When Mayor Jim Watson unveils the city’s new budget with a promised 2.5 per cent tax increase today, there shouldn’t be any doubt who the authors are.

Tight-lipped about the content, Watson said yesterday at a meeting of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce he deliberately limited those involved so details wouldn’t leak out.

“It’s my responsibility to go out and defend the budget, and you can’t defend something if you haven’t had any input into it,” said Watson, who said he developed the budget with city manager Kent Kirkpatrick, the city’s treasurer and city department heads.

The budget, he said, will not have a lot of surprises and will reflect residents’ values and his own campaign platform. Among Watson’s promises were a pledge to freeze salaries for senior managers for two years, cut the city’s use of outside consultants and cut his own office’s budget by 10 per cent. His platform also included promises to fix up social housing and freeze recreational fees for the next four years.

“It’s going to be a well thought out document that is sustainable,” Watson said.  “We’re not going to make one-time decisions that just prolong the agony and put us in a deeper hole next year and the year after.”

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