2012 Budget Cuts & What’s at Stake for Toronto Services & Programs
What’s Happening at City Hall Now?
On November 28th, the City’s 2012 Operating and Capital Budget will be launched. The public gets to have their say about the budget on December 7 and possibly December 8, if there are a lot of people who register to speak. Registration information in City Budget Timeline box (see next page).
In September, many budget cuts to community services and programs were passed at a special City Council Meeting on the Core Service Review. Many of the cuts had been identified as opportunities for savings in reports released in July by City-hired consultant KPMG. In July and September, City Executive Committee reviewed the potential cuts, heard two 20+ hour sessions of deputations from concerned residents and recommended cuts to City Council that have either already been passed or have been pushed forward to the 2012 Budget process.
Cuts were passed in September to 311 (an information line for City services and programs), city park zoos and farms, community & neighbourhood development activities, the Christmas Bureau and Advisory bodies, among other things.
In November, cuts to the following services will be considered: Community Partnership and Investment Program (community grants), affordable housing, the Hardship Fund, dental health care and the Toronto Public Library, among others.
More research was requested on the impact of cuts to child care, long term care, community centres, city-run museums, 311 and more. These cuts have been deferred until a later date until more research is conducted.
How the Budget Process Works
The proposed 2012 operating and capital budgets are released publicly on November 28 at City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, in Council Chambers. The budget launch and all committee meetings are open to the public. At the budget launch, senior staff present an overview of the budget. Detailed analyst notes about each division’s budget are released on the City’s website (www.toronto.ca/budget2012).
The Budget Committee meets on December 2, 5-9, 13 and January 9 to review, debate and vote on the budgets, looking at the individual budget of each division (such as Shelter, Support and Housing), and agency/board/commission (such as the Toronto Transit Commission). All budget meetings are held at City Hall in Committee Room 1, except for the budget launch on November 28 and the City Council meeting on January 17-19 which take place in Council Chambers at City Hall. All meetings start at 9:30 a.m. and many will continue into the evening.
At the Budget Committee meetings, staff make budget presentations for their respective divisions/agency/board/commission, and answer questions of City Councillors. Each day is set aside to look at specific areas of the budget. The City’s calendar will be updated to provide these details once the budget is launched (www.toronto.ca/council – see meeting schedule). City Councillors who want further details about the budget can request briefing notes (as long as the Budget Committee agrees to the request) that are prepared by staff and posted on the City website.
On December 7, the Budget Committee will hold public hearings where members of the public can talk about what they think of the budget (what’s important, what should be changed). The committee decides how long people can speak for (recently public deputations, times have varied from 2-5 minutes). If there are a lot of people who register to speak, the Budget Committee will continue meeting and hearing from the public on December 8. The Chair of the Budget Committee is going to propose that the public hearings start at 9:30 a.m. and conclude at 9:30 p.m. rather than go all night. You must register by December 6 at 4 p.m. to speak during the public hearings. Details for registering are below in the City Budget Timeline chart. City Councillors may ask you questions after you finish speaking.
The Budget Committee makes its final recommendations for the 2012 operating and capital budgets on December 13 and January 9. After the Budget Committee completes its process, the Mayor’s Executive Committee reviews the recommendations of the Budget Committee on January 12. The Executive Committee reviews and votes on the operating and capital budget that day. Its recommendations go forward to City Council to debate and vote on during the January 17-19 Council meeting. Final decisions on the budgets are made during this three-day meeting. There is usually a great deal of debate and many motions put forward to try to make changes to the budgets during this meeting.
KEY DATES TO REMEMBER
|City Budget Timeline:November 28, 2011 – 2012 Operating and Capital Budget Launch – Will show areas of reduced spending.
December 7 & 8, 2011 - Public Hearings on the budget – make a deputation about the impact of budget cuts/changes. City Hall, 100 Queen St. W., Committee Room 1 from 9:30am – 9:30pm. Register by Dec 6th at 4pm: firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-392-7340.
December 9 & 13, 2011 and January 9, 2012 – Budget Committee wrap up of Operating and Capital Budget
January 12, 2012 – Executive Committee’s final review of the Operating and Capital Budget
January 17-19, 2012 – City Council will debate and vote on the proposed Operating and Capital Budget
|Community Budget Events:November 29, 2011 – Rexdale Civic Engagement Group City Budget Forum. 5:30-8 PM, Albion Library, 1515 Albion Rd.
November 30, 2011 – South Etobicoke Social Welfare Reform Committee City Budget Forum. 5:30-8pm, Assembly Hall, Kipling Ave & Lake Shore Blvd W.
Adapted from Commitment 2 Community update with thanks.