On November 28, 2012, City Council approved the budget for 2013 with the lowest tax change in six years – 2.09 per cent.
Council endorsed a budget strategy in June 2011 that set the annual increase in the municipal portion of the tax bill to a maximum of 2.5 per cent. Over the past two years, Council has delivered on its commitment with budget increases of 2.45 per cent in 2011 and 2.39 per cent in 2012.
For the owner of an average home assessed at $314,500, the 2013 budget will mean an annual property tax increase of $67 for urban homeowners and $50 for rural homeowners. The rate-supported budget for the water and sewer services will be presented in January 2013
City recreation fees will remain frozen with this budget and 2013 will see the continuation of Ottawa on the Move. This important program of strategic infrastructure investments in road, sidewalk, water, cycling and sewer projects will help build a better city, create needed jobs, and help prepare the city for the coming Light Rail Transit project. The program assists in the rehabilitation of aging infrastructure in all areas of the city.
Among the many projects the City is proceeding with are:
- $14 million of continued funding for Council’s poverty and homelessness initiative
- $4.6 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, including the creation of a one-time emergency transition fund
- $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
- An additional $500,000 for initiatives identified in the Older Adult Plan resulting from 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; and
- $2 million for design work for a pedestrian footbridge crossing the Rideau Canal at Fifth Avenue and Clegg Street
After the draft budget was tabled at City Council in October, the City held four city-wide public meetings. The City also held meetings of its seven Standing Committees, the Library Board, the Board of Health, the Police Services Board and the Transit Commission. The public was also able to comment on the budget through an e-mail address and Twitter hashtag set up by the Mayor.