I was pretty discouraged, last year, to see City Council cave in on increasing development charges so that city revenues no longer subsidize new suburban home construction.
The argument last year was that a recession is no time to increase development charges and that big public subsidies (last year's freeze is costing the city $9 million) are all that's keeping the home building industry - and the local employment it provides - afloat.
This year, the argument from the Hamilton Halton Home Builders Association is that a recovery is no time to increase development charges. You can see where this kind of thinking will lead if we follow it.
Amazingly, Council voted this week to end the freeze and raise the current residential development fee from $19,500 to $26,600 effective July 6. (Note: even at the higher rate, Hamilton's fees will be among the lowest in the region.)
Naturally, the home builders are outraged that the "relationship of inclusion, where we liaise between the municipality and ourselves when it comes to this kind of decision" wasn't enough to retain Council's obedience to the home builders' interests.
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