City of Ottawa Budget - Arts Cuts Proposed

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On November 14, 2007 the 2008 City of Ottawa Draft Budget was tabled.

The Budget contains a number of cuts to the cultural sector including a reduction of $130,000 to the cultural funding program in 2008, and an additional $135,000 cut in 2009.

The City Council approved Arts Investment Plan and Festival Sustainability Plan that identified phased in increases over the next three years, has been cancelled. The Draft Budget identifies reductions of $400,000 in 2008 and $490,000 in 2009.

Although these cuts are not as severe as what was proposed in 2004, it is disheartening to once again find ourselves in a position where we must justify the arts as an important sector that gives back a huge social and economic benefit and contributes to the quality of life in our city.

City Council directed City staff to prepare a draft budget that supports a 0%, 1.4% and 3.4% tax increase for 2008 and 2% in 2009 and 2010. In order to achieve the Council directed 0% tax increase, the corporation needs to find $83 million in program reductions over three years - of which the Community and Protective Services department has submitted options totaling $31.9 million. In addition, Council has directed the Corporation to find efficiency savings over the next three years that will not impact service levels.

Reference to the word "defer" in the various reduction options related to the Arts Investment Strategy (AIS), the Festivals Sustainability Plan (FSP) and the Museum Sustainability Plan (MSP) have been clarified to mean, "eliminate until City Council brings them back".

After the years of work that have been contributed to the development of a four year plan for the arts, it is essential that members of the arts community speak up and ask Members of City Council to give direction to the staff to continue the approved plans for cultural investment. 

A number of key dates are:

Until December 7 – Community Budget Meetings
December 3 to December 6 – Presentations to Committee of the Whole
December 10 to December 14 – Budget deliberations and final decisions

To register to make a presentation to the Committee of the Whole, or for updates on budget meetings, contact the City of Ottawa at 613-580-2424, ext. 28625. A copy of your presentation to the Committee of the Whole should be sent in an electronic format to budget@ottawa.ca. The Committee of the Whole Budget Review Meetings will begin on Monday, December 3, 10 a.m. and will continue each morning at 10 a.m. as necessary, up to December 6.

Location:
Andrew Haydon Hall – Council Chamber
City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West