- Cheap suburban bus rides
Jan 26, 2015
Last week’s bus-only-lane debate included a threat by Sam Merulla to resurrect the sticky issue of area-rated transit taxes that council put off four years ago. Reforming the system that allows suburban residents to pay less than a third of the transit taxes imposed on households in the old city of Hamilton won’t be easy but could offer a potential source of HSR funds that isn’t currently evident in the proposed 2015 city budget.
- Aerotropolis tentative settlement
Jan 17, 2015
In closed session this week councillors endorsed a secret settlement offer from the two biggest aerotropolis landholding groups that could sacrifice more agricultural lands and substantially increase infrastructure spending. The brief public motion identifies some lands being added in order to maintain the previously approved size of the aerotropolis, but doesn’t indicate what lands are being subtracted.
- Adapting to extreme weather
Jan 12, 2015
Hiring two new staff to help Hamilton cope with extreme weather from climate change is included in the 2015 budget proposals of the city’s senior managers. The move comes as 2014 is confirmed as the hottest year on record by far, and a massive study published in the prestigious journal Nature has determined that continued mining of the Canadian tar sands is incompatible with global climate goals.
- What council can to reduce poverty
Jan 05, 2015
Reducing poverty is usually seen as a task of the provincial and federal governments, but there has been little action from those levels and measures are available to city council to significantly assist low-income residents with the largest part of their cost of living. Increasing spending and tax fairness for the fifth of Hamiltonians living in poverty could boost the local economy and start to tackle the city’s most persistent challenge during the 2015 budget process that begins this week.
- More apartments lost
Dec 22, 2014
The city is continuing to approve conversions of apartments to privately-owned condominiums despite diminished tax revenues from these properties and plunging rental vacancy rates. Hamilton’s approval conditions for conversions are less stringent than other communities even though the city faces a growing shortage of affordable housing units that is being aggravated by rapidly rising house prices.
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