Budget 2011 highlights

Budget 2011 delivers a tax increase below 2.5% - 2.45% for urban home owners and commercial properties and 2.40% in rural areas.

The Ottawa Public Library Board and the Ottawa Police Services Board have also tabled budgets in line with 2.5%.

Ottawa’s Budget at a Glance:

The net additional tax requirement is $29 million, or 2.45% expressed as a tax rate increase;

  • Capital Expenditures of $622 million (tax supported);
  • The 2011 capital spending plan focuses on transit investments, the renewal of roads and sewers and new parks and recreation facilities;
  • The capital program includes $4.8 million in 2011 towards the first phase of funding for a new $48 million recreation complex in Barrhaven South. Other spending on recreation will focus on the renewal of existing facilities;
  • Total budgeted tax supported operating budget for 2011 is $2.4 billion;
  • Provisions to expand the free transit period for seniors from Wednesdays only to include Mondays and Fridays after 12 noon;
  • Freezing of recreation fees for activities for the first time since amalgamation;
  • Significant administrative savings through reductions in travel, conventions, hospitality, advertising, and use of external consultants;
  • Reduction in Mayor’s budget, Council salary freezes, freeze of Councillor Budgets and $1.7 million in budgeted savings for Management and Professional Exempt staff salaries.
  • $14 million for housing - $10 million towards Housing and Poverty Reduction Envelope and $4 million in capital investments for housing initiatives;
  • The snow reserve will be restored after having been drained of resources for many years and new operational practices will save $1.3 million while building flexibility to deal with extreme winters;
  • Investments in capital works over the next few years will improve Ottawa’s road network, including: $30 million expansion of Trim Road in Orleans; $17 million on the east-end extension from Navan Road to 10th Line Road; $9.5 million on St. Joseph Boulevard; our share of the Highway 417 interchange; and, $55 million for the Alta Vista connection to Smyth Road.
  • Significant investments and service changes will be introduced to improve service reliability of the transit system and eliminate inefficiencies that threaten the financial sustainability of the bus system. While the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Budgets each had 7.5% increases in transit fares, the 2011 budget holds the transit fare increase to 2.5% only.

In total, Budget 2011 identifies $22 million in management efficiencies and reductions in corporate overhead. As a result of strategic capital investments by 2014 management lead service improvements and efficiencies are expected to generate sustained savings of more than $40 million annually from city operations

Budget 2011 includes new strategic funding envelopes that will be prioritized and allocated through the Standing Committee process:

  • $14 million for housing - $10 million towards Housing and Poverty Reduction Envelope and $4 million in capital investments for housing initiatives;
  • $2 million allocated for economic development initiatives;
  • $500,000 funding envelope for priority environmental initiatives.
     

    Urban Home

     

    Rural Home

     

    Commerical Property

     
     

    Average Assessment:
    $295,300

     

    Average Assessment
    $295,300

     

    Average Assessment:
    $236,175

     

    Area

    2010

    2011

    2010

    2011

    2010

    2011

    City Wide

    1,612

    1,643

    1,612

    1,643

    2,455

    2,502

    Police and Library

    560

    575

    560

    575

    853

    875

    Transit

    528

    539

    111

    113

    821

    838

    Fire*

    271

    287

    127

    137

    420

    445

    Garbage Fee

    89

    91

    91

    91

    -

    -

    Total

    3,060

    3135

    2,499

    2,559

    4,549

    4,660

    $ Change

     

    75

     

    60

     

    111

    % Change

     

    2.45%

     

    2.40%

     

    2.45%

* Reflects estimated impact of changes in Urban and Rural fire zones.

2011 Tax Supported Revenue $2.367 Billion – By Funding Source

Operating expenditures are funded through property taxes $1.263 million (54%); Payments in Lieu of Property Taxes $172 million (7%), federal and provincial funding $434 million (18%), fees and service charges $419 million (18%), reserves$28 million (1%) and other miscellaneous revenue sources $51 million (2%).

In addition to these strategic funding envelopes Budget 2011 proposes:

  • $8 million over 4 years to improve accessibility;
  • Complete renewal of our Para Transpo fleet;
  • $ 2 million per year over the next four years for capital projects for environmental issues;
  • Expansion of the audible traffic signal program and street lighting improvements;
  • Recreation fees have been frozen for the first time since amalgamation;
  • 22 front-line paramedics with two new, fully equipped ambulances and two new technicians to keep the ambulances on the streets;
  • 45 new firefighters to staff the 2 new fire stations;
  • $161 million towards projects and programs to improve and streamline the bus system;
  • $15 million for the Service Innovation and Efficiency Program that includes 9 initiatives that deliver service improvements and generate efficiencies; and,
  • $2.8 million per year for new cycling initiatives across the City.

