Return Of The ‘TAR Tax’?

On behalf of the members, Flamborough Chamber of Commerce (FCC) Executive Director Arend Kersten attended a ‘Public Information Centre’ (PIC) in Ancaster earler this week in regards to proposed changes to Hamilton’s sewage use by-law. He was particularly concerned that the city may be bringing back new fees for ‘storm water management’ – more commonly referred to as the ‘tar tax’ or ‘rain tax.’

A couple of years ago, staff proposed new fees for storm water management to help pay for Hamilton’s multi-billion dollar ‘infrastructure deficit.’ Under the proposal, every homeowner would face an annual fee of some $60-$70. However, commercial and industrial properties would be charged a fee based on the amount of square footage with ‘impervious surfaces’ (such as roofs and asphalt/concrete parking lots). For some large parking lots (such as those at ‘big box’ centres), the annual fee could be $50,000 or more.

The Flamborough, Hamilton and Stoney Creek Chambers of Commerce protested and thankfully Council sent the proposal back to staff for more study. But there are fears that the item may resurface at some time, which would negatively impact local economic development, job creation and additional tax revenues (especially when compared to policies in neighbouring and competing jurisdictions such as Burlington and Brantford).

Arend was assured at the PIC that ‘storm water management fees’ are not part of the proposed changes. But the proposals do have impacts for business – especially dentist offices and restaurants.

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