Sarah Cousineau: Maria McRae is averaging 300 to 400 emails a day concerning the budget. Of 12,500 City positions, 750 positions have been cut and 250 persons have been laid off. Under the proposed budget, the collection of leaf and yard waste will be cut. There will be significant cuts to OC Transpo, cuts to the Police and Fire Departments, cuts to Youth Services, cuts to services to people with disabilities and the elimination of the Adult Crossing Guard Program. These cuts are made after cost savings gained by the amalgamation of the City. The proposed budget was presented based on a 0% increase in the mill rate. The actual property tax is determined by two factors: the assessment which matches the market value and by the mill rate. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation determines the assessment and the City of Ottawa determines the mill rate. For example, if a property owner had a 12% increase in his assessment, even though the mill rate stayed the same, he would have a 12% increase in his taxes. The mayor and several City Councillors are considering a tax increase in the neighbourhood of 3%. Maria is not a part of this group as she feels that a tax increase is not necessary if the funds can be found elsewhere within the corporation of the City of Ottawa.
Shelley Parlow: The City is not effectively monitoring the environment, it should be watching to make sure nobody cuts down trees and it's not; it should be cleaning up the graffiti, and it's not.
Nancy Seaby: There will be cuts in the frequency of local bus routes: 1, 87, and 146.
Fred McLennan: There has been a shift of $23 million in taxes from business to residential because there is a cap on the increase of taxes on businesses but because all taxes have remained the same the City is forced to cut services because of inflation. There is a proposal to build 92 units south of Hunt Club, near the Red Pines, behind the BMW Dealership, the development is called Emerald Links.
Shelley Parlow is a member of the Greenspace Alliance which is dedicated to keeping natural green spaces in the City. She is very much opposed to development of the Southern Corridor, it is for her "a line in the sand". There is a petition which opposes development of the Southern Corridor.
Peter Brimacombe: The Southern Corridor needs to be developed to provide housing. Development would allow a more compact and efficient City.
Next meeting: Tue 6 Apr 2004 at 7:30pm