Each year at this time we expect to see a Balanced budget from the City of Ottawa as municipalities are not allowed to go into deficit. But 2020 is an extraordinary year with the COVID-19 Pandemic; nothing is normal anymore. The City will face budget deficit, but we are sure we will get out of it once we turn the curve and get back to our normal life. Here is the newsletter from Mayor Jim Watson:
Draft Budget 2021 strikes a balance between supporting evolving community needs and delivering essential municipal services, while also advancing City Council’s priorities in the face of COVID-19. These investments are key to our community’s recovery and to Ottawa’s future prosperity.
The pandemic has led to revenue losses and unplanned costs for the City, resulting in a forecasted year-end deficit. The City acted quickly at the beginning of the pandemic, reducing costs to help maintain a stable financial position and mitigate expenses despite declining revenues. The first phase of the Ontario Safe Restart Agreement delivered $124.3 million in federal and provincial funding to Ottawa’s COVID-19 response efforts, helping to mitigate the impact on this year’s budget.
While Draft Budget 2021 protects and delivers the many municipal services residents depend on, new investments have been limited to ensure the City can continue to support public health measures and keep residents safe while positioning local businesses for economic recovery. The budget also limits the municipal tax increase to three per cent overall as directed by Council – worth an estimated $52.7 million. By maintaining the approved tax cap, Ottawa will remain affordable for residents.
While the focus is on delivering core municipal services, Draft Budget 2021 proposes investments in public transit, infrastructure, road maintenance, affordable housing and projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Draft Budget 2021 proposes a $3.94 billion operating budget and a capital budget of $781 million. The three-per-cent tax increase amounts to an extra $115 for the average urban homeowner and $88 for the average rural homeowner.
With continued partnership from the federal and provincial levels of governments, staff have delivered a budget that maintains the municipal services residents rely on. It’s a plan to continue to grow the city, investing in infrastructure to connect neighbourhoods and build communities that are resilient, and supporting those in need with a record investment in affordable housing.
For Mayor Watson’s speech, including all Budget 2021 highlights, please visit: jimwatsonottawa.ca/