Jim Botson: Taxes, Operations, Both at Standstill

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Botson repeated yesterday his firm commitment to keep property tax increases flat for the remainder of the current term. However, critics have questioned whether he'll be able make good on that promise given the state of city finances. A number of city services are already on track to being well over budget despite being very early in the fiscal year. However, Botson says it's exactly because a number of departments are over budget that he'll be able to stick to his commitment and follow through with the flat tax increase.

"The people of Ottawa expect a property tax increase that is neither too high, nor too low. An extreme on either end would be very odd. Residents expect a steady level of normal that is not shocking in one way or the other." Botson explains in his trademark dual-tone voice. The voice that is neither too interesting, nor too boring. But make no mistake, it is boring. However, it is just the right amount of boring that people have come to expect. A perfect level of boring that does not make people notice one way or the other. A monotone voice, is the type of boring that makes people stand up and notice.

Just the right amount of boring that people have come to expect.

"Likewise, for city services. If departments start bringing in large surpluses, they will have budget to run services at an excellent level. That level of service is unexpected by residents, and unexpected is not what this city expects. The people of our city expect a level of service that works the way they expect it to work, and doesn't work the way they expect it not to work" I furrow my brow in one of the pauses that is neither too long to place any emphasis on what he's saying, nor too short to make any point unclear.

"Keeping property tax increases flat will make sure we don't bring in too much tax revenue. This will keep departments' forecast as being over budget, which will allow them to deliver services at the perfect level of not working. They will work, but they will be just the right amount of broken that people expect. The buses will continue the run, but they will still not run on time."