Ottawa mayor’s budget is too small, too far off the mark

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has announced his budget for the year that begins July 1, but there’s no way of knowing what it will look like.

The budget is meant to be a guidepost for the city, not an update on what will happen over the coming year.

“We want to be transparent and transparent with our residents and residents are going to have to be more proactive and more engaged in how we make decisions in the future,” Watson said Thursday.

“And we want to make sure we’re taking a lot of time to really examine and make sure that our priorities are aligned with what we’re trying to achieve as a city.”

The city’s budget for 2017-18 is just $4.5 million below the $4 billion the provincial government put forward in April, and $4 million below what the city had asked for the previous year.

The city had been asking for $8.8 billion.

The province also promised $1 billion in infrastructure spending over four years.

Watson’s budget includes $2.4 million for the Ottawa Children’s Hospital, $3.3 million for Ottawa’s capital budget, and another $3 million to fund the construction of the new Rideau Canal and Rideau River Rideau Bridge.

The Ottawa Childrens Hospital is one of the city’s top priorities.

“This is a very, very good year for the hospital, the capital budget,” Watson told reporters Thursday.

A new Rideout campaign will take place in September, when the city will be launching its new budget.

Watson said he hopes people will take advantage of the opportunity to give back to the city.

“It’s not about the money,” he said.

“That’s not what it is.”

With files from The Canadian Press