

To me the distinction created at amalgamation was done to assuage the naysayers. But it is a done deal and you are either in or you are out. All mil rates should be the same.

I live downtown and my taxes have gone up by 500% since 1991. It is utter nonsense that other people in the same city I live in pay taxes at a different rate. If they won't pay their fair share then put up tolls. (The high downtown rates are an anchor against development and a constant driving force for people moving out of the downtown not in.)

To me this has nothing to do with whether or not we expand transit. This is a fundamental democratic issue.

(Maybe a solution is to triple the size of the airport and make new runways with the jets flying over Ancaster or better yet an outright ban on any residential development outside the former city limits.)

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:04:17 in reply to Comment 109117

Or a better idea. Cut the mill rate in the downtown to half the outlying areas and see what happens.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-02-13 11:27:45

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:20:27 in reply to Comment 109119

Cut the mill rate and create an acreage rate tied to services that are more expensive to deliver over longer distances.

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:03:17

"Transit is a classic Public Good: a public service that generates more value than it costs and benefits everyone, not just people who use it."

At the recent Transit Discussion put on by Joey Coleman, there was a proposal to stop referring to transit as a 'public service', but as a 'public good'.

This seemingly tiny revision in framing has the potential to be a notable contribution to the ongoing dialogue.

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 17, 2015 at 14:57:48 in reply to Comment 109118

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:22:27 in reply to Comment 109118

July 12, 2013:

Public policy should favour projects that have a net public good: the overall benefit to society is greater than the overall cost. ... transit is a case in point: while a private carrier might not be able to run a profitable transit system, the government may still be wise to invest in one because the overall societal benefit of increased transportation efficiency more than compensates for the public cost of building and operating the system, even when the opportunity costs of taxation have been taken into account.

September 14, 2009:

Transit is a public good, meaning it benefits everyone in the city, not just people actually using it. We all enjoy cleaner air and lower traffic congestion, and the economy as a whole benefits from the increased mobility and density that transit affords.

April 16, 2009:

Tax cuts, far from automatically benefiting the public who keep the cuts, can actually leave citizens worse off if they reduce the government's ability to provide public goods efficiently and effectively.

February 20, 2009:

The real problem is that a majority of councillors still seems to regard transit funding as a subsidy for the transit-using poor rather than an investment in an essential public good.

November 22, 2007:

McLean makes a strong case for transit as a public good that can catalyze downtown economic revitalization, improve prospects for low income residents and improve our environment.

June 27, 2007:

Light rail is a true public good, a civic infrastructure that helps everyone, not just its direct beneficiaries.

March 27, 2007:

Transit is a public good. It benefits everyone, even people who don't use it, by reducing traffic congestion, reducing air pollution, and improving the city's competitiveness.

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 20:24:12 in reply to Comment 109122

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By YouJustAint (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 11:21:48 in reply to Comment 109133

So here's an idea, stop lecturing at the folks that already know and try telling those "people in the main" that don't know. Maybe they'll even enjoy being lectured at.

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By collins (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:45:06 in reply to Comment 109122

but when mommy got me my job she told me transit bad not good. now me teach my kids same

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 11:08:39 in reply to Comment 109118

This is all well and good. Wording is important. But from my perspective, I do not have the time. Hamilton's mill rate is obscene and I, unfortunately, will have to vote with my feet.

Comment edited by CharlesBall on 2015-02-13 11:27:34

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[ - ]

By re colins, above (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 15:54:12

Well, Liberal Shirley Collins did beget Tchad, that's forsure, and she even bagged an NDP member [it was her wasn't it?] to come over to Lib side way back, but Tchad, well he went and did get himself elected, but does people knows what he stand for? Got to check to see if he had a little pre-election piece in the Spectator saying what he was all about. Let's see...Outside of bein as some say, a 'power broker' & assistant mayor, what's he actually stand for, besides nothing?

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By ItJustIs (registered) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 20:31:52

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Comment edited by ItJustIs on 2015-02-13 20:33:25

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 13, 2015 at 20:48:07 in reply to Comment 109134

We're talking about literal uniting. Not some spiritual love-in. As in physically connecting them together. Part of that connection is transit.

But area-rating gives the peripheral wards incentive to say no, we don't want transit and stay disconnected. Look at it this way, if you pay-per-play, you avoid using the service unless you're really really really sure. But if you're paying into the whole bucket regardless, you want to maximize the usage you get out of the service.

That's why transit should either be "you're in or you're out". This pay-to-play encourages peripheral wards to say "no, I don't want more transit" which keeps them disconnected from the rest of the city... the opposite of unity. Having them buy in and join the whole means they're encouraged to think "I'm already paying for it, how can I get the best service for my residents?" and properly hook into the city's transit grid.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-02-13 20:49:08

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By Flamborough (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 22:05:24 in reply to Comment 109135

OK, we're out. Thanks for finally allowing what we've steadfastly told you we thought of Hamilton and our forced marriage

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2015 at 16:30:21 in reply to Comment 109137

The "out" option is for rural areas, same as it is in every other city. Flamborough hasn't been rural in a very long time, no matter how much they try to pretend otherwise.

