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Budget 2016

Mayor’s 2016 Budget Address

Good morning.

I would like to provide an overview of the proposed 2016 budget.

Today, I’m pleased to tell you that we are tabling a balanced budget.

The draft 2016 budget follows Council’s direction to keep the tax rate at 2 per cent.

This is good news for local families, residents and businesses… all of whom expect us to live within our means.

The proposed budget would see us remain steady on our priorities of transit, affordable housing, and strengthening our local economy.

We will also protect our front-line services.

In short, Budget 2016 proposes that we continue to be an activist Council by investing in what matters most to our residents.

I want to thank our City Manager, Treasurer, Deputy Treasurer, Deputy City Managers, and their staff for their hard work on this budget.

I also want to thank all of my colleagues around this table.

I met with each of you, alongside senior management, to discuss your ideas and priorities.

You also passed along ideas provided by our residents from across the city.

Let me give you an overview of our 2016 budget priorities.

Budget 2016 will make key investments to create stronger communities.

That starts with helping even more people afford to have a roof over their heads.

We have made tremendous progress over the last few years.

By making unprecedented investments in our City’s most vulnerable, we now have far fewer people living on the street than five years ago.

And while we can take pride in this achievement, there is more work to be done.

For 2016, the draft budget proposes continuing the $2-million increase for affordable housing and homelessness programs that we’ve funded through the provincial upload.

One of the major projects being funded in part by these dollars is the Carlington Community Health Centre.

This partnership between the City, Ottawa Community Housing, the province, the government of Canada, and the Carlington Community Health centre will break ground in 2016 and once built, will bring 42 new affordable housing units to our city. 

I am very proud of our increased funding for affordable housing.

In fact, when you add it all up, planned and past investments made by this Council and the last Council will amount to more than $100 million in NEW dollars in this area.

Whether it’s through rent subsidies, new units or renovations of older housing stock – we have made a true difference in people’s lives.

These investments… alongside our predictable 2% tax rate… will ensure Ottawa continues to be an affordable place to raise a family.

We’ll strengthen communities outside the home as well.

Budget 2016 proposes continuing the $50,000 increase we’ve given for low-income families who want to access recreation programs.

We’ll also support our community volunteers who run more than 230 local outdoor ice rinks by increasing the grants we provide them by 10%.

This winter will see the first increase to this program in more than 10 years.

These are modest, but important measures, in improving the quality of life in our communities.

The draft budget also proposes continuing our investments in our gang exit strategy.

This is not a problem that will go away overnight.

But we are working with our partners at Crime Prevention Ottawa, Ottawa Police Service, the John Howard Society, and the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization to move this strategy forward.

In 2016, the Ottawa Police Service Board proposes that this good work will be supported by 25 new police officers.

The budget we’re tabling today also proposes a 1.5% increase in the amounts we give to community health resource centres.

These organizations conduct important outreach and provide crucial services at the local level, especially for vulnerable individuals.

We’ve been steadily increasing contributions in this area since 2010, with overall funding to these centres, rising to more than $10.9 million – a 25% increase in six years.

As a whole, this budget proposes making targeted, smart investments to lift people out of poverty and create healthier, safer communities.

Ottawa is seen as a leader in this area and we will continue to lead.

Budget 2016 will allow us to continue the progress we’re making in providing great community infrastructure.

That means our front-line service priorities such as parks, recreation and culture.

When you look at the proposed budget amounts in this area you will be pleased to see our investments continuing to increase in 2016.

The draft budget proposes investing $2 million in recreation facility upgrades and an additional $1,030,000 in community partnership grants next year.

Budget 2016 proposes 10 new splash pads in community park locations across the city during the next three years.

We’ll also invest $280,000 for design work for a future expansion of Blackburn Arena.

And, the City will provide more than $1.2 million to partner with other funders in Canada150 projects.

This includes expanding of the Bayshore Fieldhouse and the Manotick Arena and an addition to the Albion Heatherington Community Centre.

We will also build on the community success we’ve seen at the Francois Dupuis pool site, as we invest $5.5 million to add a full-service community centre to the facility.

Our parks will also see upgrades or expansions.

This includes Inverness, Pinecrest, Sawmill Creek, Optimiste, Chaudiere and Stonegate Park.

The draft budget also proposes contributing more than $320,000 to complete the playground at the new Miracle League of Ottawa baseball field.

Some of the investments we propose are smaller-scale or behind the scenes.

Sometimes this means new a new pool deck, gym floor or hand railings.

Or maybe it is a new elevator or ventilation system.

These investments are very important for the long-term health of our facilities and our communities.

For example, we’ll invest $1.8 million in much-needed rehabilitation for the Ray Friel and Bob MacQuarrie complexes in Orleans.

Other facilities that will see similar rehabilitation include Walter Baker, Beaverbrook, Dunrobin, Goulbourn, Manor Park, Terry Fox, and the Nepean Sportsplex.

Arenas such as the Howard Darwin Centennial Arena and the West Carleton Community Complex will also see work.

On a city-wide basis, we will invest a total of $326 million to improve existing and build new infrastructure.

This will show our continued commitment to preserving our roads, sidewalks, bridges, cycling paths, and watermains.

City-wide, we’ll invest $35 million in road resurfacing on key roads like Iris Street and Jean d’Arc Boulevard North.

This figure includes also includes a significant investment in the resurfacing and reconstruction of our rural roads including Carp Road,  Quigley Hill Road, Old Stagecoach Road, and Earl Armstrong Road.

In the downtown core, we’ll get ready for the 2017 celebrations by repaving Wellington Street, Kent Street and Mackenzie Avenue.

Beyond this, we will have integrated road work projects, which tie together our road, sewer and watermain renewal work.

In this area, the draft budget proposes investing $65 million in 2016.

This includes Gilmour, Renfrew, Cartier, Waverley, Prince of Wales, Crystal Beach and Montreal Road.

We’ll improve structures such as the Garvin Road Bridge… large culverts on Ramsayville Road and Diamondview Road… and the 9th Line Road Bridge.

These are the kinds of core investments that we need to protect and promote.

Our City has spent a historic amount on roads, transit, and infrastructure over the last 5 years.

And now, we have a partner at the federal level that says it will triple spending on infrastructure.

That is very encouraging – the City of Ottawa will be at the table as a partner to help reach this goal and spur our City’s economic renewal.

One thing that myself and my fellow Council members have heard repeatedly from residents are complaints about speeding in residential areas.

This is a significant problem and one we are taking steps to address.

In Budget 2016, each Ward will again receive $40,000 - a total of $920,000 across the city – to institute traffic calming measures that are highly responsive to each ward’s specific challenges.

There will also be new traffic control devices at intersections like Conroy at Queensdale and Blair at Claver.

And we will continue to implement our Complete Streets approach to selected road reconstruction projects in order to better serve all modes of transportation that our residents use. 

It is clear that Ottawa is becoming a more dynamic city in a number of ways.

Next year will see our single biggest arts capital investment take shape: the revitalized Arts Court and expanded Ottawa Art Gallery.

This regional arts hub is long overdue.

We’ll also continue to grow our commitment to cultural funding by an additional 1.5% percent this year.

Since 2010, we’ve increased annual cultural grant funding to cultural groups by more than $1 million.

In 2016, we will also continue our investments to ensure ensuring cycling remains a safe and attractive option for commuters and families.

For example, this budget proposes to allocate $200,000 to maintain our 40-kilometre winter cycling network.

I am pleased to tell you that we will also move forward on two key bike lane projects this year.

The first is a partnership with the NCC and the Embassy of the United States of America for bike lanes on Mackenzie Avenue.

This will provide better cycling connectivity and remove the unattractive jersey barriers in front of the embassy.

I want to thank United States’ Ambassador Bruce Heyman who brought this offer to me several months ago.

In 2016, we will also break ground on the first phase of the O’Connor Street bike lane, which will be a great north-south option for cyclists.

This will be a perfect complement to the Laurier Bike Lanes, which will likely celebrate their 2-millionth rider by this time next year.

