Statement by Mark Shurvin
As submitted to the City of Hamilton's website.
The fundamental premise of municipal taxation is that when property values go down relative to mine and/or the tax base shrinks, my taxes go up and vice versa. Putting emotion and quality of life issues aside, every Hamiltonian who wants lower taxes and every Councillor who claims to want to "run the city like a business" should favour the West Harbour location for a new stadium. It's simply a matter of assets, expenses and revenue. Developing the municipally-owned land in the west harbour into a major drawing card will enhance the value of countless businesses in the downtown, create new ones and broaden the tax base. Buying land on the east mountain that has the potential to generate significant commercial assessment (witness Leon's etc.) and turning it into a non-taxpaying municipal property that draws people away from downtown, solely for the Tiger-Cats, does the polar opposite with the compounding effect of BOTH shrinking the tax base and devaluing the properties downtown. It's most probable that the Tiger-Cats net "rent" wouldn't even equal the forgone taxes of a commercial development. What business would increase its expenses, decrease its revenue and fail to utilize an existing asset? What business would do that to its shareholders? Simply put, vibrant downtowns reduce everybody's taxes, degraded downtowns do the opposite. But downtowns can't be sustained by local residential development. They need attractions like shopping, work, government, culture, entertainment, recreation AND a way to get there. We can have it all; the Pan-American games, a vibrant people place adjacent to downtown and the harbour, connected to bikepaths, trails, LRT and GO, literally six minutes from Highway 403 (check Mapquest) and bounded on east and west by two four-lane streets. All we need is people who can look beyond a self-serving and patronizing threat and see the future for what it CAN be, not what it used to be. I can see it. Check OurCityOurFuture.ca