City’s pro­posed bud­get shows re­straint, but cov­ers es­sen­tials

Ottawa Citizen - - OPINION -

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

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