Menard: Ten ways the city of Ottawa's budget needs to change

By Shaun Menard, Ottawa Citizen, November 20, 2020

It’s budget season at city hall. COVID-19 has meant some revenues have declined, but the needs of residents haven’t.

We often hear arguments this time of year at city hall to “keep taxes low” all while making sweeping changes that do the exact opposite.

1) Do not expand the urban boundary. Recently, Ottawa approved another large expansion of its urban boundary, adding houses to the periphery. It will cause taxes to go up, harm our environment, make it harder to provide services in communities, and won’t put a dent in the affordable housing backlog. We need respectful intensification, as Calgary recently approved. That city will avoid wasteful spending because it chose to keep its urban boundary steady.

(...)4) Fighting climate change. Buildings and transportation are the top two sources of emissions in Ottawa. Investments in building retrofits, efficient HVAC and alternative forms of power generation save us money while also helping reduce emissions. The more we can induce activities such as walking and bicycling, the more the city saves. As we’ve seen with the Bank Street Bridge, sometimes all it takes are inexpensive pylons. We should accelerate investments of this type to achieve savings.

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