11 Mar City Council approves 2015 budget
City Council today approved the 2015 Operating and Capital Budgets, limiting the total residential property tax increase to 2 per cent, while moving ahead with significant city-building projects such as Light Rail Transit, Arts Court, and the Bayview Innovation Centre.
“This budget was designed to ensure Ottawa maintains momentum on the major initiatives already well underway across the region that are helping to enhance our reputation as a progressive, thriving and growing city,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “A new crime prevention strategy and increases to affordable housing are also among the budget’s centrepieces.”
The 2015 budget promises investment in affordable housing, community facilities and crime prevention, while keeping taxes and user fees affordable. The transit fare increase has been capped at 2.5 per cent and recreation fees will increase by no more than two per cent. The garbage fee remains frozen for a third consecutive year.
“The 2015 Budget does a good job of balancing competing interests and desires, while ensuring the provision of day-to-day services and important infrastructure,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. “I want to thank residents, the Mayor, Councillors and staff for all their input and effort in the development of the budget.”
Budget 2015 promises key investments that improve Ottawa’s reputation as a liveable city for all residents and businesses:
A Caring City
- Fund a strategy for crime prevention and gang activity.
- Increase funding for maintenance of Ottawa Community Housing Corporation assets.
- Enhance and increase funding for the School Crossing Guard Program.
- Deliver funding for commemoration of the victims of the tragic September 2013 bus-train collision.
- Involve the City in the renewal of the Ottawa Pride Festival.
A Sustainable City
- Support the 2013 Ottawa Cycling Plan, which will see the expansion and improvement of cycling networks and multi-use pathways across the city to make cycling a safe and convenient option for residents.
- Move the Ottawa River Action Plan forward with the construction of the central storage tunnel, putting in place the last elements of funding from federal partners to match investments from the City and Province.
- Increase funding for tree planting by $125,000 to $1.3 million.
A Prosperous City
- Modernize Ottawa’s transit system through Light Rail Transit (Stage 1 and Stage 2).
- Continue the construction of the Confederation Line, the light-rail transit line from Blair Station to Tunney’s Pasture, which is the backbone of the City’s planned light rail network.
- Prepare for the transition from construction of the Confederation Line to full operations in 2018.
- Launch the Western Transitway expansion as the City continues to seek funding for Stage 2 of the Light Rail Transit system that will extend to neighbourhoods in the east, west, and south.
An Affordable City
- Limit the Rate-Supported Water and Sewer Charge increase to 6 per cent, as approved in the latest Long Range Financial Plan.
- Freeze garbage fees for the third consecutive year.
- Limit the average OC Transpo fare increase to 2.5 per cent, while also providing a $4.2-million investment in new and improved service, including increasing bus routes and approximately 5,700 more Para Transpo trips.
- Reduce 20 full-time equivalent (FTE) City positions, excluding the Ottawa Police Service.
For more information about the Budget, visit ottawa.ca/budget2015.