Residents, staff to thank for passing 2012 budget

A Town Crier Community Column

After months of consideration and debate, my colleagues and I on city council passed the 2012 operating and capital budgets. It was a challenging process that required an enormous amount of hard work from everyone involved. I believe this budget successfully ensures our valued services are funded while showing fiscal responsibility.

We owe a great deal of thanks to Toronto city staff and the members of the budget committee as well as the thousands of residents who called, emailed and came to city hall to provide input throughout the process.

In the end we continued to fund vital programs for seniors and women’s groups, TTC routes, school pools, day cares, ice rinks, shelters and community centres. It’s important to note the funding to these services accounted for approximately 0.15 percent of the budget. At the same time, the city will still be putting well over $100 million of the surplus toward reducing our capital debt.

This budget marks the first decline in gross expenditures since amalgamation with a $20 million decrease — reaffirming this council’s commitment to building a sustainable, affordable and well-managed city.

We also limited the property tax increase to 2.5 percent, which works out to $60 a year for the average homeowner. When taken with last year’s 0 percent increase, residents will have only seen their property taxes rise by 1.25 percent annually over the past two years. It is important that we take tax pressure off working families as well as seniors who still live in their homes on fixed incomes.

Ultimately, I believe this budget shows the spirit of compromise that makes Toronto such a great city in which to live and work. We’ve listened to residents from all over the city and responded to their concerns as best as possible while continuing to work toward fiscal sustainability.

But there is much work to be done. If you have further ideas about the 2013 budget, please contact my office at 416-392-1371 or [email][/email].

About this article:

By: James Pasternak
Posted: Feb 14 2012 4:51 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto