Mayoral candidate Mark Sutcliffe revealed on Oct. 5 that he will hold a property tax increase to between two and five per cent for 2023 and 2024 if he's elected mayor, and launch the first strategic review of spending to be conducted in nearly twenty years Ottawa.
“Many residents I’ve spoken to are very concerned about the rising cost of food and other essentials,” said Sutcliffe. “At the same time, the City is facing extraordinary financial pressures, including rising inflation and an $85 million deficit at OC Transpo. More than ever, we need a very thorough approach to budgeting that protects core services, keeps taxes as low as possible, and delivers responsible fiscal management instead of empty political promises.”
Central to Sutcliffe’s financial framework is a commitment to limit the property tax increase to between two per cent and 2.5 per cent for 2023 and 2024, targeting the same level for 2025 and 2026.
Other key components of the affordability plan include:
- No new forms of taxation for the next four years.
- Launching a strategic review of all spending, which has not been conducted since the early 2000s.
- Reducing recreation fees for children and families by 10 per cent
- Freezing transit fares for 2023.
Sutcliffe also noted that residents throughout the city must be able to count on more reliable municipal services, including emergency and social services. The investments in Sutcliffe’s financial framework include:
- Four million dollars in annual funding for community service agencies, with a focus on those offering mental health and substance use disorder programs to our most vulnerable citizens.
- Twenty five million dollars in new operating and capital annual funding to improve the quality and safety of our roads, including repair and maintenance, better ice and snow clearing, and fixing sidewalk and cycling paths that have fallen into disrepair with potholes and cracks.
- Five million dollars to freeze transit fees while a review of the service is being undertaken.
- Two million dollars annually to reduce recreation fees for children and youth by 10 per cent.
- One point two million annually for traffic calming for safe streets, sidewalks and bike lanes, to be allocated by city councillors.
Sutcliffe told The Rob Snow Show on Oct. 6 that a question for voters is who they trust most with their money.
"I have been practicing fiscal responsibility my entire life," he said. "I have been a leader who has brought fiscal oversight and fiscal management to every role I have had."
Sutcliffe said his plan is the only plan that makes sense.
"We need a different approach at Ottawa City Hall," he said. "We have set a target of finding a modest amount of savings through efficiency, and I will find those efficiencies and save taxpayers money and reinvest that money into the services they want and to address some of the challenges we face as a community."
Listen to the full interview with Mark Sutcliffe below: