FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa is condemning today’s vote at City Council to approve measures that could lay the stage for widespread austerity across our city. The approved report includes a tax cut despite City staff raising concern. The decision could lead to potential service cuts, and a deference of capital projects, while at the same time increasing the already over-bloated Ottawa Police budget.
The report, which faced significant opposition from certain councillors, comes at a time when inflation is at its highest in decades. The decision to approve the report will ensure that services will inevitably be cut when those at risk need them most.
The move has been seen by some as especially unwise, given the passing of the provincial government’s Bill 23, which would in many cases see the city miss out on revenue from reduced development charges which the city uses to pay for certain services involving infrastructure. Not having extra property tax revenue to make up for lost funds due to smaller development charges could put the city in a difficult position financially.
"These budget directions are based on political expediency not reality.” said Sam Hersh, Board Member of Horizon Ottawa. “This decision will set our city up for financial failure and erode our already ailing city services.”
These directions are only the beginning of the budget process. The draft budget will be tabled on February 1st and the final budget will be voted on at the beginning of March. This means residents still have time to comment and push back at public meetings. These meetings can be quite limited, however, when the budget comes to residents already mostly drafted.
“The next few months will be a test for Mark Sutcliffe and the new council,” said Hersh. “If they are truly committed to changing the way our city works they will open up the budget process and ensure that the voices of residents are heard in the coming months.”
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