2020 city budget: Details on police budget released
Published Wednesday, November 6, 2019 4:00AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 6, 2019 7:02PM EST
OTTAWA - Ottawa city council is tabling its draft 2020 budget on Wednesday.
Public transit is expected to be in the spotlight amid chronic issues with OC Transpo service since the launch of LRT. Last week, Mayor Watson said the draft budget will propose adding more buses to the fleet to address ongoing complaints from riders. The city has already used $3.5 million in its reserve fund to bring back 40 buses this week to problem routes, including route 39 in the east, 257 in the west and 75 in the south.
The budget will also include a three per cent overall increase to the municipal tax rate.
On Wednesday, the morning started with details on the draft police budget, which includes significant investments for officer mental health.
Ottawa's new police chief says in his first week on the job he's seen a "level of emotional tension" within the force that he's never seen anywhere else.
Chief Peter Sloly said the draft budget includes investments in member morale and $4.2 million in wellness programming for officers including unlimited access to psychological services and specialized health programming.
The budget also includes funding for a permanent Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office, along with the hiring of 30 new officers. 13 of those officers will go to two new neighbourhood resource teams that will be created and will be deployed to areas of high crime.
Two more officers will go to the Guns and Gangs unit.
The budget means an increase to the average household of $18/year.
Once the budget is tabled, there will be public meetings in the following weeks with several boards and the public.
Draft budget includes 30 new officers. 13 will go to 2 additional neighbourhood resource teams. Provincial funding also means 2 more officers will go to the Guns and Gangs section #ottnews @ctvottawa @CFRAOttawa pic.twitter.com/u7Pgto7jVz— Katie Griffin (@KatieGriffinCTV) November 6, 2019