City aiming for 3% tax hike in 2021

City Hall

The average urban homeowner would pay $115 more in property taxes next year while the average commercial property owner will shell out an additional $231 under a draft budget framework approved by the city’s finance and economic development committee on Tuesday.

The city’s budget goals call for a three per cent overall tax hike in 2021. The citywide levy ​– the portion of the tax bill that funds most city services, including Ottawa Public Health and the Ottawa Public Library ​– would rise 2.5 per cent, while the transit levy would jump by 4.6 per cent, which includes $5 million to make up for the cancelled doubling of the provincial gas tax. A transit fare increase of 2.5 per cent will be incorporated into the budget.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Police Services levy would be increased by no more than three per cent. In addition, a city staff report said municipal user fees “will be reviewed to ensure increased COVID costs related to delivering the service are captured in the associated fee.”

The draft budget is expected to be tabled at a special council meeting on Nov. 4, followed by a series of virtual public consultations throughout the next month. Council will vote on the budget on Dec. 9.

The city is still facing a 2020 budget shortfall of tens of millions of dollars due to plummeting transit and user-fee revenues. Staff are hoping for more federal and provincial funding to help make up the difference, but the committee approved a plan to defer as many as 33 capital projects that were slated for this year until 2021 or later if the feds and the province don’t come through.