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Ottawa has a cash spending problem: Watson

Mayoral candidate Jim Watson is promising a temporary hiring freeze on non-emergency city staff as soon as he is elected.

Mayoral candidate Jim Watson is promising a temporary hiring freeze on non-emergency city staff as soon as he is elected.

That is, if he is elected on Oct. 25, there would be no new staff hired until after the new council sets its first budget in February or March.

Throughout the term, he would work to reduce the number of members sitting on city council.

“Reducing the size of council after the next election could save an additional $2 million,” he said.

Watson would also cut council’s travel and hospitality budget by 20 per cent. He said his team has put in a freedom of information request to nail down how much that would be exactly, but he estimates that it would save up to $50,000.

With a budget topping $2 billion, it may seem like nickels and dimes, but those costs add up, and you have to start somewhere, said Watson.

Watson also wants to institute a policy of where any councillor proposing a spending increase must identify a corresponding realistic spending cut.

“I emphasize the word realistic, because there is no sense putting something up that really does not make sense,” he said. “We just can’t keep loading up the budget every month.”

 
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