Transit Fare and Tax Rate Comparison

OC Transpo fare difference

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

Percentage

7.5

7.5

7.5

2.5

Tax rate difference

 

2008

2009

2010

2011

Percentage

4.9

4.9

3.9

2.45

Living within our means:

The City will find efficiencies this year that will also improve savings over time.

  • Freezing of Mayor and Councillors’ salaries for the next two years;
  • 10% cut in Mayor’s office budget;
  • No increases to Councillors’ office budgets;
  • The average urban home will see an increase of only $75 this year for City services – this is considerably less than the average urban tax increase for the last few years: $135 in 2008; $166 in 2009; $125 in 2010; and, $75 in 2011;
  • $300,000 corporate-wide reduction in discretionary spending, including: conferences, business travel and luncheons;
  • Savings of almost $1 million in fees for outside legal services and external consultants;
  • Savings of almost $1 million by reducing printing, advertising and promotion and by using the City’s website, community newspapers and on-line services more efficiently;
  • $6 million contribution from the 2010 surplus to the Winter Maintenance Fund will provide the flexibility to initiate a $1.3 million savings strategy based on reduced need, better equipment and improved operational practices;
  • Budget 2011 will see an increase of 2.9% to capital pay as you go contributions, followed by a comprehensive capital review.

Better, more affordable service:

The City will continue to improve services and reduce costs across operations. Examples for 2011 include:

  • $15 million for new technologies for “Service Ottawa” initiative that will save money and provide better service by cutting red tape at City Hall and making it easier for residents to access services. For example, booking any city facility will get much easier by using the on-line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week service to search for, book and pay for facilities.
  • Virtually all permits and licences will be available through an on-line service;
  • $8 million over 4 years, the City’s largest investment ever, to improve accessibility for the disabled and seniors. This includes power-assisted doors and improvements to elevators, ramps and door widths. In addition to this, another $1.5 million for more audible signals, pedestrian countdown signals and new street lighting;
  • Tender for the complete renewal of the Para Transpo fleet to improve service for residents unable to use public transit;
  • Almost $30 million to improve emergency and protective services including, 24 new staff at paramedics, two new ambulances, 45 new full-time firefighters and two new fire stations - one in Barrhaven and the other in Stittsville. Both stations are LEED silver certified facilities, meaning they are environmentally sustainable, and are more cost effective as they use less energy.

Significant improvements to Transit Services to set it on a sustainable path for the future, including:

  • Implementation of the American Public Transit Association’s best practices recommendations to correct inefficiencies that will result in savings of $7.2 million in 2011 and $23 million in 2012;
  • $63 million for Transitway improvements, including a bypass to eliminate bottleneck from Bayshore to Moodie Drive;
  • Transit Commission will consider ways to improve productivity including carrying customers on larger transit vehicles by expanding the capacity of the O-Train or by buying double-decker buses;
  • 74 new bus drivers to improve service and reduce overtime;
  • $10 million to expand park and ride facilities in Orleans, Barrhaven and Kanata;
  • $161 million in 2011 for projects and programs that will increase ridership and improve service;
  • Better express service and smarter routes to better serve Orleans, Kanata and Barrhaven;
  • After three years of increases over 7.5% from 2008 to 2010, Budget 2011 limits the overall transit fare increase to just 2.5%;
  • Free transit service for seniors on Wednesdays and on Mondays and Fridays after 12 noon.

A caring community: Caring for people

The City remains committed to supporting our community partners, vulnerable and disadvantaged residents, youth, seniors and the environment. In order to stand by our partner agencies, the City has maintained funding to community partners, and provided an increase for cost of living and some modest increases to base funding. An increased allocation for cost of living from 2% to 2.5% for social service and health agencies will contribute to the long-term sustainability of these service providers.

The Budget will include a $10 million investment in new strategic funding envelopes for Housing and Poverty Reduction that will be prioritized and allocated through the Standing Committee process. This funding is in addition to a $4 million capital investment for housing initiatives.