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By Flamboroough (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 16:37:10 in reply to Comment 109161

You haven't actually been to Flamborough have you

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2015 at 16:41:14 in reply to Comment 109163

I suppose it's been almost 3 hours since I was there, so yeah, not in a while.

Waterdown is gradually eating it, and if Waterdown is rural then so is Jackson Square.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2015-02-14 16:42:21

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By Flamborough (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 16:45:30 in reply to Comment 109164

lol you really think Waterdown makes up the majority of Flamborough? OK troll

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2015 at 19:28:17 in reply to Comment 109165

In 2011 it was over a 3rd of the combined population of wards 14 and 15, and also the fastest-growing part of Flamborough by a long-shot. Between that and the other suburban areas invading Flamborough, I'd bet it's about half suburbia now.

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By Flamborough (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 19:45:08 in reply to Comment 109171

Lol, and therein lies the problem. You dont acknowledge rural at all in spite of the fact that over 75% of Flamborough is rural

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 23:25:55 in reply to Comment 109172

flimflamborough is rural isnt rural whatever. you had a free ride under the h-w regional system. you lived off of slot revenue after amalgamation. and as soon as it looks like you will have to pay your fair share for once you balk. watb's.

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By math (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 21:21:55 in reply to Comment 109172

100-33=75

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By Flamborough (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 21:33:35 in reply to Comment 109175

No 100-33 doesn't equal 75% but then again the 33% isn't a reflection of the size either. Flamborough is mostly rural and refusing to acknowledge that is the issue

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 23:28:47 in reply to Comment 109177

heres an issue you wont acknowledg: hamilton does not want to pay tax increases for more paramedics in flimflamborough. why should we? so you can live the pioneer homesteading "rural" lifestyle but still be ten minutes from an e.r? next time ma or pa flimflamborough loose a limb in the thresher, bite a bullet, tie it off, finish the row and by then the paramedics should be there.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 20:38:09 in reply to Comment 109184

hamilton does not want to pay tax increases for more paramedics in flamborough.

I sure do. If I were ever in medical distress I'd hate to be told that I could die because there isn't enough coverage. We already have too many code 0 events in the actual city, why make a bad situation worse? Stop trolling already.

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By lolo (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 18:55:08 in reply to Comment 109165

You have absolutely no concept of the meaning of the word troll

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 11:16:03 in reply to Comment 109137

flimflamborough voted harris in twice. not hamilton. freerideflamborough made the amalgamation bed now lie in it. thanks for the slot money by the way.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 20:38:49 in reply to Comment 109146

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By Tolls (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 23:52:35 in reply to Comment 109137

Tolls for you for now on - on any road out of Flamborough you leech. And particularly on any produce or manufactured good coming in to the city from your area. And on all water flowing in. And on all electricity too.

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 09:54:55 in reply to Comment 109138

It's ok, we can still take money from them through provincial taxes.

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[ - ]

By cut services (anonymous) | Posted February 13, 2015 at 21:15:54

Or it could result in a demand to cut the transit budget even further?

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By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 09:56:52 in reply to Comment 109136

If this happens it won't be because of removing area rating, but rather because some councilors are lying when they say they support transit.

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By Reality Check (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 10:34:34

This discussion will cement the divide.

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[ - ]

By hsb (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 11:20:08

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By Rural Roots (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2015 at 10:09:20 in reply to Comment 109147

"Each community had its own individual identity and none more so than Aldershot. This community, formerly in East Flamborough Township, had a "fiercely independent spirit" and always maintained a quality of independence and individual identity although it was never incorporated as a village. This may be because Aldershot, originally called Burlington Plains, may have been the earliest settlement in East Flamborough Township."

heritage.bpl.on.ca/localhist/burhistory.htm

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By Rural Roots (anonymous) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 09:36:13 in reply to Comment 109186

mah.gov.on.ca/Asset4330.aspx

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By Wabasso Coaster (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2015 at 09:53:33 in reply to Comment 109147

The real entertainment will be the debate about whether $40 is "fair market value" for 23 hectares of prime waterfront. ;)

cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/hamilton-will-examine-lasalle-park-agreement-1.1186310
insidehalton.com/news-story/2883608-what-is-lasalle-park-worth-/

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By LOL_all_over_again (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 11:22:26

There are a whole lot of citizens in Flamborough, Glanbrook and other areas that very vehemently disagree with you. Very easy for you to spend their money on YOUR favorite. I can imagine your reaction if they wanted the city to pour tons of money into the roads in their communities. I can't imagine transit being viable in their area anytime soon and those were the conditions that everyone agreed to when amalgamation occurred. Now some years later you want to unilaterally change them.

Careful they might form a lynch mob.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted February 14, 2015 at 16:31:37 in reply to Comment 109149

$100 million dollars is going into Highway 5. Most of it for an interchange at 5 and 6, some of it for widening the 5... in some parts in burlington on Hamilton's dime.

What the hell do you call that?

