The City’s Community and Protective Services Committee today considered its portions of the draft operating and capital budgets for 2019.
The draft budget allocates $589.7 million to community and protective services. Along with funding from the federal and provincial governments, and revenue from fees and services, this would bring total operating funding up to $1.4 billion. This includes funding for 14 staff for the Ottawa Paramedic Service and two emergency response vehicles plus related equipment to maintain Council-approved response times to increasing call volumes.
In response to feedback from stakeholder engagement and last year’s third-party review of the City’s long-term care homes, the proposed budget would add 46 staff to and to support resident safety, care and quality of life in the homes. The City would also invest $1.4 million in facility asset renewal and furniture and equipment replacement.
The City would provide a two-per-cent inflationary increase to the Community Funding program, for a total of $24.2 million to non-profit agencies that provide essential programs and services for residents who are low-income, in crisis, at-risk or isolated. This is in addition to the $111 million the City provides towards housing and homelessness, social housing, housing subsidies, support services and homelessness initiatives.
The majority of capital spending would go towards, parks, recreation and cultural infrastructure, with $20.6 million earmarked to renew parks and facilities across Ottawa. An additional $21.3 million would go towards a new community centre and district park in Riverside South.
Other highlights include $75 million in child-care subsidies, $4.3 million for Ottawa Fire Services to renew and replace equipment and systems, and $210,000 to develop the City’s new Women and Gender Equity Strategy.
The City will receive an additional $5.6 million in federal funding over the next five years for homelessness services, according to an update about the federal government’s new Reaching Home program. All existing contracts with non-profit agencies that provide homelessness services will continue until April 1, 2020. During this transition year, staff will consult with the community to determine funding priorities.
Items from today’s Community and Protective Services Committee requiring City Council approval will go to Council on Wednesday, March 6.