Strong Fiscal Management Leads to Budget SurplusI wanted to give you a very quick update on today's budget debate at Ottawa City Hall.
This morning as a result of the strong fiscal framework we've put in place and the discipline to stick to our long-term plans City Council learned the City Treasurer is now forecasting a surplus of $15 million in 2017.
This is excellent news for taxpayers. Strong fiscal management has allowed us to successfully fend off an attempt to increase taxes far above the rate of inflation.
In addition to the millions in additional infrastructure renewal that was already part of the 2018 budget, Council has decided to use most of this surplus to accelerate the renewal of aging infrastructure.
One third of the surplus will be put into reserve accounts to save for a rainy day. $10 million will be allocated to capital and accelerate the repair and renewal of our aging infrastructure.
None of this will require a tax change above the one proposed in the original budget.
This investment will allow us to repave more roads and repair more sidewalks and I'll work hard to ensure Orléans and Cumberland gets our fair share.
In recent years we've made great progress by renewing aging parks in Queenswood Heights, Fallingbrook and Cumberland Village. We've resurfaced roads like Prestwick and Des Epinettes in Orléans and Dunning & Rockdale roads in Cumberland and Vars.
These are just some of the examples of the work we've already done in Cumberland Ward and today's decision will allow us to do even more work across our City.
BUDGET 2018 GOOD NEWS FOR CUMBERLAND
The 2018 budget continues our efforts to keep tax changes under control allowing families to better budget to meet the growing demands of modern life.
The budget includes more than $125 million in capital funding to support the renewal of existing City assets including buildings, roads, bridges and sidewalks, an increase of $10.5 million.
The budget increases spending for pothole repairs by $600,000, bringing the total spent on asphalt repairs to $8 million. Road resurfacing spending increases by 17%, or $5.6 million, reaching $39.2 million for the year.
Budget 2018 includes $68.3 million for winter operations, an increase of $2.3 million.
Moreover, this year’s budget will see some important investments in Orléans and Cumberland to improve commuting, enhance parks & recreation and improve our quality of life.
In recent years, we’ve made record investments in building both brand-new and expanding existing roads to support our growing community.
In 2018 our focus will be on renewing aging infrastructure such as roads and bridges.
Tenth Line is one of the most important roads in our community and I am happy to report that in 2018 Tenth Line Road will get the resurfacing it so desperately needs. Tenth Line will be resurfaced from Innes Road to St. Joseph Blvd.
Charlemagne is another important road for Fallingbrook residents. We started a small portion of Charlemagne this fall and we’ll finish the job in 2018.
Old Tenth Line and Renaud Road will also see resurfacing work in 2018.
PARKS & RECREATION
Over the past few years we’ve worked hard to catch up on park construction, and we’ve opened 12 new parks in Cumberland since 2011!
One of the most popular features in our new parks are the splash pads. Every time I take my son to the park there are children, and even some adults, enjoying the opportunity to cool down under the blistering sun.
I’m very happy to report that Budget 2018 provides the funds to add a splash pad to a park in south Fallingbrook! This will be a great addition to the community.
We’re also going to begin the process of developing a master plan for the parkland that surrounds the François Dupuis Centre. FDRC already plays such an important role in our community and developing the surrounding parkland will make it one of the most important community hubs in Orléans.
We’ve recently purchased 17 new double deckers buses and will start to put these into service in December.
This is very good news for residents of Cumberland Ward where service will be brought into the new communities of Cardinal Creek Village, Summerside West, Avalon Encore and Chaperal.
We’re also improving service in Avalon and Fallingbrook.
More information on these improvements will be available very soon.
OC Transpo will introduce a new EquiFare, a single-ride fare for low-income residents in 2018, complementing the EquiPass discounted monthly pass started in 2017. The new EquiFare will reduce bus fares by 50 per cent for low-income residents.
We’ve worked hard over the last number of years to invest more in rural Cumberland to improve our infrastructure. We’ve resurfaced Colonial, Henn & Delson in Navan. HWY 174, Quigley Hill, Royal Orchard, Dunning and Kinsella in Cumberland. We resurfaced Rockdale Road in Vars and the south end of Dunning Road through Bearbrook.
I’m happy to report that more rural roads will see improvements in 2018.
Our work to improve Wilhaven is coming to fruition. Wilhaven will be resurfaced in 2018 from Cox Country Road to Sarsfield Road. This includes the shoulder between Cox Country and Dunning to complete the cycling connection between Cumberland Village and Orléans.
Dunning Road will also be resurfaced from Wilhaven Drive near Cumberland Village to Innes Road in Orléans.
We’re also investing heavily to improve storm water management in rural Ottawa. Last year we spent $4 million and replaced 37 culverts in Cumberland and the trend continues in 2018.
In 2018, we’re continuing this record investment on important culverts and bridges. This includes the $130k for the Anderson Road bridge at Johnston Municipal Drain. Moreover, important culvert replacements will take place on McNeely Road, Russell Road, Trim Road and Old Montreal Road.
We’re also planning $2.5 million in bridge work on Mitch Owens, HWY 174 and O’Toole Rd.
I’ve heard loud and clear that residents of Cumberland want the city to focus on keeping our community safe. In addition to the $7 million fire station currently under construction on Portobello, we’ve also hired 36 new paramedics and purchased 5 ambulances since 2016.
We’re continuing these important investments in 2018 by hiring 14 new paramedics and 25 new police officers. We’ll also be adding 10 new adult crossing guards across Ottawa to help our children walk to and from school safely.
Since 2011, we’ve made tremendous progress in moving our City, Orléans and rural Cumberland forward. While more work needs to be done budget 2018 continues to move us in the right direction. We’re balancing the growing financial challenges of modern life while ensuring we make critical investments in modernizing important infrastructure we rely on every day.