While he never said 'zero means zero' -- the slogan from his last campaign -- Mayor Larry O'Brien is targeting that number again as part of his financial platform, a budget that will come from the mayor's office.

"I will never step back from my commitment of targeting a zero increase year after year after year," O'Brien said.

"From this point on, and during the next term of office, I want the budget to be the mayor's budget that goes to council for debate and review."

'I believe OC Transpo has been mismanaged'

O'Brien says he wants to build on the momentum of the past four years -- continue with light-rail transit plans and Lansdowne Park, and stick to the city's annual budget of $2.5 billion.

"We need the tax base, and we need to make sure we squeeze all the efficiencies we can out of the day-to-day operations."

Part of his plan is to freeze city wages, departments, and the operational subsidy of OC Transpo -- as well as establish a transit commission.

"Quite frankly, I believe OC Transpo has been mismanaged, and I believe the governance of OC Transpo is wrong," he said.

Plan is 'Zero Means Zero Version 2': Watson

Starting with a working number of zero differs from rival Jim Watson's promise of a yearly 2.5 per cent tax increase.

"He's picked a number that is very easy to carry on and do the same old, same old, same old," said Watson, an Ottawa mayor himself between 1997 and 2000.

"I find it surprising that Mr. O'Brien is launching Zero Means Zero Version 2."

O'Brien says two votes must be used wisely

Watson says services will be cut on any spending freeze, and also challenges O'Brien on a mayor-driven budget.

"Given Mr. O'Brien's track record of bringing in record tax increases and record spending, I wouldn't want him to be the author of the next budget for the City of Ottawa," Watson said.

O'Brien is also advising the electorate to use the two votes they have wisely.

"I may only have one vote when it comes to finance, but the citizens have two votes they can vote for the mayor and they can vote for the councillor."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman