Transportation

Council Sticks Head in Sand on Area Rating

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 14, 2007

Once again, city council has refused to let the threat of facts and arguments get in the way of their decision making.

Yestderday, Don McLean reported on a Committee of the Whole (COW) meeting in which city finance manager Joe Rinaldo made a presentation about area rating - the practice of charging different rates for a particular service in different parts of the city.

Two motions came out of that meeting: one to ask for a staff report on ending area rating for transit, and the other to ask for a similar report on other area rated services.

Both motions passed narrowly at the COW (with urban councillors supporting and suburban/rural councillors opposed), but they both died today in full council, with an 8-8 vote split.

To clarify: council didn't vote against ending area rating, they voted against asking staff for a report on ending area rating.

With this kind of mentality at work among our decision makers, it's no wonder Hamilton is still stuck in a closed loop of broken policy.

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.

10 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted September 14, 2007 at 17:36:18

I'm all for area rating. Just include everything, especially roads.

Then, when people are paying their share (e.g. building and maintaining paved area per capita, not to mention water, sewer, emergency services etc etc), the differences from transit service become a drop in the bucket and suddenly the burbs become costly indeed.

But then this splitting of hairs becomes embarassingly self-centered, which is exactly NOT what municipal politics should be about.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 16, 2007 at 21:03:05

Who paid for the brand new set of lights (and all new lanes/paving required) for the Canadian Tire and Rona on Highway 5 east of Clappisons? Who paid for the sewer lines running to these buildings? Did Canadian Tire pay? Did Waterdown? ... Did I? I am seriously wondering... I truly don't know how it works.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Anonymous (anonymous) | Posted September 16, 2007 at 23:09:32

Sean,

The developer paid for the upgrades. And they will pay a ton of taxes.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted September 17, 2007 at 09:06:34

In Ontario its against the law to make developers pay the entire cost for services and infrastructure. I can't remember how much they pay in Hamilton, but 30-35% rings a bell.
You and I pay the rest. Lucky us eh?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By trey (registered) | Posted September 17, 2007 at 09:44:15

the developers also only pay their share of the initial installation. The regular maintenance costs fall onto tax payers.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2007 at 10:09:44

And the cloverleaf that is supposed to go in at Clappisons in order to handle the extra traffic generated (at least partially) by these new big boxes -- who foots the bill for that? This whole area rating system stinks. Part of my taxes go to these sickening developments on the fringes of the city, meanwhile the downtown infrastructure crumbles, and the suburbanites are constantly crying about how they are propping up the city with their taxes? Give me a break!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2007 at 10:50:31

I just found out the city is paying for 25% of that: http://www.hamiltoncatch.org/view_articl...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2007 at 11:56:12

From the CATCH article:

"Brad Clark praised Rinaldo for getting the province to cover three-quarters of the cost, noting that should have also happened with the Red Hill Creek Expressway."

It looks like Clark took precisely the wrong lesson from this project.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 17, 2007 at 16:11:29

CATCH has posted a transcript of the council meeting:

http://www.hamiltoncatch.org/view_articl...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By sitcom (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2007 at 15:20:58

Even former councillor Dave Wilson was not this dumb. Not a suggestion to bring him back, just a comment!

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds