Is Ottawa beginning to build its next operating budget deficit?
It sure looks that way.
On the good side of the ledger, the City of Ottawa will be offering discounted transit passes to Ottawa’s poor.
On the bad side, there’s no word on how the city will pay for it. Just wait until budget time in November, Mayor Jim Watson says.
What’s wrong with telling the public right now?
Photo above: Mayor Jim Watson wants a low-income transit pass for Ottawa. Why can’t he tell the public how he plans to pay for it?
It rather sounds like Watson is doing something without a plan for how to cover the costs. If the low-income pass program is well-planned, surely the mayor can say where the money will be found. But he can’t now.
That’s how operating deficits are built. This program looks as though it was announced on the fly rather than thought-through. And no one, for a change, is missing the coincidence that this great announcement of generosity to the under-privileged was announced on the same day as 177 city employees were laid off in an effort to cover Watson’s record-breaking $42-million operating deficit.
When Watson can’t say where the money is coming from for such a big project, it smacks of faulty planning and desperation on a bad news day. However this time Watson’s deflection didn’t work. The city layoffs were top of mind at Ottawa City Hall and in the media. Well they should be.
That said, the low-income transit pass is a good idea. Now that downtown has been gentrified and extremified, low-income Ottawans can’t afford to live in the core. However many of their job are there.
So it’s the bus or no job.
Kudos to Watson for supporting the new pass. But he has yet to explain where the money is to found.
Welcome to record-breaking operating deficit, Part 2.
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