A look at Ottawa’s $3.26 billion 2017 draft budget

The city last week tabled its draft budget for 2017. Though committees will spend the next several weeks voting on department budgets before the final vote December 14, the response was generally positive, so it’s worth a look at what likely will come.

city-hall

Here are the highlights:

Property taxes would be raised by two per cent. That translates to about $72 more for the average urban homeowner and $60 for rural. This includes a transit levy of $15 for urban and $5 for rural homeowners, and an increase of $11 a year for all for policing.

Social service agencies would be getting more than requested – more than double. The Ottawa Citizen quoted Luc Ouellete, executive director of the Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre, as saying “agencies used to enjoy a two per cent annual increase in funding, but it was cut back to 1.5 per cent in recent years. The $110,000 allocated in the draft budget “would equal a two per cent increase in funding for 94 agencies.”

Fees and business permits will increase, many in the two per cent range and the costs of things like ice and sport field rentals will also rise.

Reports say the net long-term debt estimated by the city will be $1.78 billion at the end of 2017, up from the $1.69 billion projected earlier. “City treasurer Marian Simulik said most of the new debt in 2017 will be in the rate-supported water, sewer and stormwater budget for projects related to pipes and plants.”

City of Ottawa 2017 draft budget:

Overall program spending

$3.267 billion (up from $3.197 billion estimated for 2016)

Largest spending areas

Transit: $503M Social services: $433M Water and sewer: $350M Police: $317M

Capital projects budget

$880M

Tax increases

Property tax: 2 per cent Transit fare increase: 1.25 per cent Water and sewer: 5 per cent Garbage fee: $2

Total tax impact for the average homeowner

Urban residents: $72 Rural residents: $60

New low-income transit pass

Monthly cost: $57 (50 per cent discount on regular monthly pass) Estimated people eligible: 4,700 Annual cost to city: $2.7M

Notable spending promises

$8.4M for new cycling infrastructure (38km of new bike paths) $0.6M increase for social services providers $4.5M increase to winter road maintenance $8.9M increase to police budget (includes 25 new police officers) $0.15M to create a fund for local arts projects