Ottawa – On Wednesday, December 9, City Council approved Budget 2021, which invests in the essential municipal services residents depend on, while supporting community needs as they evolve during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The budget limits the municipal tax increase to three per cent, amounting to an extra $115 for the average urban homeowner and $88 for the average rural homeowner. The average household connected to the City’s water supply will pay an additional $37 per year on their water bill. Rural households not connected will pay an additional $7 per year for their stormwater fee, which pays for culverts and stormwater facilities that help prevent flooding and reduce the amount of pollutants entering waterways.
For the third year in a row, the budget commits $15 million to develop new affordable and supportive housing units. With an additional $32 million in federal funding, the City will invest $47 million in capital funding for affordable housing. This is in addition to $112 million in support of housing needs, which includes $33 million for community-based housing and homelessness programs and supports.
Budget 2021 includes funding for 14 new paramedics, to better serve Ottawa’s growing population and address increasing emergency call volumes, along with $25.2 million in community funding for agencies that help residents with the greatest need.
The budget also increases funding to maintain and renew infrastructure like roads, sidewalks and facilities by $25 million, for a total investment of $171 million. With increased support for infrastructure maintenance, the City will close the infrastructure gap – the difference between what the City spends and what it needs to spend annually to maintain infrastructure in good repair – in seven years, rather than 10 years. With an additional $19 million in one-time federal gas tax funding, that’s a total investment of $171 million for infrastructure in 2021.
To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Budget 2021 invests $3 million to retrofit City facilities to reduce energy use and costs, with a net payback of $365,000 a year expected in eight years. An additional $18.7 million will help protect air and land at the Trail Waste Facility, $2 million to conserve natural lands in rural areas and $1.5 million to plant trees and regenerate Ottawa’s tree canopy. These investments complement the $2.6 million that Council committed in October to Energy Evolution projects.