Province needs to ante up: Councillors
At least one councillor feels Ottawa’s mayor should "camp out" at Queen’s Park until the province uploads health service costs to help the city with its budget.
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Coun. Rainer Bloess said council should fight harder to collect from the province and invited the mayor to get in provincial politicians’ faces until they come through.
"It’s money that is owing to the city that they think they can get away with it, because we’re not kicking their shins hard enough," Bloess said, adding that Ottawa should examine ways to walk away from those services if the province won’t pay.
Council members wondered aloud yesterday if the province needs to feel more pressure to upload costs for public health and provincially-mandated services. The city’s 2008 budget had assumed Ontario would upload $10 million for public health, but that didn’t happen on Tuesday.
Mayor Larry O’Brien may not be taking a Coleman stove to Toronto anytime soon, but he agrees Ottawa needs provincial help.
"A large percentage of the residential tax in fact goes to funding projects that are best funded by the provincial government."
The city’s tax increase is already 5.1 per cent and the issue of covering a parking revenue shortfall must yet be decided.
Yesterday, city staff proposed 13 medium-term options and three short-term options, which included additional paid parking spaces on Rideau Street during off-peak transit hours.
Jasna Jennings, executive director with the ByWard Market Business Improvement Area, said they had no time to review other revenue options. She said members were frustrated after sitting for the entire day, only to have council push parking discussions to today.
"The reason we came was to address parking," she said.
"We wanted council to address the fact that the numbers don’t stand up to the scrutiny."