Capital Ward Pre-Budget 2013 Consultation Report

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On October 11, Councillor David Chernushenko held a public pre‐budget consultation in order to enable residents and community associations to share their views regarding Capital Ward's priorities for the 2013 City of Ottawa Budget. The meeting was advertised through email, websites, social media and invitations to community groups. Some of those who could not attend, but wanted to participate, submitted their written comments. The following is a summary of the public input received. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Councillor.

Councillor Chernushenko was urged to again seek funding from City Council to initiate the process for the design and construction of a community centre in Heron Park. It was also suggested that tax dollars should be put to work to reopen libraries on Sundays during the months of inclement weather, when Ottawa's children need facilities for indoor activities.

Council was urged to use the funds presently budgeted for new roads to repair existing roadways and to provide sufficient funding to fully implement the City's Pedestrian Plan, including funding for the proposed footbridge across the Rideau Canal between Old Ottawa East and the Glebe; provide sufficient funding to fully implement the Ottawa Cycling Plan; approve funding to construct the Coventry Overpass to the Train Station, and to rehabilitate the Ottawa Baseball stadium so that AA Baseball can return by 2014.

Council was urged to scrap, or at least delay, funding for the proposed 1.2 km "Hospital Link" in the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor between Riverside Drive and the Hospital Complex.

Councillor Chernushenko was also urged to speak against reductions in sidewalk snow clearing and the need to improve public facilities in central communities, given the additional people now living there as a result of the City's intensification policy. It was recommended that those contributing to candidates in the municipal election continue to receive a rebate. Another suggestion was that the City provide annual reporting of the expenditures and revenues for the Lansdowne Park project.

There was a proposal to upgrade Glebe Central Park East lighting with new lights and lamp technology in five adjusted locations and to add at least three new lights, and to enhance lighting with new lamp technology in Central Park West.

A request was made to see a balance sheet plus an operating statement from the City for each year. In that regard, it was suggested that the City should issue a budget that looks like that of a corporation - showing incomes and expenses - that is public and in summary form and not buried in details that makes it too difficult to fully understand.

The Councillor was asked to consider cutting items that are not "critically important" to City of Ottawa infrastructure or the safety of citizens. It was suggested that Ottawa needs less intrusive municipal government and does not need City Councillors to be "micromanaging citizens every breath".

It was also submitted that tax increases be kept to no more than two percent a year, and that Council should cut grants to the arts and bike lanes and spend that money on road, water and sewer repair. The Councillor also heard that the City should also stop planting too many trees, as it costs too expensive.

The City should budget for an anti-litter campaign and increase the budget for sidewalk repairs.

Finally, it was suggested that annual budget should include a section that concretely shows what results are being achieved as a direct consequence of spending in earlier budgets.