The City Budget Shell Game: Whopper Watch



The City of Ottawa is projecting a year-end budget surplus of $6.6 million in the tax- and rate-supported areas, a significant improvement from 2015 which ended with an overall budget deficit of $41.8 million in the tax and rate areas.”

City of Ottawa press release

Your agent decided to give the city a free shot for a day with its press release touting the fact that it expects to be carrying a surplus for year end.

Bulldog contributor Bruce Webster did not. “Can it be true … a surplus or more shell games?”

After the rather gross game-playing that occurred around Canada Day weekend on snow-plowing cuts, your agent finds it hard to trust city claims.

What are “tax- and rate-supported areas”? Which taxes and rates are included? The OC Transpo deficit which was hived off the last budget figures. However city communications was unable to tell The Bulldog if it were in the city’s $42-million estimate? Hard to say.

The city charges for water but legally it’s not allowed to be included in the deficit figure. It has faced ridiculously high annual increases.

Because of the figure in the press release, the message appears to be addressing the operating deficit with the OC Transpo deficit missing … or not.

But knocking off the largest operating deficit in city history in seven months?

That’s not good. It’s outstanding. But then we haven’t seen a lot of outstanding over the last few years on Laurier Avenue. Keep an eye on the shells.

And remember the budget surplus is projected. Why things can go wrong within a year can’t they?

Before all this good news has you breaking out a bottle of bubbly, a source close to the city says he has heard the accumulated debt there has passed the $2-billion mark.

Hold on to your wallet.

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4 thoughts on “The City Budget Shell Game: Whopper Watch

  1. “Hold on to your wallet”

    Does that mean that I’ll hold on to my wallet or does that mean I’ll hold on to your wallet.

    With government spending the money, it is the latter.

    1. Chaz:

      Worth noting is that I’ve put a top commented posts plugin on the right-hand column of Bul Ott. Just click the + button on the front page.



      1. Ken,
        Found it and found Fetch up in the header too.

        As Young Mr. Grace would say, “You’ve all done very well” . ” I am unanimous in that.” was (I think) Mrs. Slocum’s line.


  2. Ken,

    So it starts. The City say’s we have a projected surplus for the year end and many wonder if this is a shell game, as do I.

    In today’s Ottawa Sun, Jon Willing has a report regarding rink usage being down. In the article, it is stated that Don Chenier, manager of parks and recreation said that the lower number of bookings this year is causing a $2-million hole in his budget.

    That’s one. What next?

    Anne Marie


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