Zero tax hike priority: Mayor – Metro US

Zero tax hike priority: Mayor

If targeting a zero increase to property taxes means the city has to reduce the quality of its services and the number of its staff, “so be it,” says Mayor Larry O’Brien.

“Unless we go in that route we’ll never get full control of our spending habits,” O’Brien told people gathered for a debate among three mayoral candidates organized by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Ottawa.

Jim Watson questioned O’Brien’s plans to build a $2.1-billion rapid transit system, redevelop Lansdowne Park, pay for the Ottawa River Action Plan, and build a ring road without raising taxes. It’s virtually impossible, he said.

Watson has promised to cap any property tax increase at 2.5 per cent.

Making any kind promise when it comes to taxes doesn’t make sense, said Andy Haydon, with pension issues and salary increases, he said a freeze or a 2.5 per cent promise is not realistic. “I don’t know, these people may be miracle workers … I will never make a promise on taxes, because I will never agree to anything that will threaten the future of this city,” he said.