The Finance and Economic Development Committee today approved its 2018 Draft Budget, which includes $560 million for O-Train construction and planning, Economic Development and Long Range Planning, operating expenses related to City governance, and Shared Services.
Draft Budget 2018 increases the contribution to the Capital Budget by $12.6 million to $112.4 million to renew existing City assets, including facilities, roads, bridges, pathways, sidewalks and curbs.
In addition, the City has budgeted $60 million for preliminary planning activity and procurement for Stage 2 of the Confederation Line light-rail transit project, which will dramatically change our city’s landscape and transportation network. Other capital funding for 2018 includes increasing the parks renewal budget by $250,000 to $5.25 million. 2018 will see improvements made to a number of City parks including Mulligan Park, Kinburn Park, Bryanston Gate Park, Woodroffe Park, Bateman Park, Aladdin Park and Cummings Park.
The Committee adopted a motion to direct any surplus funds from the Hydro Ottawa dividend to critical infrastructure and City assets. Two-thirds of the funding would be reinvested in road resurfacing, and the remaining funding would go toward energy retrofits to City facilities.
The Committee referred a report recommending a four-per-cent Municipal Accommodation Tax on short-term overnight accommodations, including hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts and online platforms such as AirBnB, to Council for consideration at its December 13 meeting.
The Committee also approved several administrative measures to finalize the transition of the ByWard and Parkdale Markets to Ottawa Markets. Starting January 1, 2018, this newly incorporated not-for-profit would oversee the City’s two public markets, including collecting license and permit fees to cover operational costs. The City would transfer the $160,000 Markets Deferred Revenue Fund to Ottawa Markets to cover initial cash flow and unforeseen costs.
Ottawa Markets will return to the Committee and City Council by mid-2018 with a strategic plan outlining its long-term objectives to revitalize the markets, attract more diverse vendors and encourage residents and tourists to buy local.
Items approved at today’s Finance and Economic Development Committee meeting will be considered by City Council on Wednesday, December 13.