Finally, The Correct Budget Figures


Finally found time to go through the city’s budget figures.

In fact, the city’s declared figure includes the $11 million OC Transpo deficit so the city’s figure of the overall deficit is $42 million.

I have no idea why the City of Ottawa did not simply say that the transit deficit was part of the $42 million rather than sending a 16-page document plugged full of figures. I think we all get tired of the gamesmanship.

In other words, provide the information in the most awkward way.

A simple yes or no would have done the trick.

Such actions do not make for a good relationship between the city and the media but then the media is so alienated by the communications department that perhaps a good relationship is impossible at this point.

Maybe when incoming city manager Steve Kanellakos comes on board (who has an excellent relationship with the media), he can teach the communications department how to act in an effective and proactive way.

And yes $42 million is a huge operating deficit.

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4 thoughts on “Finally, The Correct Budget Figures

  1. Why didn’t they just refer you to the report that’s going to the Finance committee on Tuesday which very clearly sets out all the budget deficits and how they are being back-filled? That’s where I got the info I sent yesterday.

    Or were they trying to not respond??

    1. The Voter:

      I think the point is that when you ask a yes-or-no question, a report in return is not what you want to see.

      Journalists are busy, too.



  2. The Voter:

    I wonder if the problem is that the answer to the “yes or no” question is that: “no,” the OC Transpo $11.5-million deficit was not originally part of the $41-million deficit projection of early September (2015); however, “yes,” it has now been incorporated into the final 2015 deficit report of $42-million.

    The media reports of last week were suggesting that city staff worked hard to bring the deficit number down (from a nebulously formed higher number) to $42-million. Thus, the political spin is that a great victory was achieved by these bureaucrats, i.e. without their brilliant financial engineering, the deficit could have been much much worse.

    Often reporters ask a simple financial question and do not get any satisfaction from city staff. A good example was Sue Sherring (Ottawa Sun) asking about the cost of the urban park at Lansdowne, in which city staff (even weeks later) were unable to provide her with an answer. It could well be that city staff had lost track of what was actually spent on the urban park, as those numbers (and planning designs) had changed so much over the course of that multi-year project.

    And even city councillors cannot keep on top of all the budgetary changes. For example, Councillor Diane Deans was surprised to learn that the $31-million Airport Parkway lane expansions were to be delayed until 2020: “No one brought that to my attention. Changes in the budget are not supposed to be well-guarded secrets, and that seems to be what this is.”

    So, anytime city staff gives one an answer to a financial question, be sure to check the financial footnotes to get the complete answer.

  3. Not the ‘final’, just the current presentation.

    We have not been told the ‘complete story’. I may have been born at night however, it was not last night and these little suckers do not know how to tell the whole truth.


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