In addition to this, we’ll invest $1.1 million for cycling improvements on Cyrville Road.

Looking ahead, we will also open the $9.2-million Somerset-Donald pedestrian and cycling bridge.

This will be the fifth bridge we’ve opened in the last three years.

The $25-million investment in cycling during the last term of Council was the largest this city’s ever seen.

At the end of this term we are on track to do even better by investing more than $31 million over four years.

And on the strength of the recommendation made by our transportation committee, we will make an important down payment of $4.8M million on the Fifth and Clegg Pedestrian Crossing linking the Glebe to Old Ottawa East.

I am delighted to hear that there is strong support for this project at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels.

Colleagues, we need to look at this budget against the backdrop of the reality of our local economy and the average family’s budget.

We must be aware that the rate of development and growth has been slowing down.

There is a clear slowdown in our economy with increases in our assessment base projected to be 1.3%, or $18.4 million in new additional taxation revenue in 2016.

By way of comparison, in 2015, assessment growth generated $24.6 million in addition taxation revenue, more than a $6 million decline.

We need to be aware of the challenges this places on our own future plans to fund infrastructure and other priorities.

This will be a challenge.

However, the answer would not be to saddle the business sector, first-time homebuyers, or seniors on a fixed income with an even-higher increase in taxes.

This is true across the city but even more so for wards in the downtown core, which are being hit hard by property re-assessments ranging as high as 8% between assessment periods.

This means some homes will already face a higher tax bill next year, even before we adjust our own tax rate.

Our job here is clear.

Budget time is not just about deciding where we spend more money.

It is equally important to look internally to find savings.

In a $3-billion organization, we should have every confidence that we can find innovation solutions.

That is why in October, City Council directed staff to pursue multi-year efficiency measures to address structural financial challenges, such as:

  • Winter maintenance costs;
  • Arbitrated wage settlements;
  • And increased insurance costs

And I was grateful for the useful suggestions for savings brought forward by Members of Council when I met with each of you about your ideas.

Let me give you some examples.

During our meetings, some Councillors brought hard copies of glossy printed materials that promoted City programs, delivered in large quantities across the city.

Sometimes these products are printed out of habit and it is reasonable to rethink how much we spend on advertising and printing.

Some noticed the number of shiny new City-owned trucks in some of our municipal lots.

It is reasonable to press the pause button on new car and truck purchases while we review how we deliver a more efficient and cost effective winter maintenance program.

I think it’s a similar decision any family would make when they were considering options for their household budget.

Several of you questioned the number of employees in a certain unit or branch.

Our City management has taken these suggestions and will include them as part of ongoing operational reviews we approved last month.

The budget being tabled today proposes a reduction of 50 full-time equivalent employee positions.

This is the 5th budget in a row that would see the municipal workforce reduced in a responsible fashion – during the same years we’ve been named one of Canada’s top 100 employers.

We’ll continue to manage the size of our workforce in a responsible manner, even as we continue to grow.

And looking internally we have proposed measures in Budget 2016 that will save us money next year and put us on a more stable footing as we go forward in the years to come.

Some examples include:

  • Reviewing planned purchases of trucks and other fleet vehicles
  • Saving $300,000 by contracting out the City’s iron works
  • Reducing the use of consultants for internal surveys and online forms
  • Reducing paid advertising, media monitoring services, printing, and postage
  • Converting streetlights to more-efficient LED technology
  • Reducing overtime and on-call staff time
  • Reviewing municipally-owned land and properties to sell

These are the types of efficiencies that we have to be diligent about finding.

We owe it to the residents of Ottawa to make sure their tax dollars are spent wisely.

That starts by looking carefully at our own internal spending.

Of course, 2016 will also be a big year for light rail transit.

Construction for the O-Train Confederation Line will continue, which requires dollars not just for construction but also for OC Transpo to shift to a multi-modal transportation company.

We will also get ready for Stage 2 of LRT.

This Council can be very proud of the progress we have made so far.

All three levels of government are now in lockstep on this project.

We can also be optimistic when we see both the provincial and federal governments looking to spend more on infrastructure to stimulate the economy.

As we move forward with preliminary engineering work for Stage 2 LRT this year, we will work hard to ensure our partners maximize their contributions to this transformative city-building project.

We have a strong case not only for Stage 2, but funding for the Trim Road and Airport spur lines as well.

And as part of our TMP refresh, we will look at the feasibility of extending LRT to Kanata.

I look forward to working with all of you around this table to make that happen.

Because we all share the goal of creating a world-class transit system for the nation’s capital.

Residents are starting to see us make good on that promise as they watch the LRT being built right before their very eyes.

As we undertake this very important work, we are always aware of the growing pains on our transit customers.

At the same time, we must remember that this did not happen overnight.

This has been a well-coordinated effort that is going according to plan.

The City and its partners have invested significant sums to make this an easier transition for all of our road users, and our transit customers.

This includes:

An expanded O-Train Trillium Line, increasing the frequency of trips.

A $206 million provincial investment in the Highway 417 expansion, with extra lanes being used exclusively by our buses for two years?.

And $33 million for new buses to increase capacity during construction.

This draft budget proposes $11.5 million in bus and other OC Transpo vehicle renewal.

We’ll also invest millions more in station and Transitway improvements to create a more comfortable transit experience.

We must also remember that the City’s share of funding for transit capital does not come from the fare box – that funding already comes from municipal taxpayers who foot 100% of the share.

This is in addition to the nearly $88 million in annual gas tax revenue that vehicle owners pay, dedicated exclusively to transit.

The draft budget proposes that the City will generate an increase in fare box revenue of 2.5% in 2016.

This is a balanced approach.

While it would always be nice to see fares frozen, this would severely undermine and underfund our LRT affordability plan that we all support.

I suppose if we could freeze wage settlements or fleet maintenance costs, then we could freeze fares.

But that is not realistic.

One only has to look back two Councils ago to see fare increases of 7.5%, 3 years in a row.

We must continue our balanced approach into the future to ensure we have the funds to pay for better transit, to the benefit of all of our residents.

We have spent some time in the last few months talking about some of the financial challenges we face today and on the horizon.

As elected officials, our residents expect us to look at these challenges reasonably and in a balanced way.

They expect us to show leadership and live within our means.

But that does not mean we will cut back on or abandon our priorities.

Colleagues, if anyone was worried about the City changing direction on its core priorities, there is no evidence of that in this budget.

In closing, let me give you a 2016 summary:

We’ll continue building light rail transit and transform our transportation system.

That includes construction for the Confederation Line and moving forward confidently with Stage 2 to Orleans, Bayshore, Algonquin College and Riverside South.

We’ll see the revitalized Arts Court take shape.

The budget includes funds for the planning and building of two new fire stations at Cyrville and Orleans South.

We’ll open the Bayview Innovation Centre for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

We’ll move towards procurement for a new central library with a $2.9 million contribution from the City alongside a $1 million contribution from the Library.

We’ll start converting our street lights to more-efficient LED technology.

We’ll break ground on the final part of the Ottawa River Action Plan.

We’ll install new red light cameras to keep our streets safe.

We’ll fix roads, sidewalks, and recreation and community centres.

We’ll continue record investments in transit, arts and culture, affordable housing, and economic development.

And we’ll action our solid game plan to attract investment and tourists ahead of 2017.

Last week, I was in Stittsville and a resident came up to me and said “I like the fact the City is finally getting things done.”

It was a brief conversation, but one that I believe sums up our can-do attitude.

When you look at what’s ahead for 2016 and beyond…

We are creating a more compassionate, sustainable, dynamic city.

Colleagues, it is a very exciting time to be in Ottawa.

And working together, we will make it even better.

2016 Budget Consultations

While the Councillor-led public consultations are now finished, you can still contact your Councillor directly to express any concerns you might have about Budget 2016.

E-mail budget2016@ottawa.ca

Tweet @ottawacity using hashtag #ottbudget

Call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). Rural residents: call 613-580-2400

Learn more. Check out these resources about the City's budget process.

