The City’s Draft Operating and Capital Budget for 2018 was presented at Council today in a meeting that also saw approval of the acquisition of Shea Road Woods, a natural area in Stittsville.
After a budget speech by Mayor Watson and a presentation by staff giving an overview of the City’s financial plan for 2018, Council received and tabled the 2018 Budget documents. These include a Transmittal Report, an Operating Budget, a Capital Budget and a related report analysing the number of staff working at the City compared with previous years.
Draft Budget 2018 will be considered at all relevant Committees over the next few weeks, then return to City Council on December 13.
Council ratified a new three-year collective agreement with the City’s professional staff, represented by the Civic Institute of Professional Personnel (CIPP). This agreement includes wage increases of 1.95 per cent in 2017, 1.95 per cent in 2018 and two per cent in 2019.
Council also approved acquiring about five hectares of Shea Road Woods, a popular greenspace in Stittsville’s Fernbank Community. Council committed to acquiring this important natural area in 2009, to ensure area residents have access to high quality outdoor recreational space. The agreement with CRT Developments will see the City pay $1,577,573 for one-third of the property. The remaining two thirds will be transferred in exchange for another parcel of land that was to be developed as a City park.
Council approved extending the 50-km-per-hour speed limit on Sussex Drive from Boteler Street to Rideau Gate, a section which is currently 60 km an hour. The speed limit between Boteler Street and Rideau Street is already 50 km per hour and extending the lower speed limit will provide a consistent speed limit along the corridor.
Council received the 2016 annual report for the City’s parking services. Last year saw significant upgrades and repairs to the ByWard Market parking garage. In addition to upgrading the garage’s fire alarm and electrical systems, the City repaired concrete, replaced asphalt and improved the foundation wall. The garage reopened in June 2016.
The City is offering free overnight parking in municipal parking garages during winter overnight parking bans. Approximately 1,600 residents took advantage last winter and the City will continue to offer free parking during overnight parking bans this winter.
Council dealt with two reports involving the Building Better Smarter Suburbs initiative. Council approved a second edition of the City’s Park Development Manual. The update was needed to better reflect the park development funding processes outlined in the Development Charges By-law and the Official Plan, which allows developers to build parks on behalf of the City instead of paying development charges.
Two new types of parks are being added to the manual: urban parkettes/plazas and woodland parks. Urban parkettes/plazas are small parks in strategic locations that support walkability in new suburban communities while woodland parks help retain more trees.
The second report led Council to approve changes to make City guidelines for medians and cycling facilities in arterial roads more practical and economical.