Draft Budget 2018 tabled today at City Council charts a balanced, affordable and progressive future for Ottawa. For the fifth year in a row, the proposed increase in City of Ottawa property taxes is at two per cent or less.
“We are presenting a balanced financial plan for Ottawa that creates an affordable and progressive city that supports residents in need,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Our goal in the Draft Budget is to create a financial plan to safeguard the quality of life of our residents and the strength of our neighbourhoods. We are also working to build a prosperous Ottawa that is safe, secure and environmentally sustainable.”
“We are happy to have achieved a balanced draft budget proposal that promotes fiscal sustainability and enhances City services for residents,” said City Manager Steve Kanellakos. “I look forward to hearing from the public and discussing the Draft Budget at our Standing Committees and City Council.”
Draft Budget 2018 takes a balanced approach, with emphasis on affordability and progressive growth, as well as neighbourhood security, quality of life and environmental sustainability.
The City will continue to take a prudent yet innovative approach to finances. The year 2018 will see the City of Ottawa’s first green municipal bond issuance in Canada, making $102 million in capital available for construction of the City’s O-Train light-rail system. This issuance was only possible thanks to the recognition from green investors of the significant environmental benefits that will be achieved with light rail.
The draft budget caps the residential property tax at two per cent, the transit levy at 2.5 per cent and a slight annual increase of $2 for the garbage fee. This amounts to approximately $76 per year for an urban home assessed at $404,000 and $62 per year for a rural home assessed at the same amount.
Draft Budget 2018 will enhance quality of life and security in Ottawa by investing in core services through the recruitment of 14 additional paramedics, 25 new police officers and 10 adult school crossing guards.
The draft budget includes more than $125 million in capital funding to support the renewal of existing City assets including buildings, roads, bridges, cycling connections and sidewalks, an increase of $10.5 million.
The budget increases spending for pothole repairs by $600,000, bringing the total spent on asphalt repairs to $8 million. Road resurfacing spending increases by 17 per cent, or $5.6 million, reaching $39.2 million for the year.
Draft Budget 2018 includes $68.3 million for winter operations, an increase of $2.3 million, and the expansion of the winter-maintained cycling network adding Main Street and O’Connor Street cycling lanes. As well, $1.9 million is budgeted to improve and maintain public parking facilities in the central area.
Public transit investments for 2018 include funding to continue operations of expanded transit service for growing areas of the City using the 17 new buses purchased in 2017 and $9.8 million in additional funding. The Draft Budget includes the replacement of 80 OC Transpo buses that have reached the end of their life-cycle, refurbishment of 85 more buses and $8.9 million for road and signal projects to improve transit speed and reliability, as well as $2.6 million to improve transit stops and stations.
OC Transpo will introduce a new EquiFare, a single-ride fare for low-income residents in 2018, complementing the EquiPass discounted monthly pass started in 2017.The new EquiFare will reduce bus fares by 50 per cent for low-income residents.
Draft Budget 2018 increases investments in affordable housing and programs to address homelessness and for social services providers, including:
- Increase in base funding for non-profit social service providers who receive Community Funding to a total $23.1 million
- 3 per cent increase for the Housing agencies for a total of $26.3 million
- Up to $30 million over three years, for the Homes for Good Initiative, funded by the provincial government to provide housing assistance and supports to achieve and maintain housing stability
- $47 million for a multi-year social housing retrofits program, with funding from federal and provincial governments
Draft Budget 2018 also includes additional funding from other levels of government, with $2.9 million for Early Years programming and approximately $7.3 million for increased access to affordable child care.
Draft Budget 2018 includes projects to improve the City’s sustainability, such as a $1 million project to reduce energy consumption at City facilities and $500,000 to improve the City’s green vehicle fleet initiatives.
Draft Budget 2018 includes an inflationary increase of 3 per cent to fund cultural agencies, which increases the annual investment to $11.3 million. Community recreation groups and outdoor rink operators will also receive a 3 per cent funding increase. An additional $150,000 will be dedicated to the Momentum Fund, bringing the annual investment to $300,000. The Ottawa Music Strategy will receive $100,000.
Public engagement and feedback are important elements in the budget process, helping the Mayor and Council guide and direct the investment of public funds. As part of the pre-budget consultation process, Councillors conducted information sessions from September to October – providing information on the municipal budget process to residents and gathering views on priorities for this budget.
Following today’s tabling of the various documents that comprise the Draft Operating and Capital Budget, the proposed spending plan will be considered by all relevant Committees, then by full City Council on Wednesday, December 13.
- Register as a public delegation at a committee, board or commission budget review meeting.
Members of the public can make a five-minute presentation at meetings taking place between November 8 December 7. A list of upcoming meetings is available at ottawa.ca/budget.
- Contact your City Councillor
The public can still contact Councillors directly to express their views about Draft Budget 2018.
Tweet @ottawacity using hashtag #ottbudget
Call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). Rural residents call 613-580-2400.