Ottawa Budget 2022: City presents $ 4.14 billion budget with 3 percent tax increase

OTTAWA – The City of Ottawa’s draft 2022 budget includes a three percent increase in property taxes next year, which would mean a $ 119 increase on the average city owner’s property tax bill.

The $ 4.14 billion budget proposal presented to City Council on Wednesday would also see rural homeowners pay $ 91 more in 2022 on average, and bills for commercial real estate rise by $ 240.

In addition to property taxes, other fees are also rising.

Fees for water, wastewater and rainwater are rising with an average impact of 4.2 per cent extra on a water bill linked to cities ($ 35.90 more than in 2021) and 8.1 per cent on unconnected rural houses ( up $ 6.25 from 2021).

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to put $ 161.6 million in budget pressure on the city. Mayor Jim Watson says he and other city mayors will make their case to the federal and provincial governments to maintain pandemic funding for municipalities into 2022. If funding from other levels of government is not made available, the city will have to dive into its reserves. to balance the budget.

The National Board of Health’s chairman of the Landsting. Keith Egli says the provincial government confirmed it would cover $ 48 million of OPH’s COVID-19 spending by 2021.

The city plans to hire 14 new paramedics and buy 12 new ambulances by 2022. The city is also spending $ 2.1 million on installing air conditioning in its four city-run long-term care homes.

That equates to 120 full-time employees across the city by 2022.

Expenditure on road renewal will rise to $ 133 million next year. The city is also installing 15 new photo radar cameras in speed zones, increasing active transportation costs to $ 26.7 million. Expenditure on bicycle infrastructure is expected to rise to $ 14.1 million.

The budget includes $ 15 million for affordable housing.

Paito fees will be waived again in 2022. Watson also says 10,000 small businesses in the city will see a 7.5 percent tax cut, which will be covered by larger commercial and industrial businesses. The city also aims to make 2022 the “Year of Cultural Tourism” in Ottawa to increase revenue from fluttering tourism, which was severely reduced by the pandemic. Rental prices at the city’s facilities will be halved by the end of 2022.

The police budget is for an increase of 2.9 per cent

Police in Ottawa are asking for a $ 14 million increase in their 2022 budget, a 2.9 percent increase.

However, the service plans to cancel new hires and find more than $ 5 million in savings in an attempt to curb costs.

The police budget has been a contentious issue in the city this year due to calls to freeze or reduce spending. The police board had asked staff to draw up an operating budget that “assumes a zero percent increase as a starting point.”

That budget does not meet the budget proposal. The service’s net operating budget is $ 346.5 million in 2022, an increase of $ 14 million over 2021.

The net increase in police tax revenue would be 2.86 percent, which equates to an average increase of $ 19 on the average taxpayer’s expense.

“It is extremely challenging to balance the desire to flatten the budget cost curve while trying to meet the increasingly diverse and growing demands for service and change both inside and outside PPPs,” said Chief Peter Sloly in the unveiling of the draft budget on Wednesday. . . “OPS joins the board in its commitment to finding that balance while building a truly different and better police service.”

The draft budget includes giving up all 30 planned new officer positions by 2022. It also includes a plan to save $ 5.1 million through “efficiencies” such as a rationalization exercise for fleet and facilities and privatization of collision reporting centers.

Watson told reporters that the police budget would be scrutinized in the coming weeks, but he is happy with what was presented.

“I am pleased that the draft budget does not foresee cuts in police officers or the dismissal of police officers,” he said. “It was a priority for me and I think a majority of council members did not want to see the budget frozen, which would have meant that about 140 police officers were fired.”

Watson says he hopes there are no attempts to cut the budget during the consultations.

Peter Sloly

The transit budget includes a fare increase

OC Transpo tariffs are budgeted to increase by 2.5 percent in January. This is despite recent issues on Confederation Line LRT. Number of passengers across the transit system remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Prices for EquiPass, EquiFare and Community Pass will remain frozen at 2018 levels. An adult monthly card is set to increase by $ 3 to $ 125.50. Prices increase by 10 cents to $ 3.70 when paying with a Presto card and $ 3.75 when paying in cash. The senior card increases $ 1 to $ 47.75. The price of a UPass will increase by $ 5.45 to $ 223.48 per. semester from September 1, 2022. The Para Transpo price with admission card rises 5 cents to $ 2.50, and the price of the country rises a quarter to $ 10.

Ongoing hourly reductions will save the city $ 11 million by 2022.

In a speech to reporters after the council meeting, Watson said he believes the rise in prices is justified given rising inflation.

“If we are to improve the system and increase the capacity for bus and train operations, we need to keep up with inflation. As you know, inflation is on the rise, the 2.5 per cent is below the inflation rate, and we recognize that we first and foremost first and foremost must improve the quality of service and regain public trust, “he said.

Watson also noted that the plan to provide a month-long free transit service in December would be a “small step” toward regaining some confidence in the system.

Chairman of the Transit Commission, Gr. Allan Hubley said that increased tariffs will go in the direction of improving the transit system.

“What we use it for is to invest in the system, to make it more reliable and more user – friendly,” he said, noting that when the pandemic hit, OC Transpo increased customer service staff and increased its staff presence to respond to queries. on social media.

“That’s what rising fares are doing. If we want to move away from rising prices, we need to find other sources of funding to reach our long-term plan,” he said.

Staff have laid out three plans – A, B and C – based on how deep in the red the transit system ends. Plan A assumes that government funding will come through and staff say they are confident it will happen. Plan B would be adopted in the absence of State aid to fill gaps in the transit system, and would call for cessation of employment and expenditure and other measures that would not have a significant impact on riders. Plan C is the last step that will only involve potential service cuts if Plan A and B cannot balance the books.

Hubley said the biggest unknown in OC Transpo’s plan for 2022 is what the federal government plans to do with its workforce, which moved out of the center and into telecommuting when the pandemic began.

“The reality is that we need to hear from FB. That’s the biggest part of our future planning. We need that number, whether it’s 50 percent or 20 percent, and we can plan around that and adjust our long-term planning. . “

The 2022 draft transit budget also includes $ 55 million to replace 74 of OC Transpo’s 40-foot buses – the new buses are expected to be zero-emission battery electric vehicles – $ 17.4 million to support the transition to extended stage 2 operations, $ 9.6 million in improvements to bus stops and stations – plus an additional $ 500,000 for accessibility improvements – and $ 625,000 for a proposed marketing campaign to encourage COVID-19 pandemic passenger numbers and $ 8 million to secure Wi-Fi and mobile service along phase 2.

The OC Transpo bus runs through downtown Ottawa

Budgets according to the numbers

  • Community and Social Services: $ 774 million

  • Transit: $ 695 million

  • Water / sewer / solid waste: $ 543M

  • Ottawa Police Services: $ 385M

  • Capital formation costs: $ 370 million

  • Emergency and protection services: $ 339 million

  • General government: $ 259 million

  • Parks, Recreation, Culture and Building Services: $ 246 million

  • Transportation: $ 242 million

  • Public Health: $ 123 Million

  • Planning, Building Code, and Economic Development: $ 107 million

  • Ottawa Public Library: $ 58 million

  • TOTAL: $ 4.14 billion

The full budget will be submitted to the Council for approval on 8 December.

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