Mayor’s 2016 budget consultations

Mayor Jim Watson hosted a telephone town hall to discuss the upcoming City budget on Thursday, June 25, 2015. During this one-hour budget consultation, residents had the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas for the 2016 budget and to pose related questions to the Mayor and City officials.

The City of Ottawa is evolving its budget process to include greater public engagement throughout the year. This session was one of a number of new initiatives aimed at helping residents become more involved in budget development.

Read a transcript of the session.

Transcript

CORPORATE PARTICIPANTS

Mayor Jim Watson
City of Ottawa

Marian Simulik
City Treasurer, City of Ottawa

Isabelle Jasmin
Trésorière principale adjointe, Ville d’Ottawa

Dr. Aaron Burry
General Manager, Community and Social Services, City of Ottawa

John Manconi
Manager, Transit Strategic Services, City of Ottawa

Dixon Weir
General Manager, Environmental Services, City of Ottawa

Kevin Wylie
General Manager, Public Works, City of Ottawa

Dan Chenier
General Manager, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, City of Ottawa

Kent Kirkpatrick
City Manager, City of Ottawa

CONFERENCE CALL PARTICIPANTS

Maureen Gauthier

Sunil Magesh

Peter Clarke

Pattie McCabe (phon)

Richard Everly (phon)

Dale Harley

Kathryn Jamieson

Simone Thibault

Mo Romano (phon)

Bob Brocklebank

Liz Bernstein

Warren Foster

Chris Bradshaw

Mike O’Neill

Steve Beecham (phon)

Joan Kuyek

PRESENTATION

Operator

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.  Bonjour Mesdames et Messieurs.  Welcome to the City of Ottawa’s Budget 2016 Tele-Town Hall.  Bienvenue au téléforum sur le Budget 2016 de la Ville d’Ottawa.  I would now like to turn the meeting over to His Worship, Mayor Jim Watson.  J’aimerais maintenant céder la parole à Son Honneur le maire Jim Watson.  Please go ahead, Mayor Watson.  À vous la parole.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Merci.  Thank you, Patrick, and good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the City of Ottawa’s first Budget Telephone Town Hall.  Bonsoir, Mesdames et Messieurs, bienvenue au téléforum sur le Budget 2016 de la Ville d’Ottawa.

First of all, I’d like to thank you for calling in tonight and joining in this important discussion.  Over the next hour, we’re going to have an opportunity to talk, ask questions and hear from you, the public, in the City of Ottawa.  The session will be recorded and shared on ottawa.ca as soon as it’s available.  La séance sera enregistrée et sera publiée sur le site Web ottawa.ca.  Staff will be compiling the questions and ideas asked here tonight and feeding them into the 2016 budget process.  Notre personnel assurera le suivi de toutes les questions et les idées soulevées ce soir.

The point of this new experiment is that we want to make it easier for you to be involved in discussions about how your tax dollars are being spent.  I’m here to help answer those questions, and so are a number of Managers and Department Heads, as well as our City Treasurer and City Manager.

As you may be aware, last night we hosted a Budget 101 session here at City Hall.  I’d like to begin our discussion this evening, before we get to you and your questions and comments, by inviting our City Treasurer, Marian Simulik, to give a brief recap of her presentation to provide you with an overview of municipal budgeting. 

À la suite de sa présentation en anglais, je demande à notre trésorière principale adjointe, Isabelle Jasmin, de vous offrir une courte présentation en français sur le même sujet.

So, I’ll now hand it over to our City Treasurer, Marian Simulik.

Marian Simulik, City Treasurer, City of Ottawa

Thank you, Mr. Mayor.  As the Mayor said, we’re here to listen to all suggestions tonight, but to provide some context, listeners should know that the City budget is funded from three main sources, taxes, user fees and provincial transfers.  Some of the services the City delivers are mandated by the province and, therefore, these budgets cannot be adjusted without the province changing the service level standards.  These services are primarily in the social services area, such as Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program.  Other services, such as water and sewer, are funded exclusively from user fees.  So, any suggestions for changes in these areas will not impact taxes, but would impact the user fee.

Finally, the budgets are built to deliver services in line with approved service standards, such as response times for fire and paramedic services, centimetres of snow accumulation for road services, number of garbage recycling pickups per week for waste services, etc.  The only way to generate savings that do not affect service delivery standards are from finding efficiencies.  This is a topic I hope the listeners will be able to contribute towards tonight.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Thanks, Marian, and now... Maintenant, Isabelle Jasmin, en français, s’il vous plaît.

Isabelle Jasmin, trésorière principale adjointe, Ville d’Ottawa

Merci, monsieur le maire. Nous sommes ici pour écouter toutes les suggestions, mais pour situer les choses dans leur contexte. Nous voulons tout d’abord que les auditeurs sachent que le budget de la Ville est financé par trois sources principales : les impôts fonciers, les frais d’utilisation, les transferts provenant du gouvernement provincial. Certains des services offerts par la Ville sont exigés par le gouvernement provincial. Les budgets ne peuvent donc pas être ajustés quand le gouvernement provincial modifie les normes de services. Il s’agit principalement de services sociaux, comme le programme Ontario au travail et les programmes ontariens de soutien aux personnes handicapées. D’autres services, tels que le service d’eau et d’égout sont financés exclusivement par les frais d’utilisation. Par conséquent, un changement proposé dans ces domaines n’aurait aucune incidence sur les impôts fonciers mais aurait des répercussions sur des frais d’utilisation.

Enfin, les budgets sont conçus pour fournir des services compatibles avec les normes de services approuvées, comme le délai d’intervention du service des incendies et les services paramédiques. Le nombre de centimètres de neige accumulée qui déclenche l’intervention des services d’entretien de routes, le nombre de collectes de déchets et de matières recyclables effectuées chaque semaine par les services de déchets solides. Ainsi, la seule façon de générer les économies tout en n’affectant pas les normes de prestation de services consiste à obtenir des gains d’efficacité. J’espère que les auditeurs seront en mesure d’apporter une contribution à cet égard.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you very much, and now back to the Bell Operator, who will explain how people listening in right now can call in.  Patrick?

question and answer session

Operator

Thank you, Mayor Watson.  We will now take questions from the telephone lines.  Nous allons maintenant passer à la période des questions. If you have a question and you’re using a speaker phone, please lift your handset before making your selection.  Si vous utilisez un téléphone mains libres, s’il vous plaît, soulevez le combiné avant d’effectuer votre sélection.  If you have a question, please press star, one on your telephone keypad.  If at any time you wish to cancel your question, please press the pound sign.  Si vous désirez poser une question, veuillez s’il vous plaît appuyer sur les touches étoile, un, de votre téléphone à clavier. Vous pouvez à tout moment annuler votre question en appuyant sur le dièse.  There will be a brief pause while the participants register for questions.  Il y aura un court délai vous permettant de vous enregistrer dans la file d’attente pour la période des questions.  Thank you for your patience.  Please press star, one at this time if you have a question.  Merci de patienter. S’il vous plaît, appuyez sur étoile, un, maintenant, pour poser une question.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, and you can also contact us by Twitter using #ottbudget, or send email to us now at budget2016@ottawa.ca, and I believe we have some callers, so, Patrick, if you can put the first caller through, that would be great

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The first question is from... la première question est de Maureen Gauthier.  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Hi, Maureen, go ahead.

Maureen Gauthier

Yes, good evening, Mayor Watson, and thank you so much for hosting this event.  My question is I want to know if funding will be in the 2016 budget for the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, Shawenjeagamik Drop-In, at 510 Rideau.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Thank you for that, Maureen.  I believe you’re referring to the funding that came from, I believe, the provincial and federal government flow-through to the City of Ottawa, and the rules of spending those dollars was changed and, as a result, that funding was cancelled and reallocated to other programs. 

So, I have Dr. Aaron Burry here, who is responsible for Social Services.  Aaron, do you want to explain how that came about?

