I received this tonight in my email from two sources. It is that important to Ottawa residents to know which of their City Councilors care about reducing costs in an economic downturn, and which are supporting a tax increase to residents.
What happened last night?
In the morning we were able to identify an additional $1.211 Million in additional savings beyond those options proposed by staff. The Mayor had hoped that these options moved by council demonstrated a new movement to give appropriate scrutiny to the most important work that we as members of Council are charged to do all year.
Unfortunately some members around the table chose to take the easy way out and put forward an omnibus motion that raised taxes by 4.9% rather than give the options that were on the table a full debate.
Through the use of an omnibus motion that had the support of 15 Councillors the taxpayers of Ottawa will be burdened with a 4.9% tax increase regardless of the fact that there were millions of dollars available in spending options that they were not willing to debate.
What options were accepted to achieve the 4.9% increase?
Ironically the options that were approved were the bulk of options the Mayor spoke about on Friday.
They reduced the compensation budget to reflect changing trends in labour settlements. They adjusted fuel costs due to lower gas prices and they adopted the reductions proposed by the Police and Libraries.
Many of these options had been prepared through consultation with Bob Plamandon and staff. The options that were rejected were primarily those presented by staff and reductions in the capital budget for projects that could have been deferred.
We heard a lot about reductions to the arts, festivals and childcare were they touched?
This collation of Councillors protected arts and festival funding while agreeing to their 4.9% increase. Ottawa taxpayers will continue to subsidize the Provincial government share of childcare funding, completely letting them off the hook for short changing parents who need subsidized care.
What about rink grants and ice rentals?
The grants for rinks will go ahead with no changes to the accountability for ensuring that the money is spent in the rinks. The rental rates for sport fields, ice time, pools and community halls will increase as per staff’s recommendation but they rejected the increase to minor rentals.
Well some of this seems to be ok, didn’t the Mayor say he was against some of these cuts?
We never expected all of these options to be approved but we thought the taxpayers of Ottawa deserved to have them debated. During debate perhaps we could have found alternatives to lessen the impacts. Council had a duty to explore every option to reduce the impact on our taxpayers and they failed yesterday.
What can we do?
You need to contact you Councillor especially if they were one of those that chose to ignore the responsibility of office and take the easy way out.
Those Councillors who chose to burden the taxpayers with a 4.9% increase are:
Councillor Georges Bédard Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier Tel: 613-580-2482 Fax: 613-580-2522 Georges.Bedard@ottawa.ca
Councillor Michel Bellemare Ward 11 – Beacon Hill-Cyrville Tel: 613-580-2481 Fax: 613-580-2521 Michel.Bellemare@ottawa.ca
Councillor Glenn Brooks Ward 21 Rideau-Goulbourn Tel: 613-580-2491 Fax: 613-580-2531 Glenn.Brooks@ottawa.ca
Councillor Rick Chiarelli Ward 8 – College Tel: 613-580-2478 Fax: 613-580-2518 Rick.Chiarelli@ottawa.ca
Councillor Alex Cullen Ward 7 – Bay Tel: 613-580-2477 Fax: 613-580-2517 Alex.Cullen@ottawa.ca
Councillor Diane Deans Ward 10 – Gloucester-Southgate Tel: 613-580-2480 Fax: 613-580-2520 Diane.Deans@ottawa.ca
Councillor Clive Doucet Ward 17 – Capital Tel: 613-580-2487 Fax: 613-580-2527 Clive.Doucet@ottawa.ca
Councillor Peggy Feltmate Ward 23 – Kanata South Tel: 613-580-2752 Fax: 613-580-2762 Peggy.Feltmate@ottawa.ca
Councillor Jan Harder Ward 3 – Barrhaven Tel: 613-580-2473 Fax: 613-580-2513 Jan.Harder@ottawa.ca
Councillor Diane Holmes Ward 14 – Somerset Tel: 613-580-2484 Fax: 613-580-2524 Diane.Holmes@ottawa.ca
Councillor Peter Hume Ward 18 – Alta Vista Tel: 613-580-2488 Fax: 613-580-2528 Peter.Hume@ottawa.ca
Councillor Gord Hunter Ward 9 – Knoxdale-Merivale Tel: 613-580-2479 Fax: 613-580-2519 Gord.Hunter@ottawa.ca
Councillor Christine Leadman Ward 15 – Kitchissippi Tel: 613-580-2485 Fax: 613-580-2525 Kitchissippi@ottawa.ca
Councillor Jacques Legendre Ward 13 – Rideau-Rockcliffe Tel: 613-580-2483 Fax: 613-580-2523 Jacques.Legendre@ottawa.ca
Councillor Maria McRae Ward 16 – River Tel: 613-580-2486 Fax: 613-580-2526 Maria.Mcrae@ottawa.ca
Those councillors who chose to stand up for their constituents and debate the budget are:
Councillor Rainer Bloess Ward 2 – Innes Tel: 613-580-2472 Fax: 613-580-2512 Rainer.Bloess@ottawa.ca
Councillor Steve Desroches Ward 22 – Gloucester-South Nepean Tel: 613-580-2751 Fax: 613-580-2761 Steve.Desroches@ottawa.ca
Councillor Eli El-Chantiry Ward 5 – West Carleton-March Tel: 613-580-2475 Fax: 613-580-2515 Eli.El-Chantiry@ottawa.ca
Councillor Rob Jellett Ward 19 – Cumberland Tel: 613-580-2489 Fax: 613-580-2697 Rob.Jellett@ottawa.ca
Councillor Bob Monette Ward 1 – Orléans Tel: 613-580-2471 Fax: 613-580-2511 Bob.Monette@ottawa.ca
Councillor Shad QadriWard 6 Stittsville-Kanata West Tel: 613-580-2476 Fax: 613-580-2516 Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca
Councillor Doug Thompson Ward 20 – Osgoode Tel: 613-580-2490 Fax: 613-580-2530 Doug.Thompson@ottawa.ca
Councillor Marianne Wilkinson Ward 4 – Kanata North Tel: 613-580-2474 Fax: 613-580-2514 Marianne.Wilkinson@ottawa.ca