Catherine McKenney’s Plan Would Raid Reserves to Pay for Their Priorities

Beyond the existing plan to pull $90 million from reserves, Catherine McKenney is now saying they would deplete reserves even further to pay for their risky, expensive ideas if the original amount isn’t enough

Ottawa, Ontario - Mayoral candidate Catherine McKenney’s big spending plans for the city would be financed, in part, by using our emergency reserves, with no plan to replenish them.

McKenney’s spending plan proposes to deplete the city’s emergency reserves by $90 million dollars to fund ongoing operating spending that would grow year-over-year. That $90 million alone is the equivalent of 2.5 per cent of an annual tax bill.

McKenney has said they would keep drawing from reserve funds, even those intended to maintain our assets, to pay for their expensive programs. In response to a question last week about how they would pay for their plans if their numbers came up short, McKenney stated “if (inflation) is a little bit more, could you use some more reserves? Of course you could. That’s what they are there for.”

Emergency reserves are designed for just that - emergencies. The COVID-19 pandemic and the spring storm that caused destruction throughout Ottawa are two recent examples of the kind of unforeseen circumstances emergency reserves are there for. The emergency reserves are not there to support new bicycle lanes and “free transit”. And we can’t draw down on them forever.

What’s worse, McKenney’s plan depletes operating reserves by $90M just for the first two years of spending. They give no estimate if and how they would use reserves in years three and four.

And there’s no plan to repay the at least $90M they would withdraw.

With a recession looming and in a time of economic uncertainty, we can’t afford Catherine McKenney’s big spending, and to deplete funds we need to deal with an emergency. Mark Sutcliffe will help make life more affordable for Ottawa residents, by controlling taxes and spending, reducing recreation fees, freezing transit fees for one year and conducting a line-by-line review of city spending.

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