Ottawa city council passed its 2012 budget of $2.5 billion that features a 2.39 per cent property tax increase.
The new budget means each household in the city would pay about $75 more over the year but keeps increases below 2.5 per cent over the last two years, which is part of council's promise over the next few years.
This year's increase is slightly below last year's increase of 2.45 per cent and the lowest in five years. Nov. 30 is also the earliest budget vote in five years as debates and motions usually lead to lengthy delays.
There is a small increase in transit costs, as well.
|Transit cost comparison among Canadian cities|
|City||Adult cash fare ($)||Adult monthly pass ($)||Transit services|
|Ottawa||3.25||94||Bus, O-train (light rail planned)|
|Toronto||3.00||121||Bus, subway, streetcar|
|Calgary||2.75||90||Bus, light rail|
|Vancouver||2.50||81||Bus, light rail|
Councillors say now is the time to spend more on projects that have seen years of delays, including about $340 million on some of Ottawa residents' biggest pet peeves. In all, a third of the budget will be borrowed for infrastructure increases.
"There's been a long time since we've taken a concerted effort to fix the roads and the sidewalks and enhancing the cycling paths," said Knoxdale-Merivale Coun. Keith Egli.
"The longer we wait to fix these things, it's going to cost more."
The budget also calls for $12 million in savings from OC Transpo, but no new big projects such as building a new main library. Past plans for a central library have fallen through.
"I think in these times of austerity and tough economic times, I think we're not going to be working on wish lists," said Stittsville Coun. Shad Qadri, "We're going to be working on things that we need as a city."