City to hit 2% tax target in 2018
'It's a fake budget with fake numbers,' councillor says of spending plan tabled Wednesday
Even before the 2018 draft budget was tabled, at least one councillor is expressing skepticism about the document.
"It's a fake budget with fake numbers," said Coun. Rick Chiarelli, who left his seat at the council table to speak with reporters in the media area.
"Everybody in Ottawa should hope it fails because it's not sustainable."
Chiarelli said he won't have specific numbers until he more closely studies the document, but at first glance, he believes this budget will result in the city ending 2018 in a deficit.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson introduced a lengthy list of additional spending in his speech introducing the city's 2018 draft budget.
Hike equals $76 for average homeowner
The council meeting is still going on, but so far we know that property taxes are going up by about two per cent, which translates into an average $76 increase for an urban homeowner, and $62 for a rural homeowner.
The city will spend an extra $12 million on infrastructure repairs including road, cycling and sidewalk fixes.
And the winter maintenance fund, which pays for snow removal, will increase by $2.3 million.
Social services agencies will receive $675,000 to help them cover an increase in the minimum wage for their workers.
Transit fares to rise Jan. 1
The transit budget is expected to increase by 2.5 per cent, and that will extend to fares.
Proposed fares set to come into effect Jan. 1, 2018, include $3.42 for a single fare (up from $3.35), $116.50 for a monthly pass (up from $113.75) and $207.50 for a U-Pass (up from $202.50).
The city plans to spend an additional $56.5 million in 2018 -- $24.4 million from additional homeowners being added to the property tax bill, and $32.1 million generated by the two cent tax increase.
The city's total operating budget will add up to more than $3.4 billion.
CBC Ottawa's municipal reporters Joanne Chianello and Laura Osman will live-tweet the meeting. Follow along in the live blog.