Budget sticks to 2.5 percent increase

The budget dropped and is about as expected, and Lansdowne 2.0 was approved by council.

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City holds to 2.5 percent property tax increase

City of Ottawa/Handout

What happened: City staff tabled the draft budget for 2024, and as expected the property tax increase will be 2.5 percent. But while tax increases are stable year over year, many user fees are making big jumps. Garbage, parking, and planning permit fees are all rising by double digits, CBC reported.

Other user fees, like recreation fees, facility rentals, and transit fares will all keep to the 2.5 percent increase target, CTV reported.

The numbers: The overall operating budget is $4.6 billion, while the capital budget will be $1.2 billion. Last year’s budget was $4.5 billion and the capital budget was $1.06 billion.

Promise kept: It keeps with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe’s campaign promise to hold tax increases to 2.5 percent. In his speech to council, the mayor said it was important to keep taxes low while costs are high.

“I've heard from residents that they are very pleased that last year we approved a budget that met my campaign promise of 2.5 per cent or less. And this budget does the same. We can't add to the financial burden of our residents with big tax increases,” he said according to CTV.

Here are a few of the big takeaways from the city’s budget:

  • $188 million to reduce carbon emissions;

  • $180 million to buy 91 electric buses;

  • $900,000 to expand recycling in parks;

  • $75,000 per ward for traffic calming, an increase of $12,500;

  • $98 million to resurface roads;

  • $2 million to repair sidewalks;

  • $66.4 million for the new Riverside South Recreation Complex;

  • $21.8 million for community housing, up from $15 million;

  • $415.5 million for the police operating budget, an increase of $13.4 million;

  • $731.2 million for the transit budget;

  • $975.8 million for the community and social services budget.

And here’s how fees will be changing for next year, according to CBC:

  • Garbage fees are rising 11.5 percent to $145;

  • On-street parking is going up 12.5 percent as well, to a maximum of $4.50;

  • Planning applications will rise 17 percent, to a maximum of $114,645

City of Ottawa/Handout

Efficiences, efficiences: A major focus of Sutcliffe’s was to find budget efficiencies. Overall, the city has found $55.5 million in operational spending and another $44 million in the capital budget to cut for 2024. The bulk of that, $72 million, is coming from the transit budget. 

Next week the City Hall Insider will dive deep on parts of the budget to break down the key parts of the city’s spending plan. Not yet a member? You get access to our exclusive city hall coverage, as well as Insider Food, our reviews of hidden food gems around the city. Join today for less than the price of a coffee per week.

Hey Insiders, do you have questions about the budget? Parts of the city’s spending plan you want to know more about? Send us your questions to [email protected].


Invest in the company that won over the Dragons

The pioneer in smart-doorbell technology, RING, pitched their business on the hit show Shark Tank at a valuation of just $7 million — the sharks shut them down.

5 years later, the company sold to Amazon for more than $1 Billion. Turning the 10% stake initially offered to the sharks from $700K into $100M!

A similar story is brewing in the Smart Shades segment of the industry, with a company called RYSE pitching on the Canadian version of Shark Tank called Dragon’s Den.

The difference? They received two offers and have an addressable market that could be significantly larger than that of RING’s. The Dragon’s believe that RYSE has the products, technology, and the team to become the market leader for Smart Shades.

The hallmark of all successful smart home products is their ability to launch into retail, and RYSE’s recent deal with Best Buy has put them miles ahead of the competition.


📸 60: By the end of next year, the city will have this many photo radar cameras installed across town. The city plans to install 12 more by the end of the year, and another 20 next year, to augment the 28 already in operation. [CTV]

🕺 $160,000: The budget the city’s night mayor will have next year. No one has yet been selected for the position. [CTV]


Council approves Lansdowne 2.0 redevelopment plan

What happened: In the end, it wasn’t even close. The plan to redevelop the Lansdowne redevelopment passed city council 16-9. The plan is estimated to cost $419 million to continue the partnership with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), CTV reported.

The new development will see two towers built on the north side of the stadium, the reconstruction of the north side stands, and a new event centre/arena constructed in the east end zone. Retail will be built below the residential towers.

Those in favour:

  • Mayor Mark Sutcliffe

  • Coun. David Brown

  • Coun. Marty Carr

  • Coun. Cathy Curry

  • Coun. George Darouze

  • Coun. Steve Desroches

  • Coun. Laura Dudas

  • Coun. Glen Gower

  • Coun. David Hill

  • Coun. Allan Hubley

  • Coun. Clarke Kelly

  • Coun. Catherine Kitts

  • Coun. Wilson Lo

  • Coun. Matthew Luloff

  • Coun. Stephanie Plante

  • Coun. Tim Tierney

Those opposed: 

  • Coun. Jessica Bradley

  • Coun. Riley Brockington

  • Coun. Sean Devine

  • Coun. Rawlson King

  • Coun. Laine Johnson

  • Coun Theresa Kavanagh

  • Coun Jeff Leiper

  • Coun. Shawn Menard

  • Coun. Ariel Troster

Change of plans: Several motions were passed by council to change the plan and staff. More money (25 percent) from the sale of the air rights to build the towers will go to affordable housing; plus a cap on the number of units in the two towers 

Cost breakdown: Of the $419 million price tag, the city will finance it with at least $312 million in debt, costing at least $16 million per year to service, CBC reported. The overall price tag for the project increased nearly $100 million since it was first proposed in 2022, despite many key features — a third residential tower, a green roof on the arena — being dropped from the proposal.

Construction will take an estimated seven to 10 years. 


🍷 Mercato Zacconi and La Bottega lost their liquor licences to sell take-out booze, after the liquor board deemed they were grocery stores and not restaurants. It’s a move the two proprietors are disputing. [CBC]

🏢 The city is looking at the possibility of leasing a former retirement home in Crystal Beach to run as transitional housing for families. Currently, the city rents motel rooms for families in need of housing. [CBC]

🗳️ Ontario Liberal leadership candidates Nate Erskine-Smith and Ottawa’s Yasir Naqvi announced they are pooling their get-out-the-vote resources and encouraging their supporters to mark each other as their second choice. The leadership contest uses a ranked-choice system that tallies voters' second (and third, fourth, etc.) choices until a candidate has a majority of votes. Voting takes place at the end of the month. [The Canadian Press]

🏘️ Prices in the Ottawa real estate market are coming down slightly, as the price of a single family home dipped to $660,836 from last month’s $675,412. The number of active listings rose 16.7 percent, with smaller and cheaper homes more active, according to the city’s real estate board. [CTV]


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What to do this weekend


🍷 Crave Food and Wine Festival, Friday and Saturday: The city’s premier wine and food festival. At the Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Dr. Tickets start at $45.


🧱 LEGO Bricks and Functions, Sunday 1 pm: Build one of several different gear-driven toys from helicopters to pirouetting ballerinas, plus the chance for kids to build their own creation afterward. At Staples in Barrhaven and Kanata. Free in Barrhaven and Kanata.


🪖 Remembrance Day, Saturday 11:11 am: The national Remembrance Day ceremony will take place at the National War Memorial downtown at 11:11 am. There are also 35 local ceremonies in the Ottawa area.

🎄 Mandala Ornament Painting Workshop, Sunday 12 pm: Learn mandala dot art techniques to create two ornaments. For all skill levels, materials provided. At Dymon Storage boardroom, 851 Industrial Ave. Tickets $71.


🎅🏻 A Very Merry Mystery, Friday 7:30 pm: An interactive holiday whodunnit. An interactive night of mystery with snacks and cocktails. At 330 Kent St. Tickets $42.

  • You hate (love) to see it. The Leafs gave up three goals in the third period, as the Senators rolled over their Ontario rivals 6-3. [The Canadian Press]

  • Sign the Reveal the Chain petition today — only 24 hours left! By joining our movement, you can make a lasting impact for the women who make our clothes. [Sponsored*]

  • Not vegan? Don’t worry, you’re still going to love this Middle Eastern vegan eatery at Trainyards.

  • Are you able to take care of a diabetic cat? This sweet gentleman is in desperate need of a forever home. [Reddit]

  • The Historical Society of Ottawa’s speaker series kicks off this weekend with a talk about Lowertown and urban renewal. [Reddit]

  • (Insiders) The authors of the new cookbook Asian Vegetables came to Coconut Lagoon to put together a healing and delicious meal. 

  • Aerial photos of the city from the past are great. This one, from 1933 is no exception. [Reddit]

  • The onset of wintry weather was bad news for this light pole near the Merivale Mall. [Reddit]

  • Want to have your announcement featured? Learn how here.

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Congrats to Adam, Benjamin, Hans, Lindsey, Gord and the many others of you who knew this week’s Ottawa Guesser was of the corner of Merivale and Kirkwood.

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