Budget 2011 includes:

  • Funding for Ottawa Public Health to enhance the response to health threats through the Infectious Disease Prevention and Control Program;
  • $300,000 for youth suicide prevention in partnership with the Youth Services Bureau, Royal Ottawa Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and front-line service providers;
  • New funding for prevention of head and brain injury among Ottawa youth;
  • Recreation fees have been frozen for the first time since amalgamation;
  • The Health Canada Air Quality Health Index program will provide a new tool to help monitor current air quality conditions to help those with respiratory illness;
  • Public Health funding, including $560,000 for the general prevention of infectious diseases in the community and $180,000 specifically targeted to the prevention of infectious diseases in long-term care facilities;
  • $750,000 for non-profit community childcare agencies for capital improvements to facilities.

Support for the Ottawa Public Library and the services that it delivers, to a very broad cross section of our community, continue to be a priority. Through innovative partnerships with the community, the Library will continue to provide support for such programs as:

  • Improvements to services for Francophone residents;
  • Conversation circles;
  • Fundraising with the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library to strengthen collections in key areas;
  • Developing children’s programming and organizing author events to promote learning and literacy;
  • Enabling citizens to “check out an experience” by circulating free passes to more than 20 museums and galleries.

In 2011, the Library will continue to develop programs and services specifically designed for seniors, children, youth and teens and improve accessibility by offering assistive technology to help users with disabilities.

A caring community: Caring for the environment

The City is developing a long- term energy plan, sustainability plan and risk mitigation efforts to ensure that Ottawa will be resilient and sustainable now and into the future.

The City is pursuing an innovative agenda founded in Smart Growth Principles that supports sustainability and will help Ottawa build the foundations of an environmentally responsible future. Details include:

  • Advancing the implementation of the five-year Ottawa River Action Plan;
  • $2.5 million as part of the Smart Energy initiative to improve energy efficiency and reduce the city’s carbon footprint and costs;
  • $2 million per year over the next four years for environmental issues;
  • Initiation of work to better handle leachate from the Trail Road landfill;
  • An increase of $1.5 million to support the Growing a Healthy Forest initiative and to deal with threat of the Emerald Ash Borer. An additional $1.2 million in capital funding will be provided for new trees;
  • Policies and programs to encourage green development, including establishing a “Green Team” to fast track these applications;
  • Development, approval, and implementation of a new Environmental Strategy for the City;
  • $2.8 million identified for cycling infrastructure projects;
  • $500,000 environmental capital envelope for priority environmental initiatives that will be determined through the Environmental Standing Committee; and,
  • Funding to continue the planning work towards a number of transformative projects including Light Rail Transit, Lansdowne, and Ottawa River Action Plan.

In this budget, we are setting aside $500,000 for development of a long-term municipal waste master plan that will lessen our dependence on landfills in favour of environmentally friendly alternatives such as recycling.

The spending contained in this budget is in addition to several significant environmental investments the City will be making that will be detailed in the rate budget next month to address our water and wastewater system. The rate budget will be tabled at the Environment Committee, the creation of which is another example of this City’s commitment to environmental issues.

2011 Draft Budget – Next Steps

Public delegations will be received by Standing Committees on budget matters in the first few weeks of February. At the conclusion of the Standing Committee review phase, Council will hold five multi-ward public consultation sessions to present and discuss the budget.

Area

Date

Location

South

Tuesday, February 22

Nepean Sportsplex Halls A/B
1701 Woodroffe Avenue, Ottawa

West

Wednesday, February 23

Holy Trinity Catholic School
180 Katimavik Road, Kanata

Rural

Thursday, February 24

Stuart Holmes Arena
5660 Main Street, Osgoode

East

Monday, February 28

Shenkman Arts Centre (Theatre)
245 Centrum Boulevard, Orleans

Central

Thursday, March 3

City Hall (Andrew Haydon Hall)
110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa

In addition, the Mayor will host a Spending Control Town Hall Meeting on Taxes on March 1 at Ottawa City Hall starting at 7 p.m.

The budgets for the Water and Sewer programs, which are fully funded from revenues raised on the water bill, are not included in this report and will be tabled at the Environment Committee meeting of February 15, 2011.

City Council will be setting its term of Council priorities, Capital Budget Review, Strategic Plan and accompanying Long Range Financial Plan after the 2011 budget has been adopted. The Long Range Financial plan will include a forecast that extends beyond the 2014 time period.

The capital budget estimates for 2012 to 2014 have been prepared based on the previous Council’s strategic plan and adopted policies and will be amended as a result of the new Council’s deliberations on their own term of Council priorities.

Council will hold final deliberations on the budget March 8 to 10, 2011.

All budget documents will be posted on Ottawa.ca and residents can voice their opinions on the City budget by calling 311, e-mailing 311@ottawa.ca or faxing 613-560-2126.