By Councillor Lloyd Ferguson
The public often hears only of the long and contentious debates during months of budget deliberations, and while I would like it to be zero, I am comfortable to once again report to Ancaster residents that for the fourth consecutive year, the city’s tax operating budget has come in below the annual rate of inflation, with an overall increase of 1.5%, or approximately $55 for the average residential property.
We spend days and nights pouring over reports and requests from every municipal department in the city, as well as numerous external boards and agencies who depend on public dollars to maintain and enhance their operations. I consider the budget process to be paramount to my role as councillor and I am so pleased that we have come together to protect services while holding the tax increase at a competitive level in the face of so many challenges. The total tax impact over the past four years has averaged just 1.3 per cent.
I was also successful during budget talks in having support for some enhanced bus services, in particular evenings and weekends on the route between Garner Road to the Ancaster Industrial Park. While consideration was given to 30-minute rather than the current 60-minute service, it would have resulted in an additional cost in excess of $300,000, directly to Ancaster residents only, due to the area rating formulas. I want to see the uptake for the evening and weekend service before considering spending hard-earned tax dollars.
New garbage tags – green ones this year – have also been mailed out to residents for use beginning May 1. Last year’s pink ones are valid until the end of April.
Further to the planned bridge repairs, the Fiddlers Green project is slated for completion next month, followed by the Southcote enhancement program scheduled for a summer end date. Construction will only begin on the Golflinks Road bridge after the Southcote work has been completed. The final piece is the Hamilton Drive summer road closure for bridge repairs there. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact my office or MPP Ted McMeekin at 905-690-6552 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, I want to send an early shoutout to residents about our 36th Ancaster Heritage Days, June 10-14. All the information you want to know is available at www.ancasterheritagedays.com.
As always, if you need to reach me for any reason, please contact my office at City Hall at 905-546-2704. You can also contact me by e-mail at Lloyd.Ferguson@hamilton.ca.