Ottawa city councillors passed a 2010 budget Thursday evening that includes a 3.77 per cent tax hike for residential properties, which will add about $140 to the average homeowner's tax bill this year.
Council also approved the U-pass Thursday, voting 22-2 to adopt a universal bus pass that university students would have to buy every semester for a flat fee.
The transit pass will cost students about $145 per semester and is expected to cost the city about $3 million a semester. The program will begin as a pilot program in September and be reviewed after one semester.
Council approved a 7.5 per cent increase in transit fares. Ottawa transit fares run between $3 to $5 for adults. The fare hike is expected to add between 20 and 40 cents to the price.
Council also approved a nearly 10 per cent increase in water and sewer rates, and decided to delay $2 million in repairs to Lansdowne Park and $20 million worth of capital projects.
Funding restored to Crime Prevention Ottawa
Councillors also voted to restore funding to Crime Prevention Ottawa, which works with communities to lower crime rates throughout Ottawa.
The decision reverses a move to slash funding for the agency, which received about $500,000 from the city last year. During two days of public meetings this week, several residents defended the program, saying it helped improve safety in many neighbourhoods.
Councillors scrapped proposals in the draft budget to reduce the forestry services budget and cut service on some bus routes at nights and weekends.
"Quite frankly, I’m delighted with the outcome," Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien said. "I always want taxes to be lower — that’s part of my nature — but the process has improved."
O'Brien said council took the feedback from the public hearings this week into consideration.