City Council approves Budget 2018, keeping its 2% tax cap commitment to Ottawa residents
Today, City Council approved a balanced, affordable and progressive Budget 2018. The City’s 2018 operating budget will be $3.4 billion and the capital budget $729 million.
I am proud that for the fifth year in a row, we have honoured our commitment to residents and kept the tax increase at two per cent or less, while also continuing to build a prosperous city that is safe, secure and environmentally sustainable.
Council received an update from City Treasurer Marian Simulik, with the latest tax revenue information for the year. The City expects it will end 2017 with a surplus, due in part to $10 million in greater than expected assessment growth. Council unanimously voted to use the $10 million to renew additional infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and buildings. Council will approve the allocation of this spending in early 2018.
Budget 2018 demonstrates Council’s commitment to growing our city by investing in what matters most to residents: investing in public transit, continued protection of our critical infrastructure and assets, keeping our communities safe and vibrant and making the environment a top priority.
Highlights of the approved Budget 2018 include:
- Increase of $2.3 million for winter maintenance, for a total of $68.3 million, to support all modes of winter travel, including the new O’Connor Street and Main Street cycling lanes
- 8% increase since 2016 for road repair, totalling $8 million, including an increase of $600,000 to repair potholes
- Increase of $5.6 million for road surfacing, a 17% increase, totalling $39.2 million
- $5.5 million to expand pedestrian and cycling facilities
- $3.5 million for the Barrhaven rail-safety program
- Implementation of the new deeply discounted EquiFare (50% off the single fare ride), increasing the total EquiPass/EquiFare subsidy to $3.7 million from $2.7 million, an increase of 37%. The EquiFare complements the EquiPass discounted monthly pass, implemented in 2017
- $9.8 million in additional funding to expand transit service and increase route frequencies for growing areas of the city. Some examples include Wateridge Village in the East end, Abbottsville Crossing in Kanata, Bradley Estates in Orléans and Findlay Creek in the South. The 2018 plan also includes replacing 80 OC Transpo buses, refurbishing 85 more buses and road and signal projects that will improve transit speed and reliability, as well as improving transit stops and stations
- More than $550 million on construction of the Confederation Line in 2018, creating jobs and a greener future
- $60 million for preliminary planning and procurement for Stage 2 of the Confederation Line light-rail transit project, which will add 39 kilometres and 23 more stations to Ottawa’s light-rail system, by going faster and farther West to Moodie Drive and Algonquin College, farther East to Trim Road, and farther South to Riverside South and Bowesville, with a link to the Ottawa International Airport
Community and Protective Services:
- $1.3 billion in operating expenses for community and protective services, including $293.2 million for Emergency and Protective Services, $695.9 million for community and social services, $300.8 million for recreation, cultural and facility services, and $38 million for parks
- The majority of the $48.9 million in capital spending will go towards parks, recreation and culture, with $21.4 million earmarked to renew parks and buildings. Highlights include renewing the Nepean Sportsplex, the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex and the Howard Darwin Arena. The City will also replace play structures at Alta Vista Park, Greely West Park, Blue Rock Park and Beaton Park
- Hiring 14 new paramedics and one additional emergency response vehicle, adding to the 36 paramedics already hired in the 2014-2018 Term of Council
- Hiring 25 new police officers
- Additional funding to deliver children’s services: $17.9 million in subsidies to support families most in need of high-quality child care to reduce and/or eliminate the current waitlist
- Increase of $1 million for agencies that receive renewable community funding, for a total of $23.5 million, and $100,000 of existing funding reprioritized to create a one-time, non-renewable project fund for agencies not currently receiving funding
- A 3% increase for a total of $11.3 million to base funding for Arts and Culture, allowing the sector to manage inflationary costs and cope with growth and minimum wage pressure
- Parks and recreation registration fees capped at 2%
- $12 million to renew the City’s rural infrastructure, including more than $8 million to rehabilitate bridges and bridge culverts
- $1.8 million for Richmond Bridge on McBean Street, $760,000 for Ashton Bridge on Ashton Station Road, $520,000 for Peter Robinson Road Bridge and $470,000 for Monaghan Bridge on Old Richmond Road
- $3.1 million to reconstruct and upgrade roads in the rural area, including renewing guiderails
- $15.7 million to provide more than 100 new affordable rental or supportive housing units and to support accessibility modifications and renovations for more than 100 low-income seniors and people with disabilities
- $15.1 million more for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services, for a total of $365.2 million. Of this, $201.6 million will go towards renewing and growing the City’s water infrastructure
- $2 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Green Fleet initiatives and for energy management
Budget 2018 makes secure and affordable investments in Ottawa’s social and physical infrastructure, which will pave the way to a progressive future for our city and residents. It emphasizes affordability, progressive growth, neighbourhood security, quality of life and environmental sustainability.
I am proud of the progress we have made together as a city. Our economy grows stronger, we are adding jobs and attracting families and businesses, quality of life for all our residents is improving, and we have secured a sustainable financial blueprint for 2018 and beyond.