City bud­get in­cludes in­vest­ment to Mil­le­nium Park

City of Ottawa bud­get pleases Coun­cil­lor Stephen Blais

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The City of Ottawa tabled the draft 2014 bud­get, last week, and Cum­ber­land Ward Coun­cil­lor Stephen Blais called it "a big win for the fam­i­lies of Or­léans and Cum­ber­land".

"With mil­lions be­ing in­vested in new parks and recre­ation fa­cil­i­ties and a fourth year freeze on recre­ation rates – fam­i­lies are the big win­ner in the 2014 bud­get," said Blais.

In bud­get 2014, Mil­len­nium Park is sched­uled to re­ceive an in­vest­ment with the cre­ation of a splash pad as well as the con­struc­tion of sev­eral ad­di­tional soc­cer fields.

"Soc­cer is one of the fastest grow­ing youth sports in Ottawa," said Blais. "By adding new soc­cer fields we will al­low more of our chil­dren to par­tic­i­pate in am­a­teur sports and live a healthier life­style."

Car­los Conde, Di­rec­tor of Strate­gic Plan­ning with the Cum­ber­land United Soc­cer Club agrees, "There is a grow­ing need for fields in our com­mu­nity and this in­vest­ment demon­strates the City’s com­mit­ment to en­sur­ing our chil­dren can stay fit."

Bud­get 2014: Prop­erty tax in­crease un­der 2%

With 1.91% in­crease, the rise in prop­erty taxes is the low­est in seven years, in Ottawa. Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Mayor Jim Wat­son was faith­ful to his prom­ise in the fourth bud­get pre­sented since 2010.

"The pre­lim­i­nary 2014 bud­get is based on the hard work of the past three years," said the chief mag­is­trate.

The draft bud­get pro­poses that the City main­tain the rate freeze for leisure ac­tiv­i­ties, ad­min­is­tra­tive bud­gets of the mayor and coun­cil­lors, the mayor’s salary and the cost of col­lect­ing waste.

Again this year, the City will re­duce its work­force, cut­ting 55 full time jobs. This is less than last year when 139 jobs were elim­i­nated.

Bud­get dis­cus­sions will be­gin on Nov. 5 to the Fi­nance Com­mit­tee and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment to reach a vote in the Coun­cil on Nov. 27.

Shortly be­fore this, the Ottawa Po­lice had filed its draft op­er­at­ing and cap­i­tal bud­gets for 2014 at a spe­cial meet­ing of the Po­lice Ser­vices Board. A net in­crease in tax­a­tion for po­lice of $4.5 mil­lion or 1.99% is ex­pected.

"The bud­get meets the guide­lines of the Com­mis­sion on a lower tax rate in­crease of 2 %, while main­tain­ing the high cal­iber po­lice ser­vices," said coun­cil­lor Eli El-Chantry, chair­man of the Po­lice Ser­vices Board of Ottawa.

Ottawa Pub­lic Health (OPH) was given a pre­lim­i­nary bud­get of $55 mil­lion, Mon­day night. A fig­ure that was built around the max­i­mum in­crease of 2% set by the coun­cil.

"To com­ply with the limit of 2 per cent im­posed by the City Coun­cil, staff had to make dif­fi­cult but nec­es­sary de­ci­sions," said City Man­ager Kent Kirkpatrick.

Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions for the bud­get be­gan Mon­day at the Shenkman Arts Cen­tre.

With files from Sébastien Pier­roz

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