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Municipal parking rates are on the rise in Hamilton, but there will soon be an app for that

Hamilton's parking meters will be increased in June, as the city launches an app to make payments more convenient.
Hamilton's parking meters will be increased in June, as the city launches an app to make payments more convenient. Ken Mann

The city’s parking rates are on the rise as part of council’s ongoing bid to balance Hamilton‘s 2020 operating budget.

During a meeting on Monday, city councillors approved an increase of 50 cents per hour in the cost of on-street parking while bumping rates in municipal lots to $3 per hour, or $12 a day.

READ MORE: Hamilton city councillors face $52M operating budget shortfall

The rate increases are expected to generate another $800,000 for city coffers this year, and they will take effect in June when the city is also scheduled to launch an app that will allow people to pay for parking using their smartphone.

Hamilton’s average 2020 residential tax increase is now hovering just under three per cent, with one more day of budget deliberations scheduled for Wednesday at city hall.

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Some elected officials, however, aren’t satisfied with that number.

READ MORE: Who pays the highest property taxes in Ontario?

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson was the only member of council to vote on Monday against adding 10 new paramedics at a cost to the city of slightly over $1 million.

Hamilton EMS Chief Michael Sanderson says the new parademics are needed to respond to an “aging demographic” which is resulting in soaring call volumes, but Ferguson says he’s “done” adding items to the budget because “three per cent is still too high.”

READ MORE: Hamilton paramedics delayed in responding to life-threatening situations due to overcrowded ERs: union

Ward 14 Coun. Terry Whitehead says he’s hearing “day in and day out” from seniors to “control the taxes because my pension is not indexed, you are forcing me out of my home and forcing me to make very tough choices.”

Councillors also voted on Monday to hire 14 additional firefighters because of growth pressures in Waterdown and Upper Stoney Creek.

Click to play video: 'Fire rips through SUV on Highway 401 near Cobourg' Fire rips through SUV on Highway 401 near Cobourg
Fire rips through SUV on Highway 401 near Cobourg – Mar 2, 2020

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