Making the cut: the low-down on Toronto’s 2014 budget
West Annex News / Flickr
Last week, the City of Toronto debated and discussed the city’s $9.6 billion budget, passing their decisions on January 31.
Toronto has had to deal with a constant city deficit for many years. It began when former Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty placed Ontario into huge debt, providing less financial assistance for Toronto (the 5th largest city in North America). When McGuinty began in 2003, Ontario was facing a $5 billion deficit and when he resigned in 2013, the province was facing a $215 billion deficit.
McGuinty’s actions lead Toronto to increase property tax, the cities main source of funding. Since 1999-2012 there has been an increased tax revenue of 30 per cent. This year the city raised property tax by another 2.71 per cent.
The city also asked the province to restore 50 per cent of operating funds for the TTC. Both Rob and Doug Ford opposed this proposition.
Throughout the week Rob Ford boisterously stated his opinions by proposing to cut planting 97 000 new trees in the city, cut staff management for homeless shelters, and remove security guards from libraries-these were all turned down by the council.
“We’re in good shape thanks to me, for 2015.” Ford states after the meeting. Next year Toronto will be facing a deficit of roughly $332 million.
the newspaper rounded up a brief list of some of the issues that either had their funding passed or cut by City Council last week.
3.1 per cent increase in police funding, which was the largest item of concern on the entire Toronto agenda. They will acquire 200 new officers, which will cost around $20 million.
Hire more people, roughly 12 for the city’s planning division
Provide 668 new childcare spaces, which is being funded by the province.
Build two new libraries and community centres. The centres will both be located in Fort York and will cost $2 million annually to maintain.
Increase the funding for the High Park Zoo by $230 000.
Hire 61 new paramedics.
Increase funding for Wheel Trans by $8.8 million to reach safety standards.
84 firefighters and 4 trucks are being cut, as fires are less of an occurrence with safer and more secure buildings being constructed.
$4.3 million will be cut for the housing stabilization fund, which helps Ontario Works and ODSP recipients who are facing eviction, bill payments, or are trying to move out of shelters and violent homes.