Participatory Budget

Vote Now in Ward 1 Participatory Budget

Ward 1 residents have an immediate and direct opportunity to participate directly in choosing which local infrastructure improvement projects to support with $1.5 million in local capital dollars.

By Ryan McGreal
Published April 05, 2017

While the city of Hamilton as a whole agonizes over major infrastructure investments, Ward 1 residents have a more immediate and direct opportunity to participate directly in choosing which local infrastructure improvement projects to support with $1.5 million in local capital dollars from the city's Area Rating Reserve Fund. The initiative is called forWardOne, and it's a democratic exercise in participatory budgeting for the west Hamilton ward.

forWardOne participatory budget flyer
forWardOne participatory budget flyer

Residents living in Ainslie Wood, Westdale, Strathcona and Kirkendall neighbourhoods can vote for the projects they want to see funded. Voting is available online via the website, or using a paper ballot at any of the following locations: the Locke and Westdale libraries, the Ryerson and Dalewood recreation centres, the Mustard Seed Co-Op, the Emerson Barber Shop, and the McMaster Student Centre Union Market.

Last year, Ward 1 residents were invited to propose capital improvement projects for the ward. City staff and community volunteers went through the list to make sure the project suggestions met the criteria for eligibility: for example, they must be for capital projects, and they must not already be underway in an existing city project.

They narrowed the original list of proposals down to a final shortlist of 28 capital projects for which Ward 1 residents can vote. The projects range from upgrading recreation and library facilities, repaving streets, adding and repairing sidewalks, adding new park space, improving existing parks, various traffic calming measures, upgrading crosswalks, installing benches and bike racks, adding public art, and even helping restore Westdale Theatre.

You can view an interactive map showing the shortlist of project finalists on the forWardOne website.

Map of Ward One PBAC projects
Map of Ward One PBAC projects

Voting commenced on March 27, 2017 and continues until April 20, 2017. If you live in Ward 1, please participate in this democratic budget process and make your voice heard.

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.

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By john1242 (registered) | Posted April 05, 2017 at 12:41:58

Area Rating reserve fund for Wards 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 is 1.5 mil each ward councilors pooled their money 8x1.5 = 12.0mil. to help to lower 3.5% increase in taxes .If you eliminate area rating as Councillor Merulla suggests will WARDS 1 TO 8 give up area rating reserve fund?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted April 05, 2017 at 13:30:46 in reply to Comment 121097

The area rating reserve fund was established when Council eliminated area rating for fire and recreation services. Over four years, the wards 9-15 tax area rates for those services incrementally went up while the wards 1-8 tax area rates for those services incrementally went down until all 15 were at the same rate. In wards 1-8, instead of having their tax rates actually go down, they were kept the same and the different between the old area rate and the new harmonized rate was put into an area rating capital reserve.

In Ward 1 and 2, the respective councillors established a participatory budget process so ward residents could submit capital spending ideas and then vote on which ones should be funded. (In wards 3-8, the Councillor arbitrarily decides how to spend the money.)

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