City Council adopts 2011 Budget, holds at 2.45% increase
Ottawa – City Council today adopted Budget 2011 and a tax increase of 2.45%, slightly below the 2.5% maximum total tax increase directed by the newly elected Council on December 15, 2010.
Budget 2011’s 2.45% increase for urban home owners and commercial properties represents an increase of $75 this year for City services. Rural area homeowners will see a 2.4% increase. Compared to the last few years, the average urban tax increase is considerably less this year. For example, the tax increase for urban home owners was $135 in 2008; $166 in 2009; and $125 in 2010.
The Ottawa Public Library Board and the Ottawa Police Services Board have also adopted budgets in line with 2.5%.
Budget 2011 public consultations throughout February and early March were extensive and included: public delegations at Standing Committee meetings, five multi-ward consultations attended by the Mayor, area Councillors and senior management, and the Mayor’s Spending Control Town Hall Meeting.
“As promised, the budget adopted today sets the foundation for the fiscal framework for the next four years,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The residents of Ottawa and this new Council have clearly demanded that we manage in a more prudent and predictable way – while preserving and improving important public services. While there were tough decisions to be made, I am confident that this budget has resulted in a balanced package that will serve us well in the future,” he added. “I am proud of the collaborative work my colleagues and I accomplished to the benefit of all citizens of this great city.”
Highlights of Budget 2011 include:
– Freezing of recreation fees for activities for the first time since amalgamation;
– 22 front line paramedics with two new, fully equipped ambulances and two new technicians to keep the ambulances on the streets;
– 45 new firefighters to staff two new fire stations;
– $10 million investment in Housing and Poverty Reduction initiatives that is in addition to a $4 million capital investment for housing initiatives;
– $161 million towards projects and programs to improve and – streamline the bus system;
– Provisions to expand the free transit period for seniors from Wednesdays only to include Mondays and Fridays after 12 noon (beginning in April);
– 74 new bus drivers to improve service and reduce overtime;
– $500,000 funding envelope for priority environmental initiatives;
– $2.8 million per year for new cycling initiatives across the city;
– $28 million to address the flooding and sewage back-up problems in the west end;
– $2 million allocated for economic development initiatives;
– Capital spending plan that focuses on transit investments, the renewal of roads and sewers and new parks and recreation facilities;
– Advances key initiatives including: the Ottawa River Action Plan, Light Rail and Lansdowne redevelopment;
– $4.8 million in 2011 towards the first phase of funding for a new $48 million recreation complex in Barrhaven South; and,
– Capital works over the next few years to improve Ottawa’s road network, including: $29.3 million expansion of Trim Road in Orleans; $17.3 million on the east-end extension from Navan Road to 10th Line Road; $9.5 million on St. Joseph Boulevard; and, our share of the Highway 417 interchange.
“This year’s budget process has been an active collaboration between the Mayor, City Management, Members of Council and Ottawa residents. It has been a dynamic process that has retained the rigour of past budget reviews and has brought with it a productive approach to identifying budget challenges and solutions,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. “This new approach has brought fresh ideas to the table and we have been able to find creative solutions that will result in savings today and moving forward. City Council will now set its Term of Council priorities, undertake a capital budget review and update the City’s Long Range Financial Plan to expand the planning and forecasting for the years 2012 to 2014 and beyond.”
All information related to Budget 2011 is available at ottawa.ca/budget2011.
For a comment from the Mayor: