Ottawa's $3.2 billion budget, 3 percent tax increase approved
City council approved Ottawa's $3.2 billion dollar budget for 2019; including a 3 percent tax increase.
Transit fares will rise, along with the cost of water, garbage collection and policing. Greater investment, however, in affordable housing highlights the budget passed unanimously Wednesday afternoon. The new budget allows for the construction of at least 125 units; pending funding from other levels of government another 125 units could be built.
Many residents are skeptical a bigger budget will deliver better service.
"Definitely, not!" said Jack Platr-Zybrk; who argued a tax increase of 3 percent should be put toward solutions to gridlock in the city centre.
"I can take it this year" said Bruce Fisher of the tax increase "But I just want to make sure it's properly spent."
The cost to those living in urban areas is an additional $113 a year. Transit fares are rising 2.5 percent on top of another 3.5 percent transit levy
The city has pledged $340 million on roads, bridges, watermains and another 14 million to repair potholes and crumbling streets.
"It's terrible, we had to replace a tire and a rim already." said Lynn Fisher.
The city's snow clearing budget will increase another $2.4 million to nearly $71 million in 2019.
"If that means my street will finally be done then that would be good." said longtime Ottawa resident Rick Bachand.
The budget calls for a nearly 5 percent increase on water bills, the hiring of 14 paramedics and a 3 percent increase in policing costs amounting to roughly 20 additional dollars a year per household.