City Council approved the second budget of its term today, which limits the property tax increase to 2 per cent, protects front-line services and invests in community priorities.
“The 2016 budget will allow us to continue to make progress on priorities such as light rail transit, affordable housing and economic development,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Ottawa is changing rapidly and for the better. Together, we’re building a world-class city where people want to live, work and invest.”
“This budget contains important investments, efficiencies and cost-saving initiatives for the long term sustainability of the City’s finances,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. “As this plan is implemented, staff will continue to work closely with the Mayor and Councillors to ensure the delivery of the quality services that our residents count on every day.”
Budget 2016 delivers on commitments to create a more affordable, caring, sustainable and prosperous city that will benefit every community. City-wide highlights for 2016 include: ** An Affordable City **
* Limiting the proposed tax revenue increase for City and Police to 1.75 per cent, translating to a 2 per cent increase for a residential property * Limiting the overall proposed transit levy increase to 2.5 per cent and limiting overall fare increases to 2.5 per cent while freezing the cost of a Community Pass * Maintaining the Rate-Supported Water and Sewer Charge increase at 6 per cent, as approved in the latest Long Range Financial Plan * Freezing garbage fees for the fourth consecutive year * Responsible cost-saving measures that do not affect front-line services
** ** ** A Caring City **
* Continuing to invest in affordable housing and homelessness programs with a further $2-million increase in funding * Continuing a $50,000 increase in support of youth recreation programming in low income communities * Increasing the funding for community health and resource centres by 1.5 per cent to $11.2 million * Continuing to fund crime prevention and a gang exit strategy, and adding 25 new police officers * Strategically investing in recreation infrastructure and supporting recreation programming * Investing in social supports through community funding
** A Sustainable City **
* Allocating $200,000 to maintain our winter cycling network * Delivering new cycling infrastructure including installing bike lanes on Mackenzie Avenue, breaking ground on the first phase of the O’Connor Street bike lane, and opening, ahead of schedule and on budget, the $9.2 million Adàwe crossing, the pedestrian and cycling bridge spanning the Rideau River between Donald Street and Somerset Street East * Maintaining the increased funding of $125,000 for tree planting and continuing the battle against the Emerald Ash Borer * Renewing investment in the Municipal Green Fleet * Breaking ground on the largest project of the Ottawa River Action Plan – the $232 million combined sewage and storage tunnel * Beginning the conversion of street lights across the city to more-efficient LED technology
** ** ** A Prosperous City **
* Advancing implementation of the O-Train Confederation Line light rail transit project as well as investing $10 million in renewing other transit infrastructure such as resurfacing and extending sections of the Transitway * Developing an Arts and Culture Precinct in downtown Ottawa that includes the $38.8 million expansion of the Ottawa Art Gallery and the redevelopment of Arts Court, and $7.1 million for new streetscaping on Rideau Street for a total of $45.9 million * Investing in new transportation infrastructure to accommodate growing neighbourhoods in the west, south and east of Ottawa, while providing more than $33 million for resurfacing and renewal of existing roads * Providing an additional $8.3 million for transportation infrastructure for rural areas, which includes the design and construction of structures, and road reconstruction * Rehabilitating parks and recreation facilities, including $3.5 million to upgrade recreation centres, develop new splash pads and install new park play equipment
In addition to keeping commitments for ongoing affordability and strong investment in priorities, Budget 2016 also saw the implementation of expanded outreach to residents and more budget-related resources were made available to residents. The Mayor held a Tele-Town Hall in June, the City Treasurer presented a budget primer open house and Councillors invited residents to their own community consultation sessions. All of this was in addition to the Committee, Board, Transit Commission and Advisory Committee considerations of the draft budget which also occurred.
For more information about the budget, visit ottawa.ca/budget2016 .