Maguire criticizes Watson's debt record

Maguire criticizes Watson's debt record
Posted on August 26, 2014 | Mike Maguire | Written on August 26, 2014
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Letter type:
Published

Publisher

Publisher:
The Bulldog

Author's Note:

Author's Note:

This is a letter I wrote to Ken Grey of the Bulldog blog Monday regarding Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson's debt record. I welcome your comments...

Ottawa has a serious debt problem that has gotten measurably worse in the last 4 years. 

Our City debt was $700M when Mayor Watson started his 4 year term and it’s going to be a staggering $1.7B by the end of this term. That is simply an unsustainable level of borrowing when every other responsible jurisdiction in the Western world is trying to reduce their debt. 

 

Just this year alone, debt servicing will cost us $162M in principle and interest payments and next year those payments will rise to over $170M. These numbers are so large they’re hard to imagine but you shouldn’t have to imagine, every resident and business in Ottawa is affected by this aggressive borrowing and deserves to know how those billions are going to be repaid.

And let’s be clear, if we continue on this path, that repayment will be painful. It will mean less money for services you need, higher costs for services you want and eventually, when interest rates rise, it will mean higher taxes and service reductions to keep the City in operation.

Residents and businesses should care about this level of debt because it means reduced prosperity for people and their families today and reduced opportunity for everyone in Ottawa tomorrow.

I’d like to know what Mayor Watson’s plan is to deal with this crisis. What solutions does he propose to protect fixed income seniors, low income families and small businesses from his reckless borrowing and spending? I hope it’s not just, “let the next guy fix it.”

About The Author

Mike Maguire's picture

At 53 years old, I am an IT executive and a long-time Ottawa resident. I am married with two children. I have 27 years of community service working with the Kinsmen and Kiwanis. I consider myself a municipal finance... More