Comment 32366

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted July 10, 2009 at 00:53:57

Jason >> our city simply can't afford to be subsidizing new home buyers to the tune of $7,000 per home.

The only people being subsidized are the people with low assessment values and most of these homes are downtown Hamilton. The average downtown home pays $2,442 per year in property taxes, while people on the mountain pay $3,367 and people in the west end pay $3,902.

Therefore, when you make the argument that new homes cost the city 7k in the first year that they are built, even if that is the case (I have yet to see numbers that show the average cost of water infrastructure per house), it will only take 5 years for that figure to be paid back by their higher assessment values. After that 5 year period, the city benefits to the tune of $1,500 per year by having a new home, rather than relying on low value downtown homes.

In fact, without new homes, downtown residents would face much higher tax bills to support aging infrastructure, regardless of whether the population grows or not.

JonC >> If the new homes aren't built, there is sufficient capacity, so, to increase the number of homes being serviced (particularly at a distance) the new homes (not the existing homes) require the increase in facilities.

Check out this link...

These are the people who have been working on Hamilton's sewers recently, tell me that they are not in the business of repairing existing pipes, rather than just building new ones. The point is that the system is overloaded at times because the system is aging, not simply because there are more people living here.

Yes, I agree that the true cost of laying new pipe, libraries, parks, etc should be paid by the new areas that will benefit, but not costs that are the result of knowable underinvestment from previous generations. When people buy stuff at a new store, they are not charged a "new store fee" on top of whatever it is that they're purchasing, rather ALL customers pay that cost when it is factored into the final price. Each customer only pays the average price of what they consume.

>> they should have increased the development fee years ago and created a capital fund instead of caving into builder's demands. Of course, your argument is that they shouldn't increase the fee

The development fee should reflect the cost of new infrastructure that is built as a direct result of the new homes, no more, no less. Thus, if the city needs to increase water capacity by 5% due greater demand from new homes, this cost should come out of the general revenue stream that comes for selling water services to the people of Hamilton, not just the new customers.

>> The initial development fees went into infrastructure capital costs which is maintained by property taxes.

Except that isn't the case at all. Property taxes did not go to keeping the water system in good condition, that's why we have had the recent repair blitz the past few years. The crisis we have today is the direct result of a shortsighted underinvestment for decades. This is not the fault of the new home buyers, it's the fault of the people who were in charge of keeping the system in good repair and with a stable level of extra capacity.


No, I want the city to spend tax dollars on things that matter, like keeping sewage out of people's basements, rather than on maintaining golf courses, hockey arenas, music festivals, and buses that carry but a few people, etc.

>> Again, property taxes go into maintenance. New infrastructure for increased capacity should be covered by those asking for it.

If you were the last person to move to Hamilton, right before water capacity went over 100%, should you have to pay for the fixed costs associated with building new capacity? What if you were the 10th to last person, how about then? The fact that you moved to Hamilton at all means you strained the capacity, does it really matter if you were the exact person who pushed it over 100%?

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