Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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City reserves analysis

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On December 9, Council will vote on the city's budget. One of the chief points of discomfort I hear around the table is about the level of wriggle-room we've given ourselves if the budget is passed as is. Will we be able to fund another season of snow removal and clearing if this winter is again extraordinarily cold or snowy? What happens if we need to effect an emergency measure in our social services? Will we be able to fill our recreation programs to generate needed revenues if advertising is reduced? How would we deal with a major IT failure?

Reserves are a critical to a well-run city, and to help me understand whether we have the necessary reserves to withstand shocks and unanticipated expenses, I turned to LAC & Associates for a high-level view. The report is attached below.

I'm still digesting the findings, and am seeking feedback on its conclusions. But, the key finding that has caught my attention is with respect to our Tax Stabilization Reserve, and Winter Maintenance Reserve. It looks to my eye that we've left ourselves with little slack to deal with future shocks, particularly if this and future winters turn out to be more expensive than the norm.

This may or may not be cause for alarm, but leaving ourselves with a $1.5 million reserve to fund unanticipated operating requirements is worth a second look. I invite anyone interested to read the report, and provide me their feedback.


Posted December 2, 2015