Comment 60447

By DanielRodrigues (registered) - website | Posted March 01, 2011 at 09:56:54 in reply to Comment 60444

Adrian, thanks for the reply and instructions on commenting. I will take a look at the process later when I have more time...I'm not exactly a computer genius yet!! lol!!

Durham Region does exactly what you are proposing: everyone pays the same for transit, regardless of where they live. The hiccup here is that Durham enacted that policy when they amalgamated, not 10-years later.

Any changes to the current area rating system is going to create an imbalance of tax assessment with no changes to the level of service. The City needs to create new avenues of levy revenue to offset those impacts of a new area rating system.

Since transit appears to be the primary focal point of the area rating discussion, I'm compelled to ask if we could change our identification of transit from 'public' to 'mass' transit? While there remains a social connectivity to transit, it does not need to be solely publicly funded by the tax payer. While the user contributes to the operating base, transit as a whole requires additional funding resource revenue, such as advertising. (And Hamilton's is a joke...but that's another topic for another day)

We are in the midst of seeking funding for an LRT line, citing the economic viability of rapid transit. The initial plan is scoped only within the former City of Hamilton boundaries, I suspect in part because if it was to be extended to either Dundas or Stoney Creek, the residents would see changes in their tax bill...significantly less than the folks in (former) Hamilton due to the current area rating system. With mass transit initiatives, we are better positioned to partner with developers in creating and offsetting the costs of those initiatives. The shift in wording from 'public' to 'mass' has been adopted by the Hamilton Chamber. By encouraging private industry to play an active role in mass transit initiatives, the impact to the taxpayer can be lessened.

My apologies for my passion on this particular topic, as I have been working on and off on Hamilton's area rating scheme for over 6 years now. I honestly didn't agree with the Citizen Forum, as I felt that two things would happen: (1) Council would park the recommendations by the Forum and (2)and that the City Staff's recommendations would be rubber-stamped.

You are right in that a creative solution can be achieved. I just wish we had the intestinal fortitude to start this process prior to amalgamation. Instead we bowed to an external consultant's recommedation who caved to the angst of anti-amalgamation zealots.

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