Comment 47915

By realfreeenterpriser (registered) | Posted September 19, 2010 at 09:01:27

Hopeful asked "How do [you] believe the inequities that result from area rating should be addressed and will you promise to take concrete action on this issue in the next term if elected?"

This question needs to specify which "inequities" it's addressing.

The principal underpinning area rating is that citizens shouldn't be taxed for services they can't, as opposed to don't, receive. Unfortunately, the lines delineating the different area rates are based generally on the borders of the former municipalities making up the new city of Hamilton rather than the actual level of service a household receives. This results, as I understand it, in voters in Ward 8 paying higher taxes for fire service than those paid by their neighbours across the road in Ancaster despite the fact the fire trucks come from the same station.

On the other hand, rural areas of the city have traditionally ran their ball parks, community halls, etcetera with volunteers, receive significantly slower response times from emergency service providers and have no streetlights and sidewalks.

Compounding the above is the "inequity" inherrent in the fact that municipal taxes, regardless of how service levels are charged, are then calculated based on assessed value (in effect, a wealth tax on unliquidatable wealth). This is especially troubling in an amalgamated city such as Hamilton where both assessed values and service levels vary significantly from one part of the city to another and is most punishing to the rural/suburban elderly trying to live out their days in a home that steadily increases in value simply because of where it is.

Perhaps a more fitting question would be "how do you propose to address varying levels of municipal service in the City?"

Comment edited by realfreeenterpriser on 2010-09-19 08:03:20

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