Ottawa – Today City Council tabled Budget 2013, which controls costs, finds efficiencies, and makes important investments in infrastructure and services. Budget 2013 proposes a 2.09 per cent tax rate, which is the lowest in six years, and well below the 2.5 per cent cap committed to by City Council.
“Budget 2013 reflects the priorities of Ottawa families and businesses by investing in the programs they depend on, while delivering services more efficiently,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The third budget for this Council continues the progress that has been made in putting the City on sound financial footing.”
The draft budget proposes that City Council continue its freeze on City recreation fees, and Mayor and Councillors’ office budgets, for the third year in a row. The City will reduce its workforce again this year, this time by 139 Full Time Equivalent positions. ServiceOttawa will see an additional $8.8 million in savings, providing citizens with more efficient ways to access permits, licenses and other services 24/7.
Budget 2013 includes the second year of Ottawa on the Move, a program of strategic infrastructure investments in road, sidewalk, water, cycling and sewer projects to build a better city and create jobs, while helping prepare the city for Light Rail Transit. The program will also assist in the rehabilitation of aging structures in all areas of the city. Funds are proposed to design Clegg/5th Avenue pedestrian bridge, as well as continue the implementation of the East-West bikeway from Vanier to Westboro.
“This budget continues to deliver on the priorities that were set by Council in previous years and demonstrates the commitment of City staff to continue to provide responsible financial management and respect for taxpayer dollars,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.
Budget 2013 includes a number of initiatives that respond to pre-budget feedback expressed by residents, while making progress on priorities established by Council.
- $14 million of continued funding for Council’s poverty and homelessness initiative
- $4.4 million of realigned and reallocated funding to offset changes in provincial priorities which will preserve the majority of benefits for the most vulnerable and low income residents
- $5.5 million to increase the annual contribution to Capital Funding for infrastructure maintenance and renewal as recommended in the recently approved Long Range Financial Plan
- $4.9 million to improve safety and mobility with new traffic control signals, intersection control measures, pedestrian countdown signals and the Pedestrian Facilities Program and Audible Signal Program
- $500,000 for the Older Adult Plan coming out of last year’s Seniors Summit
- $2 million for accessibility retrofit work to existing buildings and parks
- $975,000 combined operating and capital funding to increase the forest cover and combat the Emerald Ash Borer, bringing total investment to $1.8 million
- New and expanded parks and recreation facilities across the city
- $1 million for the review of the Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan
- $1 million, combined capital and operating funding for the Arts, Culture and Heritage Plan
- 2 per cent increase for social service and health agencies, cultural, community and recreation funding
- $2.5 million for ongoing environmental remediation and greening of the City fleet
Budget documents are available at ottawa.ca/budget2013.
The draft budget will be discussed at Council Standing Committee meetings and four public consultations this fall. For further information on the draft budget or details about these meetings and how residents can participate, visit ottawa.ca/budget2013.