On December 13, City Council approved the budget for 2018. It caps the residential property tax increase at 2%, increases transit fares by 2.5%, increases most recreation fees by 2% and increases the annual garbage fee by $2. For a rural home with an assessed value of $404,000 the increase is about $62.
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 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.
In total, the City will have an operating budget of $3.4 billion in 2018 and a capital budget of $739 million. Some of budget highlights that will be of interest to Ward 5 residents are:
- $2.3 million more for winter operations, totalling $68.3 million
- $600,000 to repair potholes, bringing the total for asphalt repairs to $8 million
- $5.6 million more to resurface roads, a 17% increase, totalling $39.2 million
- 14 new paramedics and one additional emergency response vehicle, adding to the 36 paramedics hired in this term of Council
- $12 million to renew the City’s rural infrastructure, including more than $8 million to rehabilitate bridges and bridge culverts
- $520,000 for Peter Robinson Road Bridge (located in Carp)
- $3.1 million to reconstruct and upgrade roads in the rural area, including renewing guiderails
Ottawa City Council also approved the 2018 Ottawa Police Service Operating and Capital Budgets. This budget adds 25 new officers to their complement in 2018 and completes a three-year 75 officer hiring plan. That is on top of hiring to replace retirements and other departures. Those new officers will be directed to Frontline, Traffic Unit, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section. The budget also includes a hiring forecast of 30 new officers every year between 2019 to 2021.
My wife Maha and I would like to wish you a happy Christmas season. As you celebrate the season please remember – do not drink and drive.
A special thanks in advance to our emergency services personnel – volunteer firefighters, paramedics and police. This is an especially busy time of year for them and many of them work through the holidays, away from their own families, to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.