After months and months of press conferences, budget committees, hearings, reports and assumptions, the City of Toronto finally released its 2012 draft capital and operating budget
The 2012 draft budget cuts gross City spending by $355 million in the next fiscal year. Mayor Ford called the blueprint “smart” and “slams the door on out-of-control spending.” For the first time, the City of Toronto will spend less next year than it did this year.
The mayor then issued remarks in the council chamber, but was adjourned by Budget Chair Mike Del Grande due to several protesters heckling Ford during his speech. It was later convened to a smaller room at city hall.
In his address, Ford highlighted what would and would not be included in the budget.
: There will be a modest 2.5 percent property tax increase, which the mayor says is below the inflation rate.
: The draft budget assumes that users of the Toronto Transit Commission will see a 10-cent fare increase. There will also be no WheelTrans service for dialysis patients.
: Library branches will not be closed, but hours will be reduced – the mayor called this a huge success.
: There will be no increase in residential garbage rates.
Pools & Arenas
: The City was faced with closing 35 wading pools, but they reduced it to five that are underused and would require extensive renovations. There will now be 100 pools fully operating. Arena hours will be reduced.
: Toronto’s total workforce will be reduced by 2,300 employees. Although no specifics were listed, part of the savings will come from TTC staff reductions and deferred hiring of firefighters and paramedics.
“I was elected as Mayor of Toronto with a very clear mandate - to make respect for taxpayers the core value at City Hall,” said Ford in his prepared statement
. “The people of Toronto have been very clear about what they want. First and foremost, they want us to stop the waste, to reduce city expenses and to hold the line on taxes. They know we face difficult decisions. They expect us to be tough enough to make them.”
Residents will have the opportunity to make a public five-minute presentation
starting Dec. 7 in the council chamber. City council
will debate on the budget and hold a final vote on the 2012 budget from Jan. 17 to Jan. 19.