City’s proposed budget shows restraint, but covers essentials
Re: Watson’s latest budget doesn’t use the old tricks to hide problems — it uses new ones, Nov. 8.
The recently tabled City of Ottawa draft 2018 budget keeps a central promise made by Mayor Jim Watson, to limit tax increases to two per cent or less. We applaud this effort to keep Ottawa on a path toward fiscal responsibility. Some may argue with the veracity of spending estimates versus past actuals, and we’ll leave that to accountants — but what remains is a draft budget that focuses on necessary infrastructure investments — be it built, community or social. Ensuring that inclusive growth occurs benefits our businesses, and that in turn supports our citizens, tourists and communities.
New challenges emerge, such as the drastic effect of an increased minimum wage in Ontario, which negatively affects small business and increases cost pressures for the City of Ottawa. This seems to have been addressed by the mayor, council and city staff.
We also note the importance of exploring opportunities for better regional transit service integration; sustainable green energy initiatives; economic development projects like the community improvement plans; and support for major city building projects.
The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and West Ottawa Board of Trade look forward to providing council and staff with specific recommendations for the 2018 budget — with an eye to ensuring continued sustainable growth. Ian Faris, CEO, Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Sueling Ching, CEO, West Ottawa Board of Trade