Dr. Aaron Burry, General Manager, Community and Social Services Department, City of Ottawa

Thank you, yes.  The federal government actually required us to re-tender or re-issue requests for proposals that changed the direction in housing away from the programs that existed and move it towards what are called Housing First Programs.  All agencies had the ability to submit submissions for that and, unfortunately, not all agencies were successful through that process.  Also, we had about $10.8 million and that had not increased in well over a decade.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you.  Thank you, Maureen, for that.  We have an email question that’s come in.  Sunil Magesh writes, “Tunney’s Pasture to Home on Tenth Line in Orleans in 25 minutes because of all the improvements to the 417 is amazing.  I save one hour every day because of this.  If any suggestions, I’d like Ottawa to become more green, using solar wind energy and allow zero-emission vehicles on bus lanes.”

John Manconi is here.  My understanding is that on bus lanes you can’t have other vehicles intermixing.  In any event, the bus lanes are being converted to rail, the Rapid Transit System.  Is that correct?

John Manconi, Manager, Transit Strategic Services, City of Ottawa

That’s correct.  The bus lanes that we have out heading west are dedicated for transit vehicles and emergency vehicles only, and the ones that we’ve just put in for the east to replace the transitway that’s being converted to rail, are exclusively for bus and emergency vehicles and we can’t have mixed-use traffic in there.  It compromises the operations and safety of both buses and the vehicles.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you.  So, we have other callers in the queue, so we’ll go back to the phone lines, Patrick, with the next caller, please.

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Peter Clarke.  Please go ahead. La parole est à vous.

Peter Clarke

Yes, hello.  Again, thank you for allowing this time for questions.  I have a question more basic on the—just the information that you provide with the budget.  Actually, this has a history with me trying to get this information for a long time.  Back in the 2012 budget process, you, Mayor, and Mr. Kirkpatrick agreed that you were going to put information of compensations and benefits for—as you agreed, 60 percent, or close to 60 percent of our costs in the budget is actually benefits and compensation, and I think the Police Department said 90 percent of their budget is tied up into that.  So, that budget in 2012, about a month later you put information on the web for public consultation and made it available—you said that it was going to be available for every budget since then, but 2013, that information wasn’t available until July 2013, long after the budget was passed; 2014, again it wasn’t available till long after the budget was reviewed by committee; and in 2015, this year, the information hasn’t appeared as of yet again.  I just wondered is that a real commitment that’s been made and is that information going to appear in future budgets.  It’s information that, if you want input, certainly, we need to have the—the public, that being, need to have that type of information available.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

I’m going to ask—thank you, Peter, for the question.  I’m going to ask Marian Simulik to respond to the issue you’ve raised.

Marian Simulik, City Treasurer, City of Ottawa

Thank you, Peter, for the question, and my apologies for actually having the information go out so late.  What you’ve asked for is the information about breaking out the pension among all of the benefits that we pay at the City of Ottawa.  It is a real commitment.  Unfortunately, at this point in time, our system hasn’t been built.  We have to do a fair bit of work to break that information apart, because it actually is one big lump at this point in time, and our intent is to actually have that in the 2016 budget.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay.  So, we have another—I think this is an email.  No, this is a tweet, I’m sorry, from Vanier Cycles.  “Biking around Ottawa safely means investing in cycle tracks and bike lanes.  What we want for #ottbudget is #ottbikefunding.”

So, as you may know, during our strategic initiatives process that we’re going through right now, we are putting dollars into the budget.  We just approved, for instance, a north/south segregated lane on O’Connor, and in the last Term of Council, we invested a record $26 million in cycling initiatives.  So, there is money in the budget, I suspect it’s probably not as much as some cycling enthusiasts would like, but we are making progress on our comprehensive cycling plan that was approved by the last Council.

So, we have a number of callers, so we’ll keep going back to the phones to get as many in as possible.  Thank you again.  If you’ve just called in and you’d like to ask a question or give us a comment, dial star, one at any time to enter the queue.  Appuyez sur étoile, un, pour enregistrer dans la file d’attente.

So, Patrick, if you could put the next caller through, please?

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Pattie McCabe (phon).  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Pattie McCabe (phon)

Good evening, Mayor Watson.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Hello.

Pattie McCabe

I was just wondering, with the planning for the new LRT, will there be money in the budget to put in public toilets at some of the major hubs.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Well, there are toilets planned on the two extremes, the one in the west end, which is Tunney’s Pasture, and the one in the east end, which is Blair Station, and my understanding is—and I’ll ask John Manconi to correct, but I believe of the 13 stations, there’s a total of eight that would have easy access to washrooms.  So, that where the stations are going to be located, for instance, in Place de Ville and the Sun Life Centre, there is access to public washrooms at those sites.

I don’t know if John has anything else to add to that.

John Manconi, Manager, Transit Strategic Services, City of Ottawa

No, Mr. Mayor, the only other thing we’re doing is wherever we’re co-located with anyone, we are working with them on the wayfinding system, so that people can find washrooms and integrate it into their journey, and then at Bayview, we’re looking at long-term, if there’s an opportunity to build some washrooms in there with some other facilities that we have to build for operational reasons.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

And Bayview is the intersection between the LRT and the Confederation Line O Train.  So, thank you for that.  Thank you, Pattie, and I guess we’ll go to another caller, please, Patrick.

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Richard Everly (phon).  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Richard Everly (phon)

Yes, thank you.  The City is saying that they don’t have enough money to fix the infrastructure because people aren’t wisely are using water, which I think the City should continue encouraging.  So, I recommend that for people who make less than $20,000 keep increasing it by 6 percent, and those who make over $20,000, a sliding scale, start at a 20 percent increase.  That’s my question.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

It was a little hard to hear that, Richard.  Are you on a …

Richard Everly

I’m on the telephone.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Yes, no, I realize that, but is it a hands-free, because it’s cracking in and out …

Richard Everly

No, it’s not a hand-free.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, could you try that question again for us, please?

Richard Everly

Okay. The City is saying that they’re having problems with meeting their budget when it comes to water infrastructure, because the City is encouraging people to be more wise with water, which I think they should continuing doing.  For those who are making less than $20,000 a year, I think the City should continue increasing their water bill by 6 percent, but those who are making over $20,000 have a sliding scale starting at a 20 percent increase for their water bill.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay.  Richard, I’m going to ask the Treasurer, because it really is a money issue you’re asking about as opposed to the physical structure of the pipes, and our Treasurer has a response to your enquiry about a two-tiered system of charging for water.

Marian Simulik, City Treasurer, City of Ottawa

Thanks, Richard, for the question.  The problem with your suggestion is that we’d have to income test everybody in the City of Ottawa in order to determine which category you fell into, so the administration on that type of program would cost more than you’d probably be able to generate in terms of additional revenues.  So, we’re looking at, actually, a new structure that’s going to have—potentially going to have an increasing cost—so your first cubic metre of water is less than your hundredth cubic metre of water—and a fixed component, to make certain that we do raise sufficient revenues to maintain the infrastructure.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Great, thank you, Marian.  Again, if you are listening in, and we thank you for doing that, you can participate in this Tele-Town Hall meeting by dialing star, one at any time.  Appuyez sur étoile, un, pour enregistrer dans la file d’attente. And also contact us using #ottbudget, or send email to budget2016@ottawa.ca.  We have many calls in the queue, so we’ll go to another call right now, Patrick.

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Dale Harley.  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Dale Harley

Good evening, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Hello, Dale.

Dale Harley

How are you, sir?

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

I’m very well.  I’m not surprised you’ve called in, but we appreciate it.  You’re very consistent.

Dale Harley

Thank you.  Yes, I’d like to sort of make my question quite simple, and that is the Federation of Canadian Municipalities produces the Infrastructure Deficit Report.  I understand it’s being updated.  The previous report demonstrated that with respect to water and sewer the City of Ottawa was doing relatively well, but when it came to the road infrastructure, it was severely lagging behind other baseline municipalities across Canada.  Will the 2016 budget put an emphasis on closing this gap between how Ottawa roads are rated versus other Canadian municipalities?

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Great, well, thank you for that.  As you know, in the last of Term of Council, we did increase substantially the infrastructure budget for roads, sidewalks, culverts and bridges with the Ottawa on the Move plan that brought in over $400 million in investment.  The purpose of this exercise is to listen to the public.  We haven’t put pen to paper on the budget, so I can’t give you a definitive answer on how much it’s going to be, but there will be, obviously, a significant investment in our roads budget.  Particularly, we hear from the rural communities that they have don’t have ready access to transit, so that is their version of transit, but, obviously, we have a number of other capital projects.  Our single largest capital investment is the Light Rail Transit System, that is taking a lot of those dollars, and that’s why we’ve been working with the federal and provincial governments, to ensure that when we go forward with applications, Ottawa gets its fair share from the other levels of government to invest in basic infrastructure. 

So, I appreciate your feedback on that and I’m sure we’ll see you at many budget meetings over the course of the next several months, when we start those in September.

So, we’re going to go now to another call, because the calls are starting to back up a little bit.  So, Patrick, if you could give us another call, please?

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Kathryn Jamieson.  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Kathryn Jamieson

Good evening, Mayor Watson.  I’m the Chair of the Ottawa Museum Network, or OMN, and also the Curator Manager of the Goulboum Museum.  I’d just like to start by thanking you for your ongoing commitment to heritage and for making the 2017 Anniversary a priority.  I’m not here to ask for funding for the OMN, but, instead, for adequate funding for the Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture in Ottawa 2013 to 2018.  The plan was unanimously approved by City Council in 2012, and the OMN was one of many cultural organizations involved in its development.  We believe in and support the plan and agree that it should remain one of Council’s strategic priorities. 

We’re sort of looking at two things.  The first is to maintain the integrity of the plan and for an increase in funding at least equal to that originally approved; and secondly, we request that priority be on the first three areas of focus in the investment section of the plan—that’s renewed arts, heritage, festival and fair operating investment, community cultural facility capital fund, and cultural facility operating funding.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you very much, Kathryn, and I appreciate your comments with respect to the Museum Network.  I think it was a good partnership that was developed and, as you know, that funding continues to increase.  Just a point of clarification, there is a significant investment in the arts coming up in the next couple of years, most notably a close to $40 million investment in the Arts Court project, the Ottawa Art Gallery project, as well as La Nouvelle Scène on King Edward, which is over $1 million, and continued funding for other arts organizations.  So, there’s no question, again, the arts are an important aspect to our City’s quality of life, but we have to balance all of the needs, and we’ve heard—certainly, when the arts funding through strategic initiatives came to the committee, Community and Protective Services Committee, we heard from a number of people in the arts community that they’d like to see additional funding put into that, and that’s going to have to be put into the system and weighed against all the other pressing priorities that we have.  So, I appreciate your passion and your support for the arts strategy, thank you.

So, we’ve got a couple other tweets and email—well, many tweets and emails, one tweet from Simone Thibault, “Can we count on +++complete streets?  Missed an opportunity when City redid Ogilvie.  Make it so for #ottbudget,” and that is sent to Councillor Tim Tierney and myself.

As you know, we have a major complete street project underway on Main Street, and we did one, just completed last year, on Churchill Avenue, which has been well received, and certainly the desire of Council is to be more aggressive in adding complete streets, and each complete street is a little different depending on the neighbourhood, but, in essence, to make it complete and safe for pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles and transit.  So, we appreciate that and our staff here have taken note of your concern, and thank you for the tweet.

So, again, if you’re just joining the call, please dial star, one at any time to enter the queue.  Appuyez sur étoile, un, pour enregistrer dans la file d’attente.  And we’ll ask our Operator, Patrick, to put another call through, because we have several in the queue.

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Mo Romano (phon).  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Mo Romano

Mayor, are you there?

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Yes, I am.

Mo Romano

Okay.  Eight years ago, Sue Sherring submitted a column and quoted the City Manager as saying City Council has difficulty in assessing priorities.  That was at the time that they submitted 5 to 12 percent increases in the budget and they tried to pare it down.  Since Council is the final authority, there’s cause to be concerned, because there could be the possibility that Council would spend money on less necessary items and then hit us later on with fees for critical items, such as sewers, water, and, indeed, that’s happened, that we got an increase in water rates. 

My own experience in the federal public service and the airports was that the best way establish priorities is to trace the budget and familiarize ourselves with the activities that go on there.  So, I phoned Corporate Services and asked them whether they had a monthly variance report to compare actual expenditures to estimates, and they said no.  So, for six years, I’ve tried to convince the Council of this through several meetings, through several of those five-minute speeches that we used to give, and letters to all the mayors, starting with Mayor Chiarelli and including yourself.  In the last two years, I sent a hard copy to all 23 Councillors, including yourself, recommending that you second somebody to the Council, being responsible only to the Council, and prepare a summary and brief them once a month. 

This is not as difficult as it sounds, because I got an email during these years which said—from the City, saying that all Managers, all City Managers, once a month check their actual expenditures to their estimates.  So, the recommendation of suggesting that a consultant be seconded from Corporate Services to respond only to City Council would eventually familiarize with Councillors with where the money is going and be able to establish better priorities, and hopefully less taxes.  Not that I disagree with your 2 percent or 2.5 percent budget, that’s very good, and compared to what it was in the years before, is excellent; however, there’s no guarantee that the City Council is not spending money on less necessary items.  So, what I did suggest in the hard copy that I sent to all 23 Councillors was that at least to do a feasibility study to determine the cost benefits and any obstacles that you might run into (inaudible).  My question is what’s stopping you?  Why is there such a reluctance not to do this?

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you very much, Mo, and I appreciate your input.  Just a couple of quick things and I’ll ask Marian Simulik, the Treasurer, to follow up specifically with your question.

We do actually now—and we’re in the process of establishing our Council Term of Priorities, and that’s been ongoing for the last couple of weeks and members of the public have been coming and speaking at Committee on that.  The other thing that we instituted a couple of years ago, in my first budget, was that we disciplined ourselves by ensuring that any time someone came forward, a member of Council or myself came forward with a request to spend more money, they had to find a corresponding reduction, so that we didn’t go down that path that we’d gone down too many years before, where the tax increase is well above the rate of inflation.  So, we have done that.  We’ve also—as you know, we have an Auditor General who verifies the work that we’re working, but I’ll ask Marian Simulik, the Treasurer, to deal with your specific issue that you’ve raised.

Marian Simulik, City Treasurer, City of Ottawa

Thanks, Mo.  Council receives right now quarterly reports on the budget and, as you have indicated, management reviews monthly, and in some cases even bi-monthly reports on the budget’s status against it.  We’re looking at all kinds of ways to provide more information to Council, but we don’t want to basically flood them with information that’s difficult for them to retrieve, so we’re looking at various electronic methods to try to generate the reports, generate them quickly, and when we’re at that stage, then we’ll suggest to Council that if they want more reports, we’re more than willing to provide them.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you.  We have another—I’m sorry, this is an email now en français.  It is de Centretown CHC, (inaudible). Est-ce que le maire Watson est prêt à investir dans l’infrastructure sociale afin d’assurer une communauté inclusive?

La réponse est oui, parce que pendant le dernier mandat du conseil municipal, on a ajouté 14 millions de dollars pour le budget de logements abordables et ce conseil a accepté ma recommandation d’ajouter un autre 2 millions de dollars.  Et peut-être Dr Aaron Burry, qui est responsable pour les services sociaux, va répondre aussi.

Dr. Aaron Burry, General Manager, Community and Social Services, City of Ottawa

Bien c’est-à-dire qu’on continue avec des investissements dans ce secteur.  En plus, on a avait eu une augmentation sûrement dans le logement en général, mais en plus, dans les services de garde.  On a eu beaucoup d’investissements qui viennent des autres niveaux de gouvernement, et ça nous permet de faire des ajustements de services sociaux, en général.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

D’accord.  Merci.  Again, to remind you, you’re listening to the Tele-Town Hall.  My name is Jim Watson, the Mayor of Ottawa, and I have senior City staff with us here today to receive your feedback.  If you’d like to ask a question or simply give us an opinion, or if you have ways that you think we can save money or invest differently, please dial star, one at any time to enter the queue, and we’ll go back to phone calls.  Patrick, if you could put another call through, please?

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Bob Brocklebank.  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Bob Brocklebank

Thank you very much.  Thank you for tonight, and also for last night’s very good presentation.  My question is about user pay.  Has the City considered ever establishing a corporate structure, corporations, perhaps, which would make it clearer to the citizens of Ottawa how user pay is working?

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Could you be a little more specific, Bob?

Bob Brocklebank

Well, what I meant was, for example, if we had a corporation that was responsible for garbage collection, then our $86, or whatever it is that’s on our property tax, and I know it’s another figure for people who live in multi-unit buildings, we would then see the revenue for garbage collection and the cost of garbage collection compared one to the other in a corporate a statement, which would make it clear in people’s minds that that is what this fee is for and that is how it’s being spent.  The same thing might be for running parking garages or parking lots, the same idea, that this is the revenue, if you had a parking corporation.  I think Toronto has a parking corporation, for example.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

So, thank you, Bob, and thank you for coming last night, as well, to the Budget Primer.  I’ll ask the Treasurer to comment.  I would be a little reluctant to start setting up too many corporations and creating these small empires and the costs that go with them, but I’ll ask the Treasurer to see if she has comment.

Marian Simulik, City Treasurer, City of Ottawa

Hi, Bob.  While the idea probably is worthy for some aspects of what we do, in a lot of areas you basically are going out and you’re going out to tender, for example, garbage collection, and you basically want to keep that within the City.  All the revenue related to those particular areas, in parking, for example, and garbage, are actually identified in the budgets for those areas.  We don’t put those in a non-departmental account.  So, if you open up the budget page for parking, you will actually see the parking revenue coming in, offsetting the costs, and the same in the garbage area.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you very much.  So, we’ll keep going.  Again, to remind you to dial star, one to participate in the conversation; appuyez sur étoile, un.  Patrick, if you could put another call through, please?

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Maureen Gauthier.  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Maureen Gauthier

Hello, again, Mayor Watson.  I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that I could talk a little bit more, so I am calling again about Shawenjeagamik Aboriginal Drop-In Centre, and I understood the response that I received and I know all about the history of the Homeless Partnering Strategy, but the City is telling me that the federal government changed the funding, and when I spoke with Pierre Poilievre, he said that it was a City decision.  I’m really proud to live in the City of Ottawa.  I know that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report was just released, and I know, Mayor Watson, you were there at the end of the march and gave a wonderful speech.  I just feel compelled to call to speak for people that perhaps don’t have a voice, so that’s why I had to call back again.

I’m thinking that our City, now that we know the truth from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the damage that we did to the aboriginal people, the First Nations, the Inuit and the Métis, the Aboriginal Centre was (inaudible) for those people, they are in healing, and I understand the Homeless Partnering Strategy, everybody deserves a home, but that specific group of individuals needs healing, emotional and spiritual, first, and I think that, as a compassionate city that I know we are, we need to reinvestigate the funding cut that happened there.  I think it would be a very kind gift and the start of reconciliation if we, as a city, could come together and reinitiate that funding.  I get the politics, I get that the money has to come from somewhere, but there are 900,000 people in Ottawa, if not a bit more, and $0.50 per person would cover their budget of $400,000. 

It’s just coming from my heart, that I want to speak up for these people that have stigmas attached.  They are homeless, they might have an addiction or a mental health issue, and their aboriginal, three stigmas against them.  I think our city could step up to the plate and be an example for the world about how well we take care of our aboriginal people.  It’s not about dollars and cents, it’s about people who matter, and I think we need to say sorry, and I want the City Council to make me proud and make this country proud …

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay.

Maureen Gauthier

… and put the money back on the table for that, the Shawenjeagamik Aboriginal Drop-In Centre, 510 Rideau.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Yes, we know where it is, and I’m going to ask Aaron Burry to once again to address your concern.  With respect to your conversation with Mr. Poilievre, I would encourage you to ask him to increase the funding, because the funding has been flat-lined or frozen for years, and it was the federal government, in fact, that wanted us to adopt more of a Housing First policy as opposed to some of the stop-gap measures, which are drop-in centres, and Council did make that decision.  These decisions are difficult, they’re not done easily, but we have a housing policy at the City of Ottawa that we’re trying to get as many people off the streets into affordable housing, as opposed to simply operating drop-ins, which, by the way, are funded entirely by the federal government, the drop-ins for aboriginals, if I’m not mistaken.  So, I’ll ask Aaron Burry to comment further.

Dr. Aaron Burry, General Manager, Community and Social Services, City of Ottawa

Yes, Mayor, essentially, that’s correct, and the money was re-tendered.  All agencies, including Odawa, had the opportunity to bid on that money.  I can tell you that we did not receive any applications for funding for drop-in centres with respect to that money that went out, and we funded those that provided the best service, including many of our aboriginal agencies that are located here.  The majority of drop-in centres and other services for aboriginals are funded directly by the federal government and, actually, the City doesn’t get any of those reports or actually understand what that funding is.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you.  We have another twitter question/comment.  “Please include dollars for action on #climatechange in #ottbudget and not just because Dutch court says governments must act,” and that’s from Liz Bernstein.  So, I’m going to ask Dixon Weir, who is General Manager responsible for Environmental Services.  We just approved a strategic plan that includes a number of funds and projects dealing with climate change.  Just as a point of information for people on the line, the single largest project we have to reduce greenhouse gas is, of course, is our Light Rail Transit System, which is coming on stream in 2018.  So, Dixon, if you could grab that microphone there and give us a quick summary of some of the climate change initiatives that were just approved by Council through the strategic initiatives process.

Dixon Weir, General Manager, Environmental Services, City of Ottawa

Thank you, Mayor, and thank you for your question.  As the Mayor has pointed out, there are a number of initiatives that are included within the Council’s Term of Council Priorities that make very significant contributions.  The Mayor has already touched upon the most significant one, which is of course the Light Rail project, but there are a number of projects, including energy management and investment strategy, the increase of forest cover initiative, we’ve got the water environment strategy that is contributing, the Stormwater Retrofit, and we’ve talked earlier about the Transportation Master Plan Cycling and Pedestrian project.  So, there are a number of projects that in and of themselves are making very important contributions to the City’s air quality and climate change, and beyond that, there are funds that are within the air quality and climate change each year to help directly with that action plan.  So, the City has tremendous investments in this and will continue to do so, with the approval of the Term of Council Priorities.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Great, thank you, Dixon.  So, we also are accepting questions on all sorts of social media, including Twitter and email and Facebook.  Warren Foster asked on Facebook, “What’s being done to address the speeders in neighbourhoods?”  This is an issue that is of concern, I hear, in every neighbourhood.  Kevin Wylie is the General Manager of Public Works, so I’m going to ask him to comment on what can be done and what we are doing on speeding in neighbourhood streets.

Kevin Wylie, General Manager, Public Works, City of Ottawa

Well, thanks for your question, Warren.  Right now, neighbourhoods and residential streets can apply, via the permit process, to get the speed of the street reduced to 40 kilometres, but beyond that, we do have a new strategic initiative that is in this Term of Council and it’ll be allotting a certain amount of money per ward, and it’ll be for actually temporary or a fairly quick to implement speeding control, such as speed boards, we’ll be putting up speed boards, we’ll be putting in delineators down the street to slow down the cars, and also pavement markings, as well, just to try and reduce the speed on local streets.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, so, thank you for that.  For the benefit of people listening, if that is approved by Council on July 8th, that fund per ward, you can contact your Councillor to start the dialogue on what is best for your particular street.

So, we’re going to go back to the calls.  Again, if you’d like to speak, please dial star, one.  You can contact us by Twitter using #ottbudget; Twitter en utilisant le mot #ottbudget et aussi par un courriel à budget2016@ottawa.ca.  So, Patrick, if you could put another call through, please?

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Richard Everly.  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Richard Everly

Yes, thank you.  What incentives—or would the City be okay with retailers encouraging customers to come back to the stores by taking back their packaging material for recycling by deposit system, or some kind of method of getting customers to come back to the store.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Richard, are you talking about a deposit fee on plastic bags?

Richard Everly

Anything that comes out of the retail stores, to get customers to bring back their recycling material for recycling, packaging material for recycling.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Yeah, I don’t think, legally, we would have the authority to force a retailer to do that, but I don’t know if Dixon or anyone can offer that.  I know in Toronto they had that issue with the five-cent bag and it was going to go into a fund.  I know many stores now do charge that fee.  I don’t think they’re giving it back, necessarily, to environmental projects.  But, Dixon, would we have any authority under the Municipal Act to require people to bring—or retailers to bring back packages and packaged goods, and so on, wrappings?

Dixon Weir, General Manager, Environmental Services, City of Ottawa

Mayor, no—in answer to Richard’s questions, no, I don’t think we would have that authority to be able to impose that, but I would remind Richard that there are an awful lot of opportunities already to recycle and return goods either through the City’s own collection programs, through the blue and black box, or there are a number of other programs that exist with electronics and things like that, with our Take-It-Back program, so there are opportunities, and we really do encourage residents to take advantage of those opportunities, so that we can reduce the amount of waste that is being collected.  To date, I think we’ve seen some very significant increases in diversion, to the extent that now we’re up over 50 percent with our curbside collection, and that’s very significant growth over the last Term of Council.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you very much, Dixon.  Perhaps I could call on Dan Chenier, who’s in charge of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.  One of the questions that I’ve been asked a number of times in the last several months is how the City decides which park or playground receives funding for new play structures, and perhaps you can give us a quick answer in English.

Et aussi en français, une question pour Dan Chénier, qui est responsable pour le service  des parcs, des loisirs et de la culture. Les personnes qui nous appellent aimeraient peut-être savoir s’il y a des projets de construction de piscine, d’aréna ou de centre récréatif.

Dan Chenier, General Manager, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, City of Ottawa

Thank you, Mayor, thank you for the question.  The City decides on its approach to renovating and improving local parks by working with local communities to do a couple of things.  One is to assess the local need in terms of that community, its recent demographics and how that’s changing, and we’re seeing the renewal of parks that have seen a significant change in the type of equipment that we put into it as neighbourhoods age and then become young again.  We also look at opportunities for partnerships with communities, and the City has a very popular program of matching dollars when communities get involved in fund raising, and we’ve done quite a bit of work in terms of that.

Notre approche à développer les parcs à travers la Ville est une collaboration avec la communauté, de regarder la démographie de la communauté, des opportunités de faire des partenariats avec les groupes locaux, afin de maximiser le nombre d’infrastructures qu’on peut changer chaque année.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you very much, Dan.  So, we have callers still in the queue, so we’ll go back to those, Patrick, if you could put another caller through, please, and if anyone wants to call in, it’s star, one.  We’re going to close the lines at approximately eight o’clock, but we still have time to get as many calls as in as possible.

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Chris Bradshaw.  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Chris Bradshaw

Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for this opportunity, and I think it’s very well timed, to be much earlier in the process than the thorough workshops and open houses that have been held very late in the process, when there’s really very left that one can juggle with, and I appreciate you doing this early.  I’d just like to bring up the issue of a great number of—or increase in the population of older Ottawans.  The City has—and great credit goes to you for the Older Adult Plan, and we’re getting a number of programs, add a little bit, and spend approximately $0.5 million per year.  I’m concerned that this may not be enough to accommodate this sector of the population, who I believe, with their smaller footprint but still paying fairly high property taxes, probably it could be justified that we contribute more service.  I think the City has four senior centres across 900,000, and there’s a group of us that are doing older adult housing design work project for—it’ll occur, hopefully, in Ottawa East, on Main Street, which is of course under construction now.  I just wanted to say that there’s a lot that I think—still more that could be done to rev up the senior population to do a lot of innovative work themselves to accommodate this great influx, and I just wondered if you had any thoughts as to whether more can be done.

Also, in general, before you end this evening, I hope you can give the listeners a bit of an idea as to whether you’ve heard something tonight that might, in fact, influence some of the decisions you and the people in your office will be making in the 2016 budget process.  Thank you.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Great, thanks you very much, Chris, and I appreciate the feedback on the Older Adult Plan.  We’re proud of that initiative.  It started with our Senior Summit and staff and community came together.  Just to clarify, the $500,000 is in the base budget and those projects, some of them are more permanent, some of them are capital funds, such as increased number of benches around seniors’ homes, and some will be instituted through new initiatives as a result of the Seniors Roundtable.  So, if you have some specific ideas, I would encourage you to call your City Councillor and they can liaise with the staff that have been responsible for putting in the Older Adult Plan.

The reason I’m quite keen on this, obviously, is that the aging demographic in our society, the baby-boom generation, you know, those of us born between 1947 and 1961, are quickly becoming senior citizens and we have to start planning really much more aggressively, everything from Para Transpo to recreation programs, and the like, to make sure that we have the necessary infrastructure in place, like long-term care beds, and so on, for an aging population.  So, if you do have any suggestions or idea with respect to those dollars, the Seniors Roundtable is the group that keeps our feet to fire to make sure that we’re living up to the expectations of the seniors.  So, I’d appreciate that very much.

Just a reminder, if you’d like to ask a question or give us a comment, please dial star, one at any time and you’ll enter the queue at that point, and also, not just stopping, obviously, tonight at eight o’clock, but the Twitter #ottbudget and budget2016@ottawa.ca is open now and available, and all of these suggestions and ideas are continuously fed into the Treasurer’s office, and I receive them, as well, so we thank you for that input.

So, if we could go to another caller, please, Patrick?

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Mike O’Neill.  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Mike O’Neill

Hi there, Mayor Watson.  It’s Mike O’Neil from Manotick.  I’m just calling about the arena or community centre expansion project and the importance of it to the Manotick community.  The arena was built in 1974, as you well know, and we really haven’t had anything done to it, other than adding a nursery school to the outside of the building, since that time.  The importance of this project is not only related to hockey, but it’s also related to youth and seniors.  We have both the Youth of Manotick Association and the Rural Ottawa South Senior Services on our side now, and they’re working with us, along with local service clubs and the BIA.   In six months, we have pledges in excess of $180,000 towards this project, so the community is behind it, and we would like to know that Council will support what our Councillor has been pushing for the better part of two or three years now, Scott Moffatt.  Thank you.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Yeah, thanks, Mike, for that.  I’ve certainly seen the wonderful work that’s been done.  I was out at Dickenson Days and the booth with the Youth of Manotick, and as you may know, as a result of Scott’s insistence, that was one of the projects that we put forward for the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program that the Prime Minister announced, and it was, I believe, a total of $2 million, $1 million would come from the City and $1 million from the federal government, and that was a list that was approved unanimously by our City Council.  Now, we don’t expect every project, obviously, to get funding, but certainly I’m well aware of that project and I appreciate the fund-raising that the community has done, and the need for more space for both youth and seniors in the Manotick area.  I think I’m telling you something you already know, but that list has been sent in.  I, in fact, met with Minister Poilievre and gave him another copy of the list, so he knew where the City’s priorities were, and, obviously, I’m assuming you’re going to be contacting him, as your MP, to encourage him to support the project at the same time, because you need both the City and the federal government’s concurrence.  So, thank you for the work you’re doing on that.

So, I think we’re coming in close to the end of the evening, but we’ll try to get through as many calls as possible.  If the next caller could go through, that would be great.  Thank you.

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Steve Beecham (phone).  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Steve Beecham

Hi, Mayor.  Thank you for this opportunity.  I was wondering if you can give a number that the City spends on homelessness and supporting people in that type of situation.  I know I’ve heard numbers in other situations, like we’re spending $26 million on bike lanes, or something like that.  When it comes to homelessness, I’ve only heard that it’s tied in with development and it’s always confusing to find out an exact number, especially when we see places like 510 Rideau Street got shut down.  Can you speak to funding in the past or give us a solid number on what the City’s spending for the most vulnerable?  Thank you.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Thank you very much.  I’ll ask Aaron Burry.  I believe it’s about $24 million that is being spent.  That wouldn’t include, obviously, ODSP and Ontario Works, and so on.  Most of that is funded by the provincial government, although the City still pays a portion of that.  So, the total funding, Aaron, in terms of helping those vulnerable in our community?

Dr. Aaron Burry, General Manager, Community and Social Services, City of Ottawa

The total funding all vulnerable in the community would be around $120 million.  For those without a specific home, who are using a shelter system, we would spend approximately $24 million annually.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Okay, thank you very much.  So, I think we’re going to take one last call, and, Patrick, if you could put through that last call for us, please?  For those who haven’t been able to get through, I think we’ve left two people on the line, I apologize, but thank you very much for your calls and hope you don’t hang up until you hear this last question.  Go ahead.

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The next question is from... la prochaine question est de Joan Kuyek.  Please go ahead.  La parole est à vous.

Joan Kuyek

Hello, Mayor Watson, and thank you for doing this.  As you know, I chair the GottaGo! campaign, and I’d like to ask you about the possibilities of getting toilets in the LRT stations at, at least, Bayview and Hurdman in the 2016 budget?  I know things are tight and I understand that there’s some kind of Amendment C with the RTG Group for the contract, but it would certainly be a lot cheaper to put them in now than to have to put them in retroactively later.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Yeah, thanks very much, Joan, for your comment.  As you know, I think you may have heard in an earlier answer that we do actually have washroom facilities at the starting and finishing points of the LRT, plus there are, at my last count, I think seven or eight stations that are going to have incorporated washroom facilities with wayfinding signs that John Manconi spoke about, but as it stands now, there are not plans to put washroom facilities in every station.  It’s very expensive.  There’s the capital costs, the operating, the security costs, and so on.  One of the things our IT Sub-Committee dealt with, I believe, today, was also discussing the issue of developing an app where public washroom facilities are available, to make it easier for people.  I know that you and others have brought this up before, but there does not seem to be the support around the Council table to spend what would be a significant amount of new dollars, and these were not included in the original contract with RTG for Light Rail, so I don’t know if John Manconi has anything else to add on that.  I think our City Manager does, Kent Kirkpatrick.

Kent Kirkpatrick, City Manager, City of Ottawa

Thank you, Joan.  In addition to what Mayor Watson said, and I think John Manconi earlier talked about, how we are looking to see what might be possible at Bayview, Hurdman is also a high-volume station, and one other thing we’re looking at—a primary concern, in addition to the budget, as the Mayor indicated, is security and the zone of security influence.  The City of Calgary is looking at an initiative where they are able to construct low-cost facilities at the exterior of the station, outside of that security zone that is a concern.  In fact, I’m going to speaking with representatives of the City early next month about a number of initiatives that they’ve got going in Calgary, including that one.

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Well, thank you very much.  I’d like to close off the session by thanking the callers for your input, and I also thank our staff members who are here.  J’aimerais réserver nos résidents, l’ensemble des personnes.  And I also want to remind people that this session will be posted on ottawa.ca as soon as it is available.  Our staff have taken notes of the questions and ideas raised, and feedback, and we will ensure that they are fed into the budget process.

Just to remind you, this is only the beginning of the process.  Please feel free to send us your budget ideas at budget2016@ottawa.ca, or as I’ve mentioned, Twitter using the #ottbudget.  Alors si vous avez d’autres idées que vous aimeriez partager avec nous au sujet du Budget 2016 de la Ville d’Ottawa, n’hésitez pas à les transmettre à budget2016@ottawa.ca.

It’s been a pleasure.  This is, as I said, the first of its kind and we certainly welcome your feedback on what you thought of the format.  I think we’ve only left one or two phone calls in the queue.  So, I very much appreciate it.  We’re always looking for ideas on how to save money and how to invest money, and trying to find that balance to meet the needs of our growing city.  So, thank you all very much and have a good evening.  Merci.

Operator

Thank you.  Merci.  The conference has now ended.  La conférence est maintenant terminée.  Please disconnect your lines at this time.  Veuillez s’il vous plaît raccrocher votre ligne.  Thank you for your participation.  Merci à tous les participants qui se sont joints.

Adopted Budget 2016

The City's budget is organized by standing committees, external boards, agencies and commissions.

Want to know more about which City services fall under which committee?

Take a look at a breakdown of Standing Committees, Boards, and Commissions by services.

2016 Operating and Capital Budget - Tax and Rate Supported Programs

Corporate Budget Summaries

Adopted Budget 2016 Accessible Format

Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
Development Review Rural ServicesTextSpreadsheet

Audit Committee

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
Office of the Auditor GeneralTextSpreadsheet

Community and Protective Services Committee

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
CPSC Summaries Spreadsheet

Emergency & Protective Services

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
EPS Summaries Spreadsheet
General Manager's Office Spreadsheet
Security and Emergency ManagementTextSpreadsheet
Fire ServicesTextSpreadsheet
Paramedic ServiceTextSpreadsheet
By-Law & Regulatory ServicesTextSpreadsheet

Community & Social Services

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
CSS SummariesTextSpreadsheet
General Manager's Office Spreadsheet
Social Services Spreadsheet
Child Care Services Spreadsheet
Long Term Care Spreadsheet
Housing Services Spreadsheet
Strategic Community Initiatives Spreadsheet
Community Funding Spreadsheet

Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
Parks, Recreation and Cultural ServicesTextSpreadsheet

Parks, Buildings & Grounds

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
Parks, Buildings & GroundsTextSpreadsheet

Environment Committee - Tax Supported

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
EC Summaries Spreadsheet
Infrastructure ServicesTextSpreadsheet
Environmental Policy & ProgramsTextSpreadsheet
Solid Waste ServicesTextSpreadsheet
Forestry ServicesTextSpreadsheet

Environment Committee - Rate Supported

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
EC Summaries Spreadsheet
Drinking waterTextSpreadsheet
SanitaryTextSpreadsheet
StormTextSpreadsheet

Finance and Economic Development Committee

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
FEDC Summaries Spreadsheet
Elected OfficialsTextSpreadsheet
City Manager's OfficeTextSpreadsheet
Corporate Programs & Business ServicesTextSpreadsheet
Real Estate Partnerships and Development OfficeTextSpreadsheet
FinanceTextSpreadsheet
City Clerk & SolicitorTextSpreadsheet
Deputy City Manager's Office, City OperationsTextSpreadsheet
Service OttawaTextSpreadsheet
Human ResourcesTextSpreadsheet
Information Technology ServicesTextSpreadsheet
Corporate Communications DepartmentTextSpreadsheet
Deputy City Manager's Office, Planning & InfrastructureTextSpreadsheet
Economic Development and InnovationTextSpreadsheet
Rail ImplementationTextSpreadsheet
Non DepartmentalTextSpreadsheet

Planning Committee

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
PC Summaries Spreadsheet
Planning & Growth ManagementTextSpreadsheet
Building Code Services - Ontario Building CodeTextSpreadsheet
Affordable HousingTextSpreadsheet

Transportation Committee

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
TC SummariesTextSpreadsheet
Public Works General Manager's Office Spreadsheet
Business Services Branch Spreadsheet
Traffic Management and Operational Support Spreadsheet
Roads & Traffic Maintenance Spreadsheet
Parking Operations Spreadsheet
Fleet Services Spreadsheet
Transportation PlanningTextSpreadsheet

External Boards, Agencies and Commissions

CategoryBriefing NoteBudget
Crime Prevention Spreadsheet
Committee of Adjustment Spreadsheet
Ottawa Public LibraryTextSpreadsheet
Ottawa Police Service Spreadsheet
Ottawa Public HealthTextSpreadsheet
Transit CommissionTextSpreadsheet

Capital Budget Summaries

Capital Budget Summary 2016