City's main operating reserve will grow in 2020, but nowhere close to council's target

By Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen, November 8, 2019 While the city proposes to pay a bit more into its rainy-day fund in 2020, city hall’s main operational reserve won’t be anywhere near where a policy says it should be to manage budget risks, which in recent years has included impacts of harsh climate. However, the city’s top money manager says the sheer size of the city’s $3.76-billion budget helps if there are unplanned expenses. “Overall the budget is large enough to absorb most risks prior to turning to the use of reserves,” city treasurer and finance GM Marian Simulik said. “For example, the 2019 budget is showing enough flexibility to absorb both the additional costs of a record-breaking winter and a significant spring flood.” (...)Robb Barnes, executive director of Ecology Ottawa, said cities need to consider how the frequency of abnormal weather can affect their finances.

“I think that we’re seeing around the world cities are starting to feel the impacts of climate change and find that it affects the budget first,” Barnes said.

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