The past month has been a productive one connecting with new Council colleagues on our shared priorities for the city while also preparing for a second term following our inaugural meeting on November 16th. I genuinely feel hopeful for a new era around the Council table defined by collaboration and leadership Hamiltonians can feel proud of.
We are getting straight to work with the 2023 budget process which will carry through into the new year. Budgets are how governments put what is valued most into action. It is our opportunity to invest in a city that is a great place to live and work now and for future generations. That said, we are facing increased costs to the city due to inflationary pressures, labour shortages and supply chain issues. Council will also need to ensure we invest in asset management and support our infrastructure needs as a city. There are also service level impacts locally from the decision by the provincial government to surplus billions of dollars while both the education and health care systems remain underfunded. It is going to be critical to explore revenue generation through a Land Transfer Tax and other fees for service so we can balance the tax rate while also investing in what our city needs and the excellence our residents deserve.
The first public delegation session was on November 21st and the second one will take place on February 6th. I will continue to provide updates on this process through my social media and e-newsletter channels including information on how to delegate.
The other area of focus for Council has been the unfortunate direction by the province to take away municipal control on planning processes in favour of development on the Greenbelt and forcing the expansion of Hamilton’s urban boundary. We have already seen residents protesting the development on prime agricultural and wetlands and I anticipate we will see more in the coming weeks and months. Council will be briefed on options available to us in facing Bill 23 and I will do everything in my power to represent the wishes of our residents to support sustainable development.
I wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. May you find time to rest, relax and enjoy time with your friends and loved ones as 2022 comes to a close.
Yours in Community,
Councilor Ward 3