The City of Hamilton will fund $216 million in capital investment projects as a result of council’s approval of the 2017 capital budget.
On the heels of Hamilton’s approval, Burlington City Council also gave the green light to its 2017 capital budget, worth $56 million and part of a larger 10-year $667.8 million plan linked to Burlington’s 25-year strategic plan.
Hamilton’s capital funding increase, which will come from property taxes, is equal to an increase in the operating budget of 0.5 per cent or $4 million. This represents an increase of $16 per year to the average household.
"The budget includes investments in the term of council’s top three priorities of economic prosperity and growth, built environment and infrastructure and our people and performance," said Mike Zegarac, City of Hamilton general manager of corporate services, in a statement.
In keeping with Hamilton City Council’s direction, the capital budget will focus on roads, bridges, traffic, sidewalks, open space development, the rehabilitation of corporate and recreation facilities and supporting community health and harm reduction.
"These investments will reinforce current momentum in the renaissance of the city’s waterfront, while protecting the delivery of city services through increased investments in maintaining the city’s $22.3 billion in infrastructure assets," Zegarac said.
Investments will also be made towards strategic growth capital projects, which include the West Harbour, downtown revitalization and parkland acquisition.
Hamilton project highlights include:
• $71.9 million towards roads, bridges, traffic and sidewalks
• $27.2 million towards West Harbour development
• $19.6 million towards recreation and corporate facilities
• $17.7 million towards transit
• $11.1 million towards roads growth
• $10.5 million towards open space development/parks
"This budget reflects our commitment to driving economic prosperity through attracting development and putting in place the foundation for businesses to be attracted to growing in Hamilton," said Mayor Fred Eisenberger.
The budget also allotted $500,000 for CityHousing Hamilton, which Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins, who is also the organization’s president of the board of directors, said didn’t make the grade.
"The $500,000 provided to affordable housing services falls far short of what’s annually required to maintain our aging housing stock and/or provide new units for the over six-thousand applicants on the City’s affordable housing waitlist," he said. "Nevertheless, it’s a welcome investment, and when coupled with recent provincial and federal housing investments, will help us make modest inroads with much needed capital repairs."
Collins was referring to the recent $7.1 million the province granted CityHousing Hamilton in Social Housing Apartment Retrofit Program funding.
In Burlington, 80 per cent of the 10-year capital budget is focused on the renewal of the city’s existing infrastructure. The largest component is for roadways.
Burlington project highlights include:
• $24.8 million for roadways
• $8.5 million towards fleet vehicles and equipment
• $6.6 million for facilities and buildings
• $6.6 million for parks and open spaces
• $5.8 million in stormwater management
"We have a capital budget that addresses our needs for right now but also has the foresight and planning to address our needs as a city that grows, a city that moves, a healthy and greener city and an engaging city. Good plans are always backed by good, responsible budgets," said Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring.