The unanimously approved Budget 2015 and what it means for you

Dear neighbours,

Today the 2015 City of Ottawa Draft Budget was debated, and approved, at Council.

Today the 2015 City of Ottawa Draft Budget was debated, and approved, at Council.

I am proud to have Chaired today's important special meeting of Ottawa City Council in the place of Mayor Jim Watson as he continues to recover from his injury.

I am excited to work with new and old colleagues as this term of Council continues to make the City of Ottawa the best place to live, work and play.

Residents in Ottawa told us what they want from our City during last year's election and I am confident the community’s priorities are reflected in the budget that will be implemented over the coming year.

We heard from many of you during public consultations held by the City and at malls in Bayshore. We also heard from you by phone, by email and through our website,BayWardLive.ca. Thank you for taking the time to provide that feedback and for helping to inform the decisions I was a part of making today.

This year has proven to be another benchmark for the City. We are limiting the property tax increase to 1.75%. This is the lowest tax increase in eight years, respecting taxpayers while the City continues to offer good core services with a responsible price tag.

I spent the last term of Council working with residents and community groups to show real progress in Bay Ward. Residents saw the grand opening of Inspiration Park, a new Sens Rink of Dreams in Bayshore Park, renewal of Carling Ave, Woodroffe Ave, Bayshore Ave and Corkstown Rd, a cross walk linking neighbourhoods to Lincoln Fields Station, and renewal of Michele Park. These were commitments made and delivered.

It is time, now, to finish what we started.

There are important projects to complete in the next four years. We will as improve fitness, gathering and recreation opportunities in Britannia Park and at the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, renew the field house in Bayshore Park, and finish construction on the waterfront infrastructure project in Britannia Village.

Council will work to identify its strategic priorities over the coming months. As Deputy Mayor for the City of Ottawa, I would like to ensure that affordable housing, economic development and innovation, and continuing support for our City's seniors through the Older Adult Plan, are chief among them. Others will include transit, road and pedestrian safety, 2017 celebrations, Ottawa River clean-up, forestry, accessibility, arts and culture, and recreation.

A key priority is to fund crime prevention through a gang exit strategy. This budget contains $400,000 to allow the City to work in partnership with the Ottawa Police Service and Crime Prevention Ottawa to determine and develop an effective exit strategy for gang members, including employment and training opportunities.

This approved budget continues the City’s $14 million commitment towards its 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan, in addition to increased funding of $3.1 million for the maintenance of Ottawa Community Housing units. To help ensure we are a caring capital city, an additional $19 million will build new homes for Ottawa families. This will help our City’s most vulnerable residents.

BAY WARD HIGHLIGHTS

  • Enjoy a smoother and faster transit connection from Bayshore Mall to the west Transitway with $36m in investments, including segregated bus lanes;
  • Your kids will have access to an upgraded community centre for many more years thanks to a $107,000 replacement of the Michele Heights Community Centre roof;
  • Providing a more caring transition for families in need with $109,000 in building renewal at the Carling Family Shelter;
  • Enjoy quality family time at Carlingwood Library with an expanded exterior entranceway with canopy cover to keep kids and strollers dry;
  • Feel safe in well lit areas with replacement of street light poles and hydro poles along Richmond Rd, Carling Ave, and Woodroffe Ave;
  • Making your drive smoother by resurfacing Maitland Ave from Lenester Ave to Woodward Dr;
  • Count on reliable and clean water service with the reconstruction of the watermain at Maplehurst Ave and Carling Ave;
  • Learn about your neighbourhood's heritage as we extend the life of Fairfields House on Richmond Rd;
  • Enjoy Britannia Beach and Park with upgrades to the Beach building;
  • Stay cool on hot summer days at a renewed wading pool in Frank Ryan Park;
  • Your kids can be kids at the Woodridge Court Day Care Centre with more durable flooring;
  • Ensuring better maintenance of your City's bus fleet with upgrades to the Pinecrest Storage building;
  • Make your transfers at Lincoln Fields Station and Bayshore Station easier with upgrades to the platform; and
  • Enjoy your commute on a repaved transitway north of Lincoln Fields Station.
CITY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Helping families stay in their homes with $62.8 million in rent subsidies and supplements through Ottawa Community Housing;
  • Increasing repair of Ottawa Community Housing units at no additional cost to the City of Ottawa by continuing property tax exemptions;
  • Ensuring at-risk moms and babies get the support they need from Public Health nurses by phone and at home visits
  • Protecting your health with $150k directed towards inspections of nail salons and tattoo parlours;
  • Eliminating the risk of the Emerald Ash Borer while beautifying your neighbourhood with $5.6 million in forestry initiatives replenishing infected ash trees, with an additional $1.3 million for new trees;
  • Travel around the City more efficiently thanks to $4.2 million for increased transit service, and approximately 5,700 more Para Transpo trips;
  • Enjoy alternative transportation options with $2.2 million in new pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure;
  • Rest assured your first responders can help in any emergency with equipment renewal funding of $4.9 million for Paramedic Services, $2.7 million for security and emergency management, and $2.5 million for Fire Services;
  • Helping keep your utilities affordable by limiting the Water and Sewer Charge increase to 6%;
  • Freezing garbage fees for the third consecutive year;
  • Enhance and increase funding for the Adult School Crossing Guard Program;
  • Increasing your enjoyment of the beautiful Ottawa River by acting on the Ottawa River Action Plan with construction of a central storage tunnel and working with Federal and Provincial partners; and
  • Working together to find the best route for Stage 2 of Ottawa's Light Rail Transit as it extends to neighbourhoods in the east, west, and south.



 

NEXT STEPS

Now that the budget has passed, Council can turn its attention to setting priorities for the full council term. Those priorities will be set in the coming months. Once again we are asking for your feedback as we work to prioritize the many important projects and issues Ottawa faces.

The 2011-2014 Term of Council priorities were: Economic Prosperity, Transportation and Mobility, Environmental Stewardship, Healthy and Caring Communities, Service Excellence, Governance, Planning and Decision-Making, Employee Engagement, and Financial Responsibility.

Some of these themes will likely be reflected in the new Term of Council priorities as we work to finish what we started. You can expect Ottawa to continue to be a Caring City, a Sustainable City, a Prosperous City and an Affordable City.

CONTACT MY OFFICE

I am always happy to hear from you on the budget or any other municipal issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me and share your thoughts.

Sincerely,

Mark Taylor Signiture

Mark Taylor


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