Investing in our residents, our community, our city – Draft Budget 2018

I believe in a community where everyone matters.

I also believe we are not moving forward unless everyone in our community is moving forward together.

 

The 2018 Draft City budget was released today and I am sharing with you key elements of the budget as our community and Council begin this annual debate.

Over the last few years we have invested heavily in our physical infrastructure, but I believe for a community to prosper we also need to keep pace investing in our people. The draft 2018 budget makes these investments, continuing to show a caring and compassionate city.

 

Strengthening our investment in the people of Ottawa:

  • A new low income single transit fare, EquiFare, will enable low income Ottawa residents a more affordable transit option. At $1.75, a single ride on transit will be 50% off the current price. This is in addition to last year’s EquiPass which has already helped many lower income users have increased access to public transit. Equifare and EquiPass will have a combined total budget of $3.7 Million
  • Many people in our community rely on the 93 social service agencies across the city to support our neighbours in need. I am proud to support them in doing their vital work throughout all of Ottawa’s neighbourhoods. The doubling of the inflationary funding increase from 1.5% to 3.0% will provide significant flexibility for these agencies to support communities across Ottawa. Total funding for these agencies will now be $23.2 Million. This will mean that your local food cupboard or community health centre will be able to provide better support to you.

Housing affordability throughout the city is a pressing need we need to continue to address. We continue to see the impact of homelessness, the need for more affordable housing, and the very real price that residents pay for not having stable homes.

  • In my role as Special Liaison on Housing and Homelessness I am committed to ending chronic homelessness and see this budget as a step toward that goal.
  • $760,000.00 in additional investment in 2018 will support housing and homeless agencies. This brings the total investment for 2018 to $26.3 million.
  • $2,400,000.00 will be invested in social housing for urgent repairs under the municipal Housing and Homelessness Investment Plan.
  • Up to $10 million will be invested in capital funding for new affordable supportive housing. An additional RFP for up to $14 million will be launched in early 2018.
  • In Bay Ward, Housing Services is investing $787,678.00 in 2018 for much needed social housing repairs. These include essential repairs such as safety, accessibility, and energy efficiency improvements.
  • We are also working on keeping people in their homes by limiting the property tax increase to 2%.
  • Ottawa will also receive funding from our federal and provincial partners:
    • The federal government has increased investment by $1.4 million in the Homelessness Partnering Strategy to assist long stay shelter clients transition to permanent housing.
    • The province has provided: $1 million for Community Homelessness Prevention Initiatives; up to $30.5 million over 3 years for the Home for Good Initiative and Increased by $4.7 million the Investments in Affordable Housing program.

 Transit, roads, cycling and sidewalks:

  • EquiFare single-ride fare program is a 50% discounted fare for lower-income transit customers and will be introduced in June 2018.
  • $600,000.00 per year for upgrades to Pedestrian Countdown Signals Program and Audible Pedestrian Signals Countdown Program.
  • 17 new double decker buses rolling out in 2018 will provide service to our growing city.
  • Cyclists will appreciate the $4 million to improve cycling facilities across the city. The funding will take pressure off the road networks by alleviating vehicle pressure on the road and increasing cycling, driving, and pedestrian safety.
  • Getting to work/home and travelling throughout our city is important to all our residents throughout the year. An increase of $2,300,000.00 for snow removal this winter will help us deal with Ottawa’s favourite season.
  • I am continuing to focus on key transit initiatives for Bay Ward, including:
    • $500,000.00 in 2018 to increase transit use, cycling and walking in the Richmond Road corridor, from Island park to Lincoln Fields, and from the Ottawa River to Carling Avenue.
    • $19,000.00 for the design and implementation of traffic calming measures along Bayfield Avenue.
    • $1,500,000.00 for pedestrian facilities city-wide, which includes the Dumaurier avenue sidewalk from Pinecrest Road to Ramsey Crescent in Foster Farm. 
    • A $40,000.00 Traffic Calming Measures fund for time sensitive, high impact safety items.
    • Road Resurfacing will be approximately $1,300,000.00 for Bay Ward and will include the following:
      • Carling: from Bayshore Drive to Richmond Road.
      • Part of Ritchie Street near Britannia Woods in Belltown
      • Maitland: from Lenester to Carling.
      • Woodroffe: from Carling to Saville Row.

Safety and security are key issues raised by Ottawa residents:

  • In responding to concerns we will make our communities stronger and more secure by adding 25 more police officers, 14 new paramedics, and 10 new crossing guards for schools.

Arts and Parks programs and facilities help foster community involvement and activity:

  • $330,000.00 in additional funding for arts, heritage and festival organizations for a total annual cultural funding budget of $11.3 million.
  • Completing the soon to open new Ottawa Art Gallery and Arts Court facility.
  • There are a number of specific Bay Ward developments I am happy to see regarding our beautiful parks and community spaces:
    • Overall approximately $1.6 million being invested to improve Foster Farm Community Centre, Woodroffe Park, and other community facilities
    • $340,000.00 for Andrew Hayden Park Water Playground Replacement
    • $183,000.00 for Woodroffe Park playground renewal design and construction
    • $92,000.00 for additional Michele Park upgrades in Michelle Heights.

Public Works and environmental Services upgrades are essential to keep our communities running smoothly:

  • I am continuing to work with our Public Works team and am happy to see a commitment to erosion prevention projects in Budget 2018:
    • $240,000.00 in 2018 to be spent on Water Environmental Strategy Implementation – Graham Creek Erosion Project in Crystal Beach Lakeview
    • Also in Crystal Beach Lakeview and Creek’s End: $80,000.00 in 2018 to be spent on the Stillwater Creek Erosion Project.
    • Replacement of the Davidson’s Side road stormwater Culvert.
    • $550,000.00 to replace the Sherbourne Water Main.

Also, we will continue to push for innovative ways protect our climate and environment:

  • $1,300,000.00 in 2018 will plant 125,000 trees across the city to increase forest cover throughout our city and mitigate the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer.
  • $2,000,000.00 into energy conservation, green fleet, and environmental protection initiatives.
  • $500,000.00 for community energy initiatives which will be matched by the private sector.

These are highlights of important items but of course budget 2018 includes many more important projects and funds initiatives our community all care about. I encourage you to read more and learn about them for yourself here.

NEXT STEPS & OPPORTUNITIES FOR FURTHER PUBLIC INPUT

Thank you to all those who attended budget consultations and provided your input. There is still time to provide your comments and suggestions. Residents are encouraged to submit their input before the final Budget goes to Council for consideration on December 13, 2017. Your feedback is an important piece of the budget process and helps other Councillors and myself, guide where we invest public funds. You may submit comments through the following options:

Members of the public can also register as a public delegation at a standing committee, board, or commission budget review meeting and make a five-minute presentation. You can find a breakdown of upcoming meetings on Ottawa.ca/budget. Presenters are encouraged to provide a copy of their presentation electronically in advance of the meeting. If you would like to do this and are not sure how feel free to contact my office to help you.

Here is a list of upcoming budget meetings that residents can attend and present:

  • November 21: Environment and Climate Protection Committee
  • November 23: Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee
  • November 28: Planning Committee
  • November 29: IT Sub-committee
  • November 30: Audit Committee
  • December 4: Transit Commission
  • December 5: Finance and Economic Development Committee
  • December 5: Ottawa Public Library
  • December 6: Transportation Committee
  • December 7: Community and Protective Services Committee
  • December 11: Ottawa Public Health

City Council will meet to debate and vote on the 2018 Budget on December 13th. Residents are welcome to attend.

You are always welcome to contact me at Mark.Taylor@ottawa.ca or by calling our office at 613-699-8163. I look forward to hearing from you.


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