The new city capital budget would increase your tax bill by $16

hamilton budget

On Wednesday, the city council passed a $218.6 million budget.

Tommy Katsarakis’ mother says there’s “no way” her son, who has low-functioning autism, will wear a mask on his first day of high school at Bernie Custis Secondary.

According to the mayor, Hamilton’s new budget for roads, transportation, and other capital requirements is a first step in addressing the city’s enormous infrastructure deficit. However, there is still more to be done.

On Wednesday, the city council passed a $218.6 million budget. This is a 0.5 percent increase over the previous year, or $16 extra per year for the average Hamilton household.

These half-percentage-point increments help a little with Hamilton’s $3-billion shortfall for fixing cracked and ailing pipelines, bridges, and other needs, according to Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

However, there is still more to be done.

“You can’t do enough when you’re $195 million behind annually or $3 billion behind altogether in terms of infrastructure upkeep and repair,” he said.

According to him, the increase “barely makes a dent” in the infrastructure deficit. As a result, the city will continue to pursue the issue with the province and the federal government.

“We’re not going to get it all done in the next couple of years,” he says of the hike this year. “But we need to start moving ahead.”

The capital budget is one of three budgets passed by the city each year. The operating and rate-supported budgets are the other two, with the latter consisting of expenditures funded by user rates.

One potential financial debate is whether the city should contribute $5 million to Hamilton Police Services’ new downtown forensics building.

The city and the service have agreed to provide $5 million if the provincial and federal governments also contribute. Each must provide $6.9 million to the service. However, neither level of government has yet to make a financial contribution.

Three forensics labs would be housed in the new investigative services building, which would be 53,500 square feet.

On Jan. 26, city councillors will consider the police department’s capital project wish list, according to finance director Mike Zegarac.

The following are some highlights from the city’s capital budget for 2016: