An affordable approach for responsible growth, mobility and housing
Ottawa passed a major population milestone in 2019 – reaching the one-million mark. Our residents live in dozens of communities that spread across a large geographic area. Ottawa has more than 1,000 working farms within its borders – and is the largest rural municipality of Canada’s big cities.
But as our city continues to grow, so too does the challenge of keeping Ottawa affordable for those who live and work here. The way we connect communities and keep residents moving plays a big part of this year’s budget, with significant investments in transportation infrastructure: roads, bridges, culverts and active transportation projects like cycling lanes and sidewalks.
The draft 2020 Budget includes a $7.5-million investment in transit, with major bus service enhancements. The City will also spend $817 million in 2020 on Stage 2, to extend our newly opened light-rail transit system even farther east, west and south.
The City is also devoting more funds to repaving and road safety projects to keep our city moving. Investing in both transit and transportation together does far more than simply ease traffic congestion. It connects us with one another and with the businesses and services we use each day, helping create jobs and foster a stronger economy and a higher quality of life for all.
The draft 2020 Budget finds balance by limiting the burden on taxpayers while maintaining the standard of service residents have come to rely on from their City. Homeowners will see that property tax increases have been capped at three per cent.
But it’s important to remember that affordable doesn’t mean the same thing to all residents. This year’s budget also builds on considerable past investments for Ottawa’s residents who are most in need, for instance with $15 million in new funds for affordable housing. Added support for community agencies is also included, along with continued support for long-term care and our older adult plan. Communities are stronger when everyone has a safe place to call home and share in a good quality of life.
The City continues to rely on prudent financial planning at a time of financial uncertainty from upper levels of government and volitivity in global markets. We have worked hard to ensure that the draft 2020 Budget is respectful of each dollar contributed by taxpayers, reinvesting those revenues back into our shared infrastructure and the countless services we provide to residents.
We remain committed to building a strong and vibrant Ottawa for the future.
Highlights of Draft Budget 2020 include:
A Caring City
- Draft Budget 2020 adds $15 million to the City’s affordable housing investment – repeating last-year’s record as the largest in the City’s history.
- A $31 million investment will maintain funding for local agencies to offer housing and homelessness supports and services.
- Community Funding of $24.5 million for non-profit social services providers will help them deliver valuable services to residents facing the greatest needs. The budget also commits an additional $500,000 one-time funding to support agencies as the City transitions to a new funding framework.
- To protect the health and wellbeing of residents, the budget proposes 30 additional police officers and 14 additional paramedic staff.
- A promise of $4.4 million will help the City to provide quality and professional services for residents in the City’s long-term care facilities.
- Funding of $2 million will be put towards building a new fire station in Kanata North and will add to the $1.8 million flagged for upgrades and repairs to other Ottawa Fire Services facilities across the city.
- The budget includes $100,000 per ward, to be used at the discretion of the Ward Councillor, to enhance recreation or park facilities. Councillors would also guide spending on $50,000 of traffic-calming projects for each ward.
- The budget includes $7.5 million for bus transit improvements, to enhance connectivity with light-rail stations, improve reliability, reduce wait times and expand service into growth areas. The City also earmarked $43 million to replace old buses and $9.6 million to support the EquiPass transit pass for lower-income residents.
- The cost of the EquiPass for low-income residents and the Community Pass for Ontario Disability Support Program recipients will be frozen at 2019 rates for a year.
- Draft Budget 2020 increases direct funding to Ottawa’s arts, heritage and cultural organizations by $255,000, for a total budget of $10.7 million
- The City’s theatre and cultural arts will see an increase of $584,000 to upgrade equipment and systems at Shenkman Arts Centre and Meridian Theatre, and to repair and maintain other cultural facilities and museums.
A Prosperous City
- Stage 2 funding for 2020, estimated at $817 million, will help extend Ottawa’s light-rail transit system east, west and south, adding 44 kilometres and 24 new stations.
- Infrastructure renewal makes up 75 per cent of the City’s capital budget, including a $51 million budget for road resurfacing. This includes rural-road upgrades and road-surface preservation treatments, and represents a significant increase from the yearly average of $35.5 million spent during the previous Term of Council.
- The City is increasing its pothole repair budget by seven per cent, bringing the annual investment to $9.8 million.
- A $49-million renewal project for Montreal Road will contribute to greater mobility for all road users by rejuvenating the historic core area of the Vanier community.
- The City will invest $49.3 million to renew additional City infrastructure, including $11 million to repair and improve sewers, $2 million to renew guiderails, $11.6 million to improve and rehabilitate water distribution systems and watermain infrastructure, and $1.5 million to rehabilitate stormwater management infrastructure
- An investment of $4 million for the Wet Weather Infrastructure Master Plan will develop programs that manage the capacity of the sewer systems and reduce both risk of property flooding and impacts related to combined sewer overflows.
- The $78.3-million winter operations budget for 2020 represents a $5.6-million increase over 2019 to maintain our 6,000 kilometres of roadway along with Ottawa’s sidewalks, pathways and parking lots.
A Sustainable City
- The City is investing $17.5 million to rehabilitate the City’s wastewater treatment plant, the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre (ROPEC).
- To maintain our high drinking-water standards, $11.3 million is being invested to upgrade equipment at the Lemieux Island and Britannia water purification plants.
- Draft Budget 2020 includes $6 million to introduce electric buses into the OC Transpo fleet – another step toward environment protection.
- The City will plant about 125,000 trees, investing $1.5 million this year as part of a larger strategy to regenerate forest cover across rural, suburban and urban Ottawa by planting 500,000 trees during this Term of Council.
- Draft Budget 2020 includes capital funding to complete a barrier between contaminants and the ground (a $22-million, multi-year project) and another $1 million for a permanent methane gas-collection system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- A $3-million investment in our Energy Management and Investment Strategy will help reduce the City’s environmental footprint and enhance Ottawa reputation as a leader in energy conservation and demand management.
- The budget also includes $3 million to rehabilitate water pumping stations and $2 million to assess conditions in our wastewater collection system. A further $500,000 investment for engineering and construction of municipal drains would be recovered from landowners within the watershed once work is completed.
An Affordable City
- The draft budget assumes a 1.5-per-cent increase in property assessment growth and caps the residential property-tax increase at three per cent. This includes a 6.4-per-cent transit levy that will add $9.8 million to capital, offsetting a cancelled provincial gas tax increase.
- Draft Budget 2020 includes a $22.5-million increase over 2019 commitments to renew and maintain infrastructure assets like roads, sidewalks and facilities. That increase would allow the City to close the infrastructure gap – the difference between what the City spends and what it needs to spend annually to maintain infrastructure in good repair – in seven years, rather than 10 years.
- The police budget would increase by three per cent and would also include an additional $2.4 million in one-time funding from the City’s tax stabilization fund.
- The City expects to generate $1.3 million in additional revenues in 2020. That increase from $450,000 last year, will further help cover Ottawa Police Service operational costs. In 2019, six red-light cameras were installed and by the end of 2020 another 14 locations will be equipped with red-light cameras.
- This budget limits the proposed transit-fare increase to 2.5 per cent.
- The proposed tax increase, including the transit levy and a three-per-cent levy for police, amounts to $109 for an average urban home.
- The rate-supported budget estimates 2020 rate increases will generate an extra $16.5 million in revenues from water, wastewater and stormwater services, with $4 million going to maintain existing programs and service, $12.4 million to infrastructure and the balance going to growth.
2020 Operating Budget
2020 Capital Budget