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Draft Budget 2014 proposes lowest percentage change in 7 years

Draft Budget 2014 proposes lowest percentage change in 7 years

Ottawa – Today City Council tabled Draft Budget 2014, which delivers a stable financial plan that respects taxpayers’ expectations of its municipal government to live within its means, improve service delivery and invest strategically in initiatives which will shape the community in future years.

Draft Budget 2014 proposes a 1.9 per cent tax rate, which is the lowest in seven years, and below the 2 per cent cap City Council directed on May 8, 2013.

“This Draft Budget 2014 builds on the hard work of the last three years”, said Mayor Jim Watson. “It demonstrates to the residents of Ottawa that we are making real progress on issues that matter to people in neighbourhoods all across the City.”

The budget proposes that the City continue its freeze on recreation fees, the Mayor and Councillors’ office budgets, the Mayor’s salary and garbage fees. The City will reduce its workforce again this year, this time by 55 Full Time Equivalent positions. In addition, no new debt will be added to the capital budget in 2014.

“Meeting the 2 per cent cap directed by City Council has challenged staff to make the hard decisions that are required to ensure we continue to improve service delivery to residents as well as meet Council’s strategic priorities.  I commend City staff for meeting that challenge head on with a responsible financial plan for 2014,” said City Manager, Kent Kirkpatrick.

Highlights of Draft Budget 2014 include the following:

 – Roll-out of “MyServiceOttawa”, an online account that allows residents and businesses to securely access multiple City services and information in one place 24/7;

 – Pay and view billing information for tax and water bills and ability to apply for a number of licenses and permits online;

 – Complete the third year of the $340 million Ottawa on the Move 3-year infrastructure program;

  – Open the new Lansdowne for the return of CFL football and provide $2 million in funding for the implementation of programming, part-year operations and one-time funding for new capital items;

 – Continue widening of Highway 417 in coordination with the construction of the Confederation Line;

 – Invest $45 million in citywide road resurfacing to improve transportation networks;

 – Invest $4 million to improve peak operation in highly congested intersections;

 – Invest $750,000 to implement improve pedestrian infrastructure to better connect residents to transit, schools, parks and other key destinations;

 – Increase investment in cycling safety and facilities by $2 million;

 – Limit the average transit fare increase to 1.9 per cent which falls within Council’s cap of 2 per cent or less;

 – Support the arts and culture through an additional $500,000 in the Arts, Heritage and Culture Plan and a $1.6 million investment in the Arts Court Redevelopment Project;

 – Build, open and upgrade new parks, recreation and cultural facilities in neighbourhoods across the city, including the opening of the Richcraft Recreation Complex in Kanata and the Minto Recreation Complex in Barrhaven;

 – Continue Council’s annual investment of $14 million in the Housing and Homelessness Investment Plan;

 – Invest an additional $1.2 million to fight the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer and to increase forest cover across the city;

 – Invest $3.9 million in the Smart Energy Program to reduce the City’s energy costs;

 – Invest $2.5M  for new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus equipment for fire fighters;

 – Replace defibrillators used by front-line Paramedics and used as part of the Public Access Defibrillator Program at a cost of $2.2 million;

 – Invest $2 million in accessibility improvements to City buildings and parks; and

 – Increase investment in Economic Development by $350,000 to attract more events and visitors.

 – The 2014 Rate budget was adopted by Council on February 27, 2013 as part of the multi-year budget policy.  Staff will be submitting a report to the Environment Committee at its November 19 meeting.

To comment and provide feedback on draft Budget 2014:

 – Attend one of the four regional public consultations

 – Register as a public delegation at a Standing Committee budget review meeting

 – E-mail budget2014@ottawa.ca

 – Use the Twitter hashtag #ottbudget

 – Contact your City Councillor

 – Call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) or fax 613-560-2126

 – Visit ottawa.ca/budget2014 for further information