Infrastructure, housing and transit get boost in approved Ottawa 2020 budget

Ottawa city council has deferred its decision on Cumberland Ward's vacant seat. Beatrice Britneff / Global News File

At its meeting on Wednesday, Ottawa city council voted unanimously to pass its proposed budget for 2020.

The new budget increases spending on infrastructure such as roads, gives a $7.5-million boost to transit and allocates $15 million more for affordable housing, all paid for with a 3 per cent tax increase.

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“This budget, we thought, was going to be more difficult because of the provincial cuts and downloads, but a lot of those were reversed and we’re able to make changes that would not affect residents in a negative way,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

The mayor says he truly believes the budget covers most of the complaints that have come up over the last few years due to his strict 2 per cent maximum tax increases, including the road infrastructure shortfall.

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“I don’t think there’s anywhere it falls short,” said Watson. “I think it addresses all of the needs that we’ve heard time and time again. We’ve got to improve the quality of our roads, improve the reliability of transit and increase the number of affordable housing units.”

Other items being decided at the meeting were the lease at the Baseball stadium on Coventry Road, the new Barrhaven Downtown Area Secondary Plan and the draft budgets for committees and city operations, all of which were passed.

City of Ottawa. City of Ottawa
City of Ottawa. City of Ottawa

The city’s budget expenditures are set at just under $3.8 billion, most of which will be covered by property taxes, development fees and grants from higher levels of government.

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Click to play video: 'Municipal funding takes centre stage at mayors’ meeting' Municipal funding takes centre stage at mayors’ meeting
Municipal funding takes centre stage at mayors’ meeting – Aug 19, 2019

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