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By jason (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 16:48:23 in reply to Comment 109162

and all of us have to pay for this massive waste. Yet, councillors from out there voted against our downtown bus lane even though none of their citizens have to pay a cent towards urban transit in Hamilton. Get rid of them

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 14:45:18 in reply to Comment 109149

"Careful they might form a lynch mob" i would hope it wouldnt come to that but beasley would take out flimflamborough pretty handily with one hand tied behind their back. corktown too. citizens that were born here or our neighbours that have been to mogidishu and fallujah and back. we arent worried about jethro and lance in thier dodge ram driving in from freelton.

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 23:02:00 in reply to Comment 109159

Uh, what

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By troll toll (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:43:05 in reply to Comment 109149

um... we already pour tons of money into the roads in these communities.

not that it matters because you are immune to facts.

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By Kevin (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 12:30:53 in reply to Comment 109149

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 20:42:20 in reply to Comment 109157

Stay classy, you.

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By Hello (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 11:39:45

Is Councillor Partridge not on the record as requesting increased transit for Waterdown?

These things aren't free you know.

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By Inhocmark (registered) | Posted February 17, 2015 at 12:54:57 in reply to Comment 109155

Actually, and this was underlined in Ryan's original article, she request increased transit for Waterdown, then sent a letter to residents outlining the options, the cost and the amount each resident would be looking at on their taxes to fund the route changes. I believe the residents approved it and it has been built into the budget.

This is a tough issue. It is not helped by people in other parts of the city spitting virtuol

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By coolio (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 20:14:40

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By selective (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 21:25:14 in reply to Comment 109173

Hold on a second... the old city treats the suburbs like garbage? You mean by helping fund new roads and sewers and services?

No one is telling the suburbs they can't have their share. But if they want to keep telling the old city how to live then they can frankly mind their own business thanks

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By Wrong (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 21:06:36 in reply to Comment 109173

You are wrong. Burlington was built by people who worked at Stelco and P&G and Dofasco and Westinghouse and Firestone etc.

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By redmike (registered) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 23:20:42 in reply to Comment 109174

the MANAGERS and EXECUTIVES of Stelco and P&G and Dofasco and Westinghouse and Firestone etc lived in burlington. the 1%er's. burlingtons birth and existience was as a country club postal code of hamilton wentworth. burlington wouldnt be there without luncbucket hamilton.

Comment edited by redmike on 2015-02-14 23:31:28

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 18:51:12 in reply to Comment 109182

Back in the 50's and 60's many of the workers at all of those plants did live in Burlington. It was a backwater where the labourers could afford to buy a home with a yard. The CEO's lived in Hamilton which, at the time, was the place to be. Of course the eighties brought a downturn that didn't affect Burlington but left Hamilton with an aging housing stock and the flight of anyone who could afford a house as far from Burlington street as possible.

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By Coolo (anonymous) | Posted February 14, 2015 at 23:13:28 in reply to Comment 109174

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted February 16, 2015 at 20:44:05 in reply to Comment 109179

Thanks for chiming in. I'll be sure to share my opinions on all the errors that Burlington is making and has made. Glad to see your pier is finally open, only 10 years late and millions of dollars over budget! Shame the crane is gone, it was very Modern Art.

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By bill shakespeare (anonymous) | Posted February 15, 2015 at 17:33:15 in reply to Comment 109179

^"...thankful I dont live in Hamilton". Me thinks thou dost protest too much.

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By Coolio (anonymous) | Posted February 17, 2015 at 16:51:16

@DowntowninHamilton
The list is WAY too long to mention the follies of Hamilton. Enjoy your higher taxes and gasification plant. You even turned down the Skytrain for FREE in the '80s! And now you want it! HAHAHAHAHA! I'll be sipping the champagne on the pier while you rustle spare change from your couch for your new taxes….oops, I mean levies.

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By Noted (anonymous) | Posted February 20, 2015 at 16:11:20

Re: Editorial: A Hamilton divided, Feb 12.

Thanks for a balanced explanation of the area-rated tax system being used to finance public transit in Hamilton. It is unfortunate that this lingers on 15 years after our communities were legally combined into one city.

I use the HSR and even though I live in Stoney Creek, I enjoy good service because my home is close to the former border with Hamilton. I pay the same fare and can ride just as long and far as any other HSR user, but like all other residents of the former suburbs, I pay less than a third of the tax rate that is imposed on residents of old Hamilton.

That’s not fair. It means that the lowest income parts of our city pay much higher rates than the highest income parts. And it also continues to cripple HSR service to the suburbs where improvements are definitely needed.

Instead of six different tax rates for transit there should be no more than two – one for those who live in urbanized areas who have bus service, and another for those who live in the rural area where buses don’t go. The latter could even be zero.

Council has failed to fix this 15-year-old problem because too many councillors believe that their residents will put lower taxes ahead of fairness and a good public transit system. We need real leadership at city hall on behalf of the whole city.

If we’re not all going to pay the same tax rate for transit, an alternative might be proposed of different tax rates based on kilometres of roads per person – a calculation that would mean far higher taxes in the former suburbs.

Don McLean
Stoney Creek

hamiltonnews.com/opinion/letters/letter-area-rating-for-transit-makes-little-sense/

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