Hamilton Fire Department Engine One in May 2017 Credit: Joey Coleman / The Public Record

Hamiltonians who pay for rural fire services will experience a significant tax increase this year as large portions of Wards 10 and 11 switch to the urban fire service tax base – meaning rural fire service costs are split among fewer properties.

Hamilton’s area-rating policies, designed to minimize taxes in the suburban and rural areas, divide the cost of fire services into urban and rural, with each class dividing the cost among properties in each section.

During the past decade, Hamilton Fire shifted urban fire units into Wards 9, 10, and 11 as they urbanized.

As a result, the shift of these areas into the urban fire taxation class means an average decrease per household of between $13 in Ward 4 to $41 in Ward 10 for fire services.

In the rural area, the average increase per household for fire services ranges from $113 in Glanbrook to $178 in rural Ancaster.

The area-rated shift is additional to the City budget tax increase of 2.1% this year. For rural areas, this combined with the fire shift means average tax bill increases of 3.9% to 4.1%.

In the urban areas, the shift decreases taxes, with average tax bills increasing by 1.3% in Waterdown to 1.8% in the urban portions of